Rookie Jackson Merrill hits a 440-foot, 3-run homer in the Padres’ 6-4 win over the Brewers

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Rookie Jackson Merrill hit a 440-foot, three-run homer to the base of the batter’s eye in center field and had a bat flip to match as the San Diego Padres beat the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers 6-4 Saturday for their fourth straight win.

Ha-Seong Kim and Kyle Higashioka also homered for the Padres, who popped back above .500 and will go for a four-game sweep on Sunday.

The Padres were cruising toward a shutout when Jhony Brito loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth on two singles and a walk, and then allowed Brice Turang’s grand slam to left.

Robert Suarez came on to get the final out for his 19th save.

The 21-year-old Merrill has 10 homers overall and seven in his last 10 games. That stretch started with two homers, including a walk-off shot, in a 5-4 home win against Oakland on June 12.

His blast Saturday, with one out in the fourth, was the longest of his career, surpassing the 411-foot shot he hit off Jose Quintana at the New York Mets on June 15.

“I don’t think I’ve ever looked at distance because if it goes over the fence, it’s a homer,” Merrill said. “If it was 330 or 440 (feet), whatever, it counts the same. I thought I’ve hit some balls harder than that. They just haven’t carried as much because night games here are a little difficult. I’m just trying to put the barrel on the ball.”

Merrill carried his bat with him for the first few steps of his trot while watching the ball fly out of the park and then flipped it aside. He finished with three hits.

“I’m just learning to take my shots and when not to,” Merrill said. “We had two guys and one out, in that situation, first and second, you’ve got to try to drive somebody in.”

Manager Mike Shildt said he’s not surprised with Merrill’s power surge.

“When you have an efficient swing, you grow into your power,” Shildt said. “One of the things I first saw with Jackson was a guy that had a really good swing and an idea of how to use it, which can be rare, period, but also rare at a younger age.

“As far as relative to power, the guy makes consistent contact, has a feel for a swing, he’s going to develop into his power.”

In the second, Merrill had a 13-pitch at-bat, his longest so far, before hitting a single.

Kim homered to left-center two batters later, his 10th.

Both were off rookie Carlos Rodriguez (0-3). He allowed four runs and six hits in four innings, struck out two and walked none.

Randy Vásquez (2-4) got his first win in five starts by holding the Brewers to five hits in five innings, with three strikeouts and three walks.

Higashioka hit a two-run homer with one out in the seventh, his sixth. He also twice threw out Turang trying to steal second base.


Padres: RF Fernando Tatis Jr. and LF Jurickson Profar were out of the lineup with injuries and C Luis Campusano was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Friday, with a bruised left thumb. Tatis has a bruised left triceps after being hit by a pitch just above his elbow on Friday night. Profar left that game as well with ongoing patellar tendinitis in his left knee.


Brewers RHP Tobias Myers (4-2, 3.26 ERA) and Padres RHP Michael King (5-4, 3.49) are scheduled to start the series finale Sunday.



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