San Diego Padres' Alexi Amarista watches as his two-run home run heads for the right field seats against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, in San Diego.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Padres have always valued Alexi Amarista’s defensive versatility. This time, the diminutive shortstop flashed a big bat.
Amarista had three hits, including a two-run homer, to lead San Diego to a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.
Amarista’s two-out homer in the sixth inning off A.J. Burnett (8-17) followed a walk to Jake Goebbert and put the Padres ahead 4-3. Amarista, who doubled in the second and singled in the fourth, fell a triple short of the cycle when he grounded out in the eighth.
"It was a surprise about the home run," the 5-foot-6 Amarista said through a translator. "I had a lot of confidence in myself in that situation. I wasn’t trying to hit the home run, but I got a good swing on it."
Amarista, acquired by the Padres in a May 2012 trade with the Angels, has already equaled or surpassed his career highs in plate appearances, runs, hits, home runs and RBIs.
And with San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera having missed 53 games due to injuries, Amarista has filled in nicely for the former All-Star.
"The last month, he’s been as strong as any shortstop in the National League," San Diego manager Bud Black said.
Burnett, who took his major league-leading 17th loss, was not happy with his outing.
"I’m not going to make excuses," he said. "I messed up. I walked a guy, and the curveball (to Amarista) wasn’t down enough."
San Diego won its second straight game after dropping nine of 11.
Ian Kennedy (11-13) pitched six innings for the win. The right-hander allowed three runs and three hits with seven strikeouts and four walks. Kennedy had lost his previous two starts, giving up double-digit hits in both outings.
Freddy Galvis hit a two-run homer in the fifth to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. Dominic Brown had a solo homer in the second.
Philadelphia, held to one hit by Andrew Cashner in a 1-0 loss Monday night, managed just five hits against Kennedy and three relievers.
Kevin Quackenbush allowed an RBI single to pinch-hitter Darin Ruf in the ninth before closing out his fourth save.
The Phillies have lost seven of 11.
Burnett, who has gone 2-8 in his last 10 starts, gave up five runs — four earned — and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings.
He struck out four to pass Phillies Hall of Famer Robin Roberts for 43rd place on the career list with 2,361.
Phillies: SS Jimmy Rollins took infield practice but is still not expected back before the weekend. Rollins has been out since Sept. 8 because of a strained left hamstring.
Padres: OF Seth Smith did not start due to a sore right hamstring, although he walked as a pinch hitter. Smith tweaked his hamstring while making the final out on Monday. The left-handed-hitting Smith isn’t scheduled to start Wednesday night against Phillies lefty Cole Hamels.
Phillies: Hamels (8-7, 2.51 ERA), a San Diego native, has had great success when facing his hometown team, with an 8-2 record and an ERA of 2.21 in 15 career starts.
Padres: LHP Eric Stults (7-16, 4.49) will try to avoid tying Burnett for the major league lead with 17 losses.
JUST SHORT AGAIN
With Amarista missing the cycle, the Padres and Miami Marlins are the only teams in the majors that haven’t had a player accomplish the feat. It was the 358th time the Padres have had a player fall one hit short.
ANOTHER LOSING SEASON
The loss dropped Philadelphia to 69-82, ensuring the club’s second consecutive losing season with 11 games remaining.
IT NEVER RAINS IN CALIFORNIA
With a rare summer shower that moved through San Diego in the late afternoon, although it missed Petco Park, the Padres issued a thunder alert. Early-arriving fans were cautioned to take cover until the alert was lifted 45 minutes before the game.