Edinson Volquez bounced back from the worst start of his career with one of his best outings of the season to keep the San Diego Padres' win streak intact his last time out.
The right-hander will now try to help the Padres extend their season-best run to seven games and end their recent road woes against the San Francisco Giants in Monday night's opener.
Before his latest outing, Volquez (5-5, 5.87 ERA) was 1-2 with an 8.31 ERA over a five-game stretch. He gave up a career-worst nine runs and 11 hits in 2 1-3 innings in a loss in Colorado on June 7. He rebounded by yielding one run over seven innings and striking out a season-high nine in a 5-3 win over Atlanta on Wednesday.
"For him, it's about the secondary pitches in the strike zone," manager Bud Black said. "He threw the hook in the strike zone and made some great pitches with the change."
Volquez's effort is part of a string of strong performances by the Padres' rotation over the last six games. San Diego starters have posted a 1.94 ERA during the win streak but the team needed Kyle Blanks' three-run homer in the eighth inning Sunday to keep their run going with a 4-1 victory over Arizona.
The win pushed the Padres (35-34) above .500 this late in the season for the first time since ending 2010 at 90-72.
After hitting .256 with three homers in the season's first two months, Blanks is batting .321 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in his first 15 games in June.
"There is no secret. I've been just trying to stay consistent ... really focusing on trying to get good swings and putting those good swings on good pitches and typically good things happen when you do that," Blanks said.
He'll try to keep hitting well against the struggling Barry Zito (4-5, 4.79). The left-hander is 1-4 with a 7.15 ERA in his last six starts and was tagged for eight runs in 4 2-3 innings in a 12-8 loss in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
"His command wasn't on and he left a lot of pitches up and you'll always get hurt when you do that against big-league hitters," bench coach Ron Wotus said.
Zito, though, will get the benefit of pitching at AT&T Park on Monday. He's 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA in eight home starts this season, compared to going 0-4 with an 11.28 ERA in his five on the road.
Zito threw seven shutout innings in a home win over the Padres on April 21, but was hindered by five unearned runs in an 8-7 loss in San Diego six days later.
Zito will try to keep the Padres from moving a step closer to matching their longest win streak in 2012, an eight-game run Aug. 19-27.
The Giants (35-33) have won 15 of their past 19 home games against San Diego and swept a three-game set April 19-21. The Padres swept San Francisco in three home games the following weekend.
It's unknown if San Diego's Carlos Quentin (shoulder) and Everth Cabrera (hamstring) or San Francisco's Marco Scutaro (finger) will return from injuries during this series or go on the disabled list. Scutaro missed his fifth straight game in a 3-0 loss in Atlanta on Sunday.
Volquez will try to limit the Giants again while earning his first win over San Francisco since Aug. 29, 2008. He has given up two runs in each of his last four matchups, including April 19, but has not received a decision in any of those games.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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