Welcome to the rarefied air of over-.500 baby–the view is magnificent from up here. Clayton Richard picked a fine time to turn in his best outing of the season, Kyle Blanks picked a fine time for his eighth home run, and the San Diego Padres celebrated Father's Day with a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday at Petco Park, finishing off a three-game sweep.
Richard won for just the second time all season with a masterful eight innings: one run on seven hits, no walks, and best of all, no home runs. His ERA plummeted from 8.06 to 7.01.
Someone in the Padres' organization decided to alter the rotation a bit and have Richard and Jason Marquis swap places–Richard was originally scheduled to start Saturday night's game. Whoever it was deserves a raise. Richard's ERA in night games this season is a ghastly 12.05; in day games–3.48. You have to love that move.
Blanks crushed a David Hernandez pitch into the second-deck in left-field to turn a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 lead. Will Venable rocked his ninth long ball of the year, a solo shot, for the Padres' first run. Everth Cabrera continued his hot hitting with a 3-for-4 day to boost his average to .305, but may end up missing some time after injuring his hamstring running the bases.
"I knew something was wrong right away," Cabrera said. "I have experience with hamstring problems, and this one is unfortunate. They didn't say exactly what the injury was. Right now, everything feels fine. We'll have to wait and see how it feels on Monday."
"Cabby" is a big reason why the Friars are now over .500, at 35-34, for the first time since April 7, 2011, when they were 3-2. But since that was the very start of the season, you have to go back to the end of the 2010 season, when they finished 90-72, for the last time they were over .500 at any meaningful point in the season.
And the good news isn't limited to their record. The upstart Padres are
- Only two games out of first place.
- Winners of a season-high six in a row–all six over first-place teams, Atlanta and Arizona.
- 10-5 in June, and
- The hottest team in baseball (the Toronto Blue Jays are close behind).
Diamondbacks' manager Kirk Gibson was ready to leave town.
"We're going to come back and clear our heads from this and get out of this place," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "They've beat a lot of people here. This is probably one of the hottest teams in the game right now."
- They out-homered the D-backs, 4-1.
- Padre starters were 3-0 and gave up just one long ball in 23 2/3 innings.
- Starters also gave up a mere 5 five runs on 12 hits, and issued just five free passes.
San Diego's streak will be put to the test right away, as they head to San Francisco to take on the defending champs. The three-game series starts Monday at 7:15 PST, with Edinson Volquez, 5-5, 5.87, on the hill versus the Giants' Barry Zito, 4–5, 4.79. Zito is much better at home though–4-1, 1.94.
The Giants come in cold, having dropped 6 of their last 10, and are in third place in the NL West, just one-half game ahead of the Padres. They are a stellar 21-11 at home, while the Padres are 13-20 on the road.
Will the Padres continue their hot streak, or will the Giants bring them crashing back down to sub-.500? Anyone ready to predict another Padres' sweep? Log in and sound off, we want to hear from you! And be sure to vote in the fan poll here at Padres 101, and like us on Facebook.
Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Baseball, Clayton Richard, David Hernandez, Everth Cabrera, jason Marquis, Kirk Gibson, Kyle Blanks, MLB, San Diego, San Diego Padres, Will Venable