Wily Mo Pena has finally gotten the chance to accumulate some playing time this season, and he’s making the most of it.
Pena will try to stay hot at the plate when the Reds resume their three-game series with the visiting San Diego Padres.
Pena had two homers and four RBIs Saturday as the Reds cruised to an 11-5 win over the Padres. He combined to hit back-to-back blasts with Darren Bragg in the sixth inning and with Adam Dunn in the seventh.
“I don’t know how I feel,” Pena said. “The more I play, the more confidence I get.”
Pena owned a career .219 batting average with six homers and 17 RBIs in 93 games coming into this season. He has played in 88 games this season, thanks in part to injuries to Ken Griffey Jr., and is hitting .263 with 21 homers and 56 RBIs.
“He’s worked hard, to his credit,” San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s made himself into some kind of player. He’s turned himself into a dangerous hitter.”
Bragg, who was called up from Triple-A Louisville on Thursday, went 3-for-3. He was just 1-for-11 entering the game, including 1-for-7 in nine games for San Diego.
The Reds, who scored six runs in the sixth inning, matched a season-high with 16 hits.
The Padres fell a game behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL wild card race. They are tied with San Francisco for second in the NL West, 6 1/2 games behind Los Angeles.
Miguel Ojeda homered for San Diego, which has lost eight of its last 12.
“We got some runs early,” Bochy said. “They kept it close enough. They got the big inning and we didn’t.”