Padres seeking first four-game winning streak
SAN DIEGO — For the fourth time this season, the Padres Monday night extended a winning streak to three straight games, pounding out nine extra-base hits — including four solo homers — in an 11-4 victory over Atlanta at Petco Park.
Not once have the Padres won four straight. And not once have they won every series of a homestand.
Which brings us to Tuesday night’s second game of a three-game series.
The Padres will send right-hander Jordan Lyles out for a sixth start since he was promoted from the bullpen. Lyles is 2-1 as a starter with a 3.64 ERA. The Braves are countering with left-hander Sean Newcomb (6-1, 2.73 ERA).
The Padres will be counting on Lyles to give them that elusive fourth straight win and a third straight series win since Wednesday afternoon’s series finale will be a “bullpen” start for the Padres. Padres manager Andy Green has identified Wednesday’s starter — but the best options are Robbie Erlin and Bryan Mitchell.
Meanwhile, Monday’s outcome had impact on both teams.
Atlanta’s lead over Washington in the National League East was reduced to a single game.
Meanwhile, the Padres pulled to within six games of .500 (28-34) for the first time since April 23. And they are only 4 1/2 games behind Arizona in the National League West.
Green said he isn’t thinking about where the Padres are right now in the National League West race.
“We’re seeing some positive things, but this is about continuing to grind all season long . . . keeping things up beat when you are down and finding things to work on when you are doing well. For us, the focus is on the Braves right now. When you start looking at the arms they’re using against us, they’re really good.”
And one of the best is Newcomb, who turns 25 on June 12.
Newcomb has the 10th-best ERA in the National League and is tied for fifth in wins. He is also riding a six-game winning streak, which is tied for the third longest in the National League this season. Newcomb also ranks among the league leaders in several other categories — like seventh in opponents’ batting average (.204), sixth in road ERA (2.06), third in winning percentage (.857) and fourth in walks issued (30).
The 30 walks in 67 innings appears to be the one flaw in Newcomb’s game.
The first-round pick of the Angels (15th overall) in 2014, the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Newcomb was 5-0 in May with a 1.54 ERA in six starts. He allowed six runs on 19 hits and 16 walks with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings.
Newcomb faced the Padres once before, holding them to no runs on six hits and a walk with eight strikeouts last June 27 at Petco Park.
All five of Lyles starts came in May. As a starter, the 27-year-old Lyles has allowed 12 runs on 26 hits and nine walks with 31 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings. In his second start on May 15 against Colorado at Petco Park, Lyles was perfect for 7 1/3 innings.
Lyles has faced Atlanta three times (two starts) in his career with no decisions and a 2.84 ERA. He’s given up four runs on 14 hits and three walks with 11 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings.