Yangervis Solarte doesn’t hit a lot of home runs.
He is just not that type of hitter.
The most homers he had ever hit in a season was 15, a number he posted in both 2015 and 2016.
That changed on Sept. 6, when the San Diego Padres hosted the St. Louis Cardinals for the third game of a four-game series, a game in which St. Louis won 3-1.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Solarte hit his 16th home run of the 2017 season, setting a new career high.
It came against Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty.
The pitch was an 86 mph changeup from Flaherty, located up in the outer part of the strike zone. With a 1-0 count, Solarte swung and sent a moonshot over the right field wall. It gave San Diego a 1-0 lead.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) September 7, 2017
Solarte knew it was gone as soon as he hit it. He dropped the bat and went into his home run trot around the bases.
The home run was measured at 393 feet. It had a measured exit velocity of 101 mph, and left at a 33-degree angle. The ball resembled a rocket in flight.
With roughly three weeks left in the season, Solarte has a chance to raise his career-high even higher. He missed nearly five weeks with an oblique strain. He was placed on the disabled list on June 20, and didn’t return to the ball club until July 30.
That was the only scoring the Padres were able to muster. Flaherty pitched five innings, allowing three hits and walking four.
The Padres had a chance to score in the bottom of the third inning. Flaherty gave up two singles and issued a walk to Wil Myers to load the bases with one out. Jose Pirela was the next hitter. Flaherty got him to hit a sharp ground ball down the third base line. Third baseman Alex Mejia scooped up the grounder, stepped on the third base bag, and promptly threw to first to complete the double play. Flaherty got out of the inning unscathed.
In the bottom of the ninth, Hector Sanchez and Jabari Blash both hit singles to put runners at first and second with no outs. St. Louis relief pitcher Tyler Lyons retired the next three hitters to get the save.
Pitching for San Diego, Dinelson Lamet had another solid outing. He pitched six-plus innings against the Cardinals, striking out eight hitters. He now has 123 strikeouts over 99 innings pitched for the season. Lamet has been using an effective slider that is downright filthy to get hitters out.
Lamet’s downfall was a two-run home run hit by Stephen Piscotty in the top of the seventh inning.
The two teams play the series finale, with the Padres trying to avoid a four-game sweep, on Sept. 7 at Petco Park. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:10 p.m. PDT.