Before this season, the San Diego Padres had never recorded a sweep in Arizona. Now they are on the verge of their second one in 2012.
The Padres seek a seventh straight win overall and sixth in a row against the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
San Diego has rebounded from a five-game losing streak with six consecutive wins, including a 9-3 victory Saturday. Yonder Alonso hit one of his team’s three home runs and added a two-run single to back eight innings from Clayton Richard.
The win was the Padres’ fifth straight over the Diamondbacks, with all five coming at Chase Field following a three-game sweep in early July.
Prior to that series, San Diego (58-70), which has outscored the Diamondbacks 37-16 during the current streak, had never swept a series in Arizona.
“We just feel that we play well here,” Alonso, who is 8 for his last 16 at Chase Field, told the Padres’ official website. “It’s a good place to play.”
A victory in the finale would give San Diego its first seven-game streak since an eight-game run from April 16-24, 2010.
While the Padres are playing well in Phoenix, the Diamondbacks (64-63) are struggling there, losing nine of 14 at home. They split a four-game series against Miami earlier this week and are averaging 2.8 runs and hitting .213 on this 10-game homestand.
Bouncing back could be difficult if Edinson Volquez (8-9, 4.18 ERA) is able to build off one of his better starts in a month.
Volquez gave up one run and five hits over 6 2-3 innings and matched a season high with 10 strikeouts in a 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Monday.
The right-hander had a 13.83 ERA over his previous four starts, spanning 13 2-3 innings.
“About time,” Volquez said. “It’s a lot of work with my pitching coach (Darren Balsley). I was under control with my mechanics, my delivery was better, my fastball command was better. Everything was better.”
Volquez doesn’t have a decision in two starts against the Diamondbacks this year - both Padres losses. He’s allowed two runs in each outing, going 13 innings.
A replacement wasn’t immediately announced, but Trevor Cahill (9-10, 3.86) could go on full rest. The right-hander has posted a 1.29 ERA in three starts against the Padres this year despite walking 12 over 21 innings.
Cahill, though, has a 5.79 ERA in four home starts since the All-Star break.