Margot culls together first five-hit game
After sitting out his team's last four games, Manuel Margot showed he was anything but rusty.
San Diego's No. 2 prospect went a career-best 5-for-6 with two homers, two doubles and four RBIs on Thursday night before Triple-A El Paso eventually fell to Tacoma, 16-15, at Southwest University Park.
"He was on time tonight and very consistent with what he was doing," Chihuahuas hitting coach Morgan Burkhart said. "When he does that and when he gets in that position, he works through the ball well."
Margot had been out of action since exiting a game against Las Vegas on July 30 early. The native of the Dominican Republic wasted little time demonstrating he was 100 percent Thursday as he launched an 0-2 pitch from Rainiers starter Forrest Snow over the fence in left field to lead off the game.
"Usually it takes an AB or two to get your timing for some guys, but he was pretty clean all night and on time," Burkhart said. "He went up there and had a good at-bat to kick off the night and ended up adding five or six other real good ones."
After popping out to first base in the second inning, Margot beat out an infield single to second in the fourth. MLB.com's No. 34 overall prospect lashed an RBI double to center in the seventh and doubled to right in the eighth before coming around to score on a single by No. 20 San Diego prospect Carlos Asuaje.
The 21-year-old outfielder capped his career night with a two-run blast to right-center in the ninth for his first multi-homer game since April 9, 2014 with Class A Greenville.
Since coming over to the Padres from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade in November 2015, Margot has hit .313 in 96 Pacific Coast League games, his best mark in five Minor League seasons.
"It's been fun. He's got all the talent," Burkhart said of watching the right-handed hitter's growth. "He's a littler guy that's quick, but, man, the strength. He's put together so strong and that impresses the heck out of me.
"Plus he's very good at being able to feel something [isn't] right, and he can fix that pretty quick. The feel that he has at the plate, which not everybody has, that's a good quality that he possesses and he should be able to work off that as long as he plays."
Third-ranked Padres prospect Hunter Renfroe blasted his league-leading 27th homer of the season while falling a triple shy of the cycle. The 24-year-old outfielder raised his slash line to .322/.348/.595.
"Hunter is a lot more of a hitter now," Burkhart said. "Before he was kind of a masher, but now he's combined getting better pitches to hit on a consistent basis … with his aggressiveness and his ability to get the barrel to the ball. To me, he's just much more of a pure hitter and he's become a much tougher out."
Hector Sanchez and Diego Goris also went yard for the Chihuahuas, who have smashed a PCL-leading 133 homers.
El Paso reliever Jason Jester (0-2) surrendered six runs -- two earned -- on four hits and a walk while striking out one over two-thirds of an inning.
Tacoma's Stefen Romero finished 4-for-6 with a homer and five RBIs, while seventh-ranked Mariners prospect Dan Vogelbach collected three hits and drove in three runs.
Rainiers reliever David Rollins (4-0) gave up two runs on four hits while recording two outs.
Alex Kraft is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21.