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Less than a month ago, Edinson Volquez was booed at Petco Park, coming off of an awful start. What a difference a few starts make as Volquez was applauded after pitching 6 2/3 innings of quality baseball as the Padres took the series from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday by a score of 5-1.

As it turned out, the two runs that the Padres scored in the first inning would have sufficed, but the blast by Jedd Gyorko was a true crowd pleaser in the sixth inning to pad the lead. And Will Venable – who had been struggling – followed Gyorko’s shot into the second deck in left field, with a shot of his own into the Petco porch in right field.

“I knew that one was going to sneak out,” Gyorko said playfully after the game. “It’s a long way out, it’s not a pitcher’s park for no reason, but I was able to get that one up and off of the bat.” His home run was estimated at 426 feet.

With the strong effort from Edinson Volquez, the Padres put together the type of a win that manager Buddy Black has been looking for all season. And Edinson seems to be getting a little better with every outing.

“A lot of work, man, we have to put everything together to throw strikes,” Edinson said after the game.

Black was more succinct. “Starting pitching is so vital to a team’s success. This start today set up what needed to happen where [Volquez] pitched deep into the game, and then the guys who were the freshest were able to pitch, Joe [Thatcher], Luke [Gregerson], and Huston [Street].”

Buddy continued, “Volquez pitched very well on the heels of a tough start by Clayton [Richard]. Early count strikes, and the secondaries for strikes. It’s fastball, curve, change. The change, when thrown, he’s been able to throw it behind the count, if they take it, called strike. Where I think early in the year, maybe trying to be a little too fine, little bit out of whack mechanically, and the off-speed pitches were not consistently in the strike zone.”

With the victory, the Padres have won 8 of their last 11 games. They are still five games under .500 but the Dodgers just got swept in San Francisco, and the Padres are gaining on them. Getting out of the cellar of the National League West may be only a game or two away.


Notes:

Monday the Marlins come to town and the Padres will pitch Andrew Cashner (1-2, 4.24) against former Padre Wade LeBlanc (0-4, 6.23). Game time is scheduled for 7:10 PM PDST, but with rain in the forecast we’ll have to see how this one plays out or else doesn’t. Radio 1090 AM or Fox Sports San Diego will either broadcast the game or tap dance around it, depending. Just look skyward, you’ll likely know before anyone else.

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