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.
Will Laws is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.