MILWAUKEE – Hunter Renfroe's power surge is a welcome sight for the San Diego Padres.
Renfroe's grand slam keyed a six-run rally that stunned the Milwaukee Brewers and gave the Padres an 8-4 victory Thursday.
Renfroe, a former TinCap, hit a home run for the fourth straight game, a blast into the left-field bleachers off reliever Joakim Soria. San Diego entered the ninth inning trailing 4-2 but rallied against closer Corey Knebel and Soria.
The Padres finished 4-3 on their Midwest road trip as they split four games with the Chicago Cubs and won two of three against the Brewers.
“Part of it is guys clicking at the right time. Part of it is guys just saying, 'Enough was enough. It's time to go play winning baseball,' ” Padres manager Andy Green said.
Knebel walked the bases loaded to open the ninth and gave up an infield single to Travis Jankowski, trimming Milwaukee's lead to 4-3. Soria induced a flyout from Eric Hosmer and had a 1-2 count on Renfroe before the Padres left fielder turned on an inside pitch.
Renfroe did not chase an 0-2 pitch that just missed the strike zone.
“It was a great pitch; it was off the plate,” Renfroe said. “He dropped down a little bit. I was able to lay off it and I was able to get a pitch I could handle on the next pitch and drive it out of the ballpark.”
Franmil Reyes, another ex-Tin Cap capped the six-run outburst with a solo homer off Jacob Barnes.
Knebel (2-3) did not retire any of the four hitters he faced in the ninth.
“Couldn't throw a strike,” Knebel said. “That was it. Nothing else going on. I just couldn't find the zone.”
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said he may use other options to close games in the future.
“Whether it's the seventh, eighth, ninth or sixth, we need those outs,” Counsell said. “I think the next time out, we'll get him an easier spot for sure but at some point, we're going to try to get him back to working big spots in the game.
“I think we function best when Corey handles the ninth, but if we have to do things a little differently to get him back on track, then that's how we'll approach it.”
Milwaukee finished a 3-3 homestand and dropped two games behind the first-place Cubs in the NL Central Division race.
Padres reliever Kirby Yates (4-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory, and Craig Stammen closed it out with a perfect ninth.
Brewers starter Junior Guerra gave up two runs and eight hits in six innings and was helped by three double plays. The Padres hit into four double plays overall.