The San Diego Padres' surge has them out of the NL West cellar.
Chase Headley and rookie Jedd Gyorko deserve much of the credit for that.
The Padres go for their 10th victory in 13 games on Tuesday night when they continue their series at Petco Park against the NL-worst Miami Marlins.
Since falling a season-worst 10 games below .500 on April 23, the Padres (14-18) have gone 9-3 to climb into fourth, percentage points ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Headley, who missed the first 14 games with a broken left thumb, is batting a team-best .348 with two homers and seven RBIs during that stretch. The veteran third baseman went 2 for 4 - including an RBI double - and extended his hitting streak to 11 in Monday's 5-0 victory.
"We're playing the way we thought we were capable at the start of the season,' Headley said after San Diego prevented a fourth consecutive home loss in this series and a third straight victory by the Marlins (10-23).
Gyorko is also doing plenty of damage during the 12-game surge, batting .326 with a team-high three homers - all in the last six games, including a solo shot on Monday.
The Padres, who recorded their first shutout of the season behind Andrew Cashner's gem, will give the ball to Eric Stults (2-2, 5.08 ERA) as they try to win for the eighth time in their last nine at Petco Park.
San Diego has won the veteran left-hander's last two outings, both no-decisions. Stults, who went 6 2-3 innings in Thursday's 4-2 victory at the Chicago Cubs, is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts against the Marlins. The last time he faced them was in 2009 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Miami will counter with San Diego native Alex Sanabia (2-4, 4.67), who will make his first start against the Padres.
"I'm definitely excited being back home," he told the Padres' official website.
The right-hander, though, has lost each of his last three outings. Sanabia permitted four runs in Thursday's 7-2 road loss to Philadelphia, but two of those were unearned due a fifth-inning error by second baseman Donovan Solano, who was placed on the DL on Monday with left side discomfort.
"I can't control any of (the errors),' Sanabia said. "I just go out and do my job.'
The Marlins, last in the majors with a .226 batting average and 98 runs after getting blanked for the fifth time on Monday, have been doing the job at the plate when Sanabia takes the ball. The right-hander's 4.93 run-support average leads the club.
Sanabia has also been more effective on the road, posting a 3.71 ERA in three outings compared to 5.60 in three in Miami.
Marlins rookie Marcell Ozuna went hitless on Monday for the first time since being called up April 30 to replace injured outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, but he's still batting a team-high .400 (8 for 20) with a homer and four RBIs in the first half of Miami's 10-game trip.
Matt Diaz could see action for the Marlins for the fourth time since being promoted from Triple-A New Orleans on Thursday, as he's 2 for 2 off Stults.
Chris Coghlan is the only other current Marlin with an at-bat against the southpaw, going 0 for 2.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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