Yonder Alonso puts homer drought behind him, finds stroke

SAN DIEGO -- Not long ago, Yonder Alonso had gone nearly a full year without hitting a home run. By the time he crossed home plate on Saturday night, after rescuing the Padres with a tying two-out bomb in the bottom of the ninth, that homerless streak seemed like a long time ago.

"When I went up to bat I just wanted to get on base and see what happened," Alonso said. "It was one of those things where we have to come back."

San Diego's first baseman hadn't recorded a four-bagger from May 20, 2013, until the second game of a doubleheader on May 15. But since then, he's been making up for lost time and helped carry a Padres team that has floundered offensively.

"People are going to opinionate and have their numbers and stats and say I haven't hit a homer in this long or that long," Alonso said. "They don't necessarily understand all the things that are going on. For me, it's just making sure I put the ball in play."

In his last 21 games, he's hitting .287 with five homers and 13 RBIs.

"The [homers] are coming now, and that's fun," Alonso said. "[But] you don't necessarily have to hit a homer to win a game. You can make two or three diving stops on defense that saves two runs, and we win a ballgame 2-1. That's just as important as a homer."

That might be true, but if Alonso can help spark a streak of clutch hitting for the majors' worst offense, Padres fans would probably be just as happy.

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