The San Diego Padres know their offense hasn’t lived up to expectations at times this season, but that’s certainly not the case lately.
The Padres go for their fourth straight victory when they continue a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.
San Diego (69-58) ranks second-to-last in the NL with a .249 batting average and is 12th with 570 runs. The Padres are doing their best to boost those numbers as they have totaled 30 runs and 50 hits during a three-game winning streak.
They recorded a season-high 22 hits and scored their most runs since July 29 with a 14-3 win over the Phillies (66-61) on Friday.
“In San Diego, all they talk about is how bad an offensive team we are,” said Padres left fielder Milton Bradley, who hit a pair of three-run homers. “Now it’s time for the offense to step it up.”
Bradley is 8-for-19 (.421) over the last four games and Adrian Gonzalez, who also homered twice Friday, has hit safely in five straight while going 12-for-25 (.480) with four homers. Josh Bard had five hits while Kevin Kouzmanoff and Gonzalez each had four for the Padres, who lead Philadelphia and Atlanta by three games in the wild-card race.
Greg Maddux went seven innings to become the first pitcher to win 10 games in 20 consecutive seasons. He helped hand the Phillies their fifth loss in six games.
Philadelphia is hitting just .210 and has posted a 10.33 ERA during a three-game losing streak. The Phillies are trying to avoid matching a season-high four-game skid set May 28-June 1.
They’ll hand the ball to Kyle Lohse (7-12, 4.61 ERA), who is making his fifth start since being acquired from Cincinnati on July 30. He’s 1-0 with a 4.79 ERA for Philadelphia.
The right-hander allowed four runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings on Sunday, but didn’t get a decision in an 8-4 defeat to Pittsburgh. He didn’t surrender a run in the first six innings before running into trouble.
“We were going pretty smooth there for six innings, hit a snag and it kind of snowballed,” said Lohse, who walked three and struck out seven.
The only two starts Lohse has made against the Padres came last season and he lost both while posting an 11.42 ERA - his worst career ERA against any opponent - and giving up 14 hits in 8 2-3 innings.
Clay Hensley (2-3, 6.70) goes for back-to-back victories when he takes the ball for San Diego. The right-hander has spent much of the season with Triple-A Portland, but was recalled on Aug. 16 and beat Colorado the same day.
He won despite giving up six runs and six hits over five innings while walking four in the 11-9 victory. It was the first win since April 21 for Hensley and his first appearance since surrendering Barry Bonds’ record-tying 755th homer at Petco Park on Aug. 4.
“Well, I mean I’m obviously not happy about the way I pitched tonight,” Hensley told the Padres’ official Web site. “I wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked to have been, but the guys really picked me up.”
Hensley is 1-0 with a 3.15 ERA in six career games, including two starts, versus the Phillies.