PHOENIX (AP) -The San Diego Padres have been a great bounceback team, turning losses into motivation and, usually, a win the next day.
After a pair of disasters in the desert, the Padres were in dire need of any kind of victory.
Of course they came through.
Mat Latos pitched six scoreless innings in a combined three-hitter, Jerry Hairston Jr. created havoc from the leadoff spot and the Padres beat Arizona 10-1 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep by the last-place Diamondbacks.
``The thing we've been doing all season is showing our resiliency, coming back from losses and responding the next day,' manager Bud Black said. ``So that was good.'
Atop the NL West since mid-June, the Padres have seen their lead over San Francisco slowly dwindle over the past two weeks. After losing a pitchers' duel to the Diamondbacks on Friday and an emotional walk-off defeat the next night - the sixth in nine games - San Diego's division lead was just one.
Needing a win maybe more than they have all season, the Padres put together a solid all-around game, scoring four runs off Joe Saunders (1-1) in the fourth inning on the way to 12 hits and getting another predictably solid outing by Latos.
Hairston triggered the offense with three hits, including his ninth homer, four runs and two RBIs. Always-steady Adrian Gonzalez drove in two runs and Chris Denorfia added a two-run homer to give San Diego a two-game cushion heading into a home series against Pittsburgh that preludes a 10-game road trip.
``We had a pretty rough series and we battled real well,' Latos said. ``It was really important to get this win right here.'
Latos absorbed a tough-luck loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday, when he allowed two runs over six innings. The big right-hander got some support this time and was even better on the mound, baffling Arizona's hitters with his big overhand curveball and a fastball that reached 97 mph.
Latos worked around four walks over the first three innings thanks to five strikeouts and became more aggressive in the strike zone after that, allowing two hits before being replaced by Ernesto Frieri to start the seventh. He's allowed two or fewer runs in 15 of his last 16 starts, going 11-2 with a 1.57 ERA.
``He's got a lively ball,' Arizona interim manager Kirk Gibson said. ``He's tall, he throws on a downhill plane, got a good breaking ball, a good changeup. He's got very good control and knows how to pitch.'
Saunders had been superb in two games since being acquired from the Angels for Dan Haren in a multiplayer deal. The left-hander won at Philadelphia in his debut, then tossed a five-hit shutout against Washington on Tuesday in his first home game.
This one wasn't quite as sharp.
The Padres picked away at Saunders early, getting an RBI single from Scott Hairston in the second inning and a just-over-the-wall solo homer to left by Jerry Hairston in the third.
San Diego poured it on in the fifth, getting RBI singles from Jerry Hairston and Gonzalez, Ryan Ludwick's sacrifice fly and another run on left fielder Gerardo Parra's throwing error that elicited boos from the crowd.
Saunders lasted six innings, giving up five earned runs and eight hits.
``I thought my command was off - couldn't really throw strike one - and that's what kind of hurt me, put them into hitters' counts,' Saunders said. ``When they didn't hit the ball hard, it seemed like they found a hole.'
San Diego made it 8-0 in the seventh inning off Blaine Boyer on Gonzalez's run-scoring single and Ludwick's double-play grounder. Denorfia hit his eighth homer off Rafael Rodriguez in the ninth, putting the Padres up 10-1 and in a better frame of mind heading into the final third of the season.
``The strength of what we have going on is that we're focused on the Padres,' Black said. ``We know that we have to do our thing.'
NOTES: A scoring change from Saturday night's game took away an error from Arizona 3B Bobby Crosby in the seventh inning and gave a hit to Miguel Tejada. ... Diamondbacks 3B Mark Reynolds was 0 for 4 after missing the previous three games due to a pitch that hit him on the helmet last Tuesday. He also made a tough barehanded putout on Denorfia's bunt attempt in the third inning. ... Frieri had his career-starting scoreless streak end at 10 2-3 innings on Chris Young's RBI single in the seventh inning.
The Associated Press News Service
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