05/09/12 8:56 PM ET
No longer playing to impress, Alonso thrives
By Sarah Trotto / Special to MLB.com
The 25-year-old first baseman has adjusted, and the Padres are seeing positive results.
Alonso doubled in a run during a 2-for-4 day in the Padres' 6-2 loss to the Rockies on Wednesday, giving him hits in 12 of the past 13 games, batting .400 (20-for-50) with eight two-baggers over the stretch. He finished the day hitting .292 and had a seven-game hitting streak.
"We've seen a guy that has settled in," Black said before the game. "When you're part of a significant trade, I think there are some internal pressures [you] put on yourself. When we get new jobs, we want to impress. You're not quite yourself, because you're trying to really make an impression. I think that was the case with Yonder."
Alonso joined the Padres along with hurlers Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger and catcher Yasmani Grandal in a December trade with the Reds, who received right-hander Mat Latos.
Black said Alonso's progress is reflected in his overall game.
"Even a couple of the errors he made early in the year were made out of haste and trying to make plays, really trying to do some things defensively, because he wasn't doing them offensively," Black said. "He's relaxed. He's swinging the bat like all our scouts thought he would. He's using the whole field and he's hitting line drives."
Alonso agreed he's more relaxed.
"I think the beginning of the season was a little bit fast," Alonso said. "It was a little hectic at times, but lately, I've been slowing the game down. I've been trying to focus better. I focus a lot better, and my preparation has been a little better. And just trusting myself."
Four of Alonso's eight RBIs arrived in his last three games.
"It shows the team is grinding and getting on base and getting in scoring position," Alonso said. "It's always a plus when it's a whole team thing, so it's been good."
Baker shows some savvy on basepaths
SAN DIEGO -- After stealing the first two bases of his Major League career on Tuesday night, Padres catcher John Baker received a text message from his grandfather.
"I don't know how he knows how to text, but he said, 'Good job, Rickey Baker,'" the Padres backstop said.
The younger Baker began Wednesday having played in 220 Major League games, and his stolen base in the seventh inning of the Padres' 3-1 victory over the Rockies the night before at Petco Park marked the first of his career. He stole second after drawing a leadoff walk. He also stole second in the eighth after he was intentionally walked.
"I'm going to run every time I get on," Baker joked.
Baker joined the Padres this season after playing four seasons with the Marlins. The Padres' aggressive style in regards to baserunning is new to him.
"I'm not used to this style of baseball, but if it's going to help us win, let's do it," Baker said.
However, Baker, who went to the University of California at Berkeley, doesn't have the green light to steal.
"We do give our guys freedom at times, but John is not one of those guys," manager Bud Black said with a smile. "Even though he went to Cal, and he's a heady player, he's one of the guys we have to give signs to as far as the steal."
Padres' miscue snaps lengthy errorless streak
SAN DIEGO -- Before the Padres committed an error in the ninth inning of their victory over the Rockies on Tuesday night, they had gone 64 innings without an error.
But an error by shortstop Andy Parrino during Wednesday's 6-2 loss to the Rockies opened the door to Colorado's decisive four-run sixth inning.
San Diego finished play Wednesday with 31 errors, which trailed only San Francisco for the highest total in the National League.
"Early in the year, getting off to a slow start, we weren't really hitting. I think that went out to the field," Padres manager Bud Black said prior to the game. "You have the bad at-bats, and it goes out to the field. We've addressed that. Hopefully, we've smoothed that out. I still think we're going to play good defense over the next 125 games."
Before center fielder Cameron Maybin's fielding error in the ninth in Tuesday's victory at Petco, the Padres' last error was shortstop Jason Bartlett's fielding error in the first inning of the Padres' 2-0 victory over the Brewers on May 1 at Petco.
Sarah Trotto is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.