Padres look to back Cashner with offense for second game in a row

SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 29: Derek Norris #3 of the San Diego Padres celebrates after hitting a grand slam during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Petco Park May 29, 2015 in San Diego, California. The Padres won 6-2.  

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The San Diego Padres could be a much more imposing force in the National League if they can learn to utilize outings from tough-luck Andrew Cashner.

After finally earning a win for the right-hander, the Padres will look to keep their offense rolling into Cashner’s start Monday night against the New York Mets, losers of seven straight on the road.

Cashner (2-7, 3.00 ERA) has suffered through a run support average of 2.86 – fifth-worst in the NL – but enjoyed five runs over seven innings of a 5-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday. He had received only three total runs of support in his previous six starts, spanning 39 innings, all of which were Padres’ losses despite Cashner posting a 3.00 ERA in that span.

Cashner has the best ERA and lowest walk rate (2.14 per nine innings) among the team’s current rotation.

"He’s pitched much better than the record indicates," manager Bud Black told MLB’s official website. "At the end of the day, Cash is about the team, about team wins. His individual won-loss record will definitely improve."

San Diego (25-27) provided a great deal of offense for Sunday’s starter Odrisamer Despaigne in a 7-1 win over Pittsburgh. Will Middlebrooks hit his seventh home run, Jedd Gyorko drove in two and Derek Norris had two hits and two runs as the Padres split the four-game set.

San Diego had lost seven of nine at home.

"I think we’re playing pretty good baseball right now," said Gyorko, whose RBIs were his first in 11 games. "The pitchers have been throwing the ball pretty well the last 10 days of so and we’re starting to get that timely hitting when we need it. When we put that together, it can be pretty dangerous."

Unlike his counterpart Monday, Jacob deGrom (5-4, 2.71) has been the beneficiary of 19 runs over his last three starts, all New York wins. That success is not undeserved, though, as the right-hander has allowed only three runs and struck out 26 over his last 21 1-3 innings while issuing one walk.

Though he’s never faced the Padres, deGrom has experience against Matt Kemp (2 for 6) and Justin Upton (2 for 9 with five strikeouts).

The Mets (28-23) have never done well at Petco Park, winning only one series (2011) there since it opened in 2004. They’ve dropped four of five in San Diego, batting .182 and totaling 11 runs.

New York avoided a three-game sweep with Sunday’s 4-3 victory over Miami to complete a 4-2 homestand. Wilmer Flores hit his eighth home run and Ruben Tejada delivered a tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh for the Mets, who try to avoid their second eight-game road skid in as many seasons.

Tejada went 5 for 12 in the series with two doubles and four RBIs, and played a flawless third base in place of the injured David Wright.

"Right now, I’ve got the opportunity to play," Tejada told MLB’s official website. "I want to enjoy it and keep working hard."

Cashner made his only start against New York on June 13 and allowed four runs over six innings in a 6-2 loss at Citi Field.

Michael Cuddyer is 4 for 14 with a homer and double against Cashner.