Padres pull away for 5-1 win over Arizona
By locking into the fastball, Will Venable sets himself up for the breaking balls.
And when those pitches come, particularly up in the zone, he hasn't been missing many.
Venable drove in the first of San Diego's two runs in the first inning and hit a two-run homer to cushion the lead, helping the Padres avoid a three-game sweep with a 5-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.
''Will's doing a good job of capitalizing on the high breaking ball, the mistake breaking ball, he's not missing it,'' Padres manager Bud Black said.
Venable has been on a tear since August started, putting together a 15-game hitting streak and a current run of eight straight games.
Against the Diamondbacks, he hit a run-scoring single off Wade Miley (9-9) in the first inning and later scored on Jesus Guzman's run-scoring single. With the game still close in the eighth, Venable helped give the padding San Diego needed, lifting a two-run homer off Heath Bell to become the first Padres outfielder to hit 20 homers in a season since Mike Cameron in 2007.
''Just being ready for fastball for every pitch, just puts your body and your eyes in a position to recognize those pitches and continue on and make your swing,'' said Venable, who's hitting .390 with eight homers in August. ''Hitting those off-speed pitches, that's just a product of being ready for the fastball.''
Guzman also hit a solo homer and Robbie Erlin (2-2) was sharp in his return to the majors, holding Arizona to a run and six hits.
Miley was effective after his early troubles, but the Diamondbacks gave him little support, stranding 10 runners while going 1-for 8 with runners in scoring position.
Willie Bloomquist had three hits, drove in a run and made some tough plays at shortstop in his first game off the disabled list for Arizona, which had its five-game home winning streak end.
''We had some opportunities, but were unable to get the big hit, extra-base hit when we needed it,'' Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said.
The series finale was relatively quiet after Tuesday's wild game of lead changes, hits (26) and lineup shuffling, including a major league-record five different third basemen used by the Padres.
Erlin had a lot to do with it after being called up to take the rotation spot of Edinson Volquez, who was designated for assignment on Saturday.
The young left-hander struggled in his last appearance with the Padres, allowing four runs in four innings in a loss to Washington on July 7.
Erlin had pitched well before that, though, and was good early to start his fourth stint in the majors, working around a couple of baserunners in the third and fourth innings.
Erlin got himself into a little trouble in the sixth, when he walked Eric Chavez with two outs and gave up a single to Aaron Hill. Bloomquist, who had been out since being hit on the left hand by a pitch on July 26, followed with a single to right to cut San Diego's lead to 2-1.
''I really just try to keep it simple, throw strikes,'' Erlin said after his first win since beating Toronto on July 1. ''It just comes down to executing. Executing gets outs.''
Miley has been good since the start of July, going 5-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 10 starts. He wasn't particularly fortunate over his previous three starts, earning three straight no-decisions despite allowing seven earned runs in 21 innings.
Miley's tough luck continued.
He struggled early against the Padres, giving up a leadoff single to Chris Denorfia, a run-scoring double to Venable and a run-scoring single to Guzman to fall behind 2-0 in the first inning.
The left-hander worked through three baserunners in the second inning before settling into a rhythm. He allowed two runs on seven hits and walked five in seven innings, but still lost for the first time in seven home starts.
''I thought I made some pretty good pitches in the first inning,'' Miley said. ''They did a pretty good job of putting some balls in play and hitting the ball hard. That's the way it goes.''
NOTES: Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt was given the night off after 47 straight starts. ... Arizona RHP Will Harris, outfielder/baserunning coordinator Joel Youngblood and Padres OF Carlos Quentin all shared a birthday on Wednesday. Quentin, on the DL since Aug. 10, will have surgery on his right knee and is done for the season. ... Arizona has Thursday off before opening a three-game series at San Francisco. RHP Randall Delgado, who will start the opener, is 3-1 with a 3.83 ERA his last seven starts. ... San Diego also has Thursday off before LHP Erick Stults faces LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu in the opener of a three-game series against the Dodgers.