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Gwynn Takes Out Frustrations on Giants

Tony Gwynn said he has been frustrated with the way he’s been hitting the baseball this season.

Who would be frustrated by a .282 batting average, and being ranked sixth in the National League with 20 hits?

Gwynn was.

“I’ve been getting fooled on a lot of pitches,” he said. “I must have popped up and struck out more times in my first 75 at-bats this year than I have in my life. It’s frustrating. You just got to go out and try to keep your head and keep your sanity.”

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Gwynn probably won’t need help to stay sane after Sunday’s game. Gwynn hit two home runs for the first time in his career as the Padres beat the Giants, 6-4, at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. Gwynn raised his average to .307 by going 3 for 4.

“We knew he’d break out (of the slump) with a bang,” said Steve Boros, Padre manager. “But it would have been hard to imagine that he’d do it with two home runs. That was a solid piece of hitting today (Sunday).”

Gwynn said he had tried to correct the problem by taking extra batting practice, looking at this year’s films and looking at 1984 films to see when he hit .351 to win the batting title. No luck.

Sunday, Gwynn tried a new technique. He sat in the clubhouse and watched both the NBA Playoffs and the Chicago Cubs-Montreal Expos game, and did not take his usual batting practice.

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“That’s not to say I won’t be out here early tomorrow, “because I will,” Gwynn said. “I didn’t get a chance to hit, that’s why I did well. It helped me relax.

“I stayed back and saw the ball well. I just tried to hit the ball hard and two went out. Hitting home runs was the farthest thing from my mind.”

Gwynn said pitchers have been fooling him with breaking balls and off-speed pitches. But, Gwynn hit the homers off a slider and a changeup.

After John Kruk reached first on an error in the third, Gwynn hit his second homer of the season just inside the right-field foul pole to give the Padres a 3-0 lead. Gwynn said starter and loser Mike Krukow (3-1) hung a slider.

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On the second homer, Gwynn said Bill Lasky got a changeup up in the strike zone. Gwynn jumped on it and nearly hit the cameraman in the center-field platform.

“How often do I hit 420-foot home runs?” Gwynn said. “I just stayed back and waited on the ball. Hopefully that’s a lesson I learned from today.”

Gwynn, who had only 13 career homers and one this season, said he’s not planning on becoming a power hitter.

“I’m content to be a Punch-and-Judy hitter,” he said. “A lot of people say the more I go around the league and see pitchers, I’ll hit more. But I could have gone the whole year without one.

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“My theory has always been, stay back, see the ball, hit the ball and run like hell. Easy.”

If it were that simple, psychologists wouldn’t have any baseball players for patients.


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