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Amarista plays big part in Padres' 8-4 win

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- At 5 feet 7, Alexi Amarista has the slight build of a utility player, but Wednesday he showed that big things can come in small packages.

Amarista had a huge day as offensively challenged San Diego equaled a season high with 17 hits in an 8-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles that gave the Padres a two-game series sweep.

The 24-year-old center fielder was at the forefront of the offensive attack, going 3 for 5 with three runs, two doubles and an impressive opposite-field, two-run homer in the seventh inning to put the Padres up 7-2.

"I wouldn't say it's surprising, but I don't think you expect a lot of opposite-field home runs," San Diego manager Bud Black said of Amarista. "But he's got pop. He does. He lets it loose and turns it up on the fastball."

It was an eye-opening afternoon from San Diego's eight-hole hitter, who entered the game batting .233 with nine RBI in 73 at-bats.

"Every time you have an opportunity to get in there and produce, you have to take advantage of that so you can have some more opportunities to help the team," Amarista said. "I'm happy for the day I had."

It was that kind of day for the Padres, who peppered Orioles pitching for 17 hits, chasing Baltimore starter Freddy Garcia (0-2) from the game early and getting production from the entire lineup. Every Padres starter got a hit, and San Diego equaled their season-high total, set April 30 against the Chicago Cubs.

"I threw 75 pitches in 3 2/3 (innings), that's a lot," Garcia said. "In the second inning, I had two outs ... (they) hit the ball and got a base hit. In the fourth, I need to pitch better. I need to be ahead of the count, pitch better. I was behind in the count all day long."

The Orioles were swept for the first time this year despite the efforts of Manny Machado, who went 4 for 5 with a career-high three doubles, and J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters, who each had solo home runs.

Baltimore was able to get San Diego starter Jason Marquis (5-2) in trouble for most of his five-plus innings, but aside from the solo shots, Marquis escaped further damage as the Orioles left 10 men on base.

The bottom part of the Padres' lineup nicked Garcia early, with Jedd Gyorko's single and Amarista's ground-rule double setting the stage for light-hitting catcher John Baker, who entered the game with just three hits this season and in the midst of an 0-for-19 skid. But Baker served a single into short right to give San Diego a 2-0 advantage.

"On a day like today when Baker, Amarista and (Kyle) Blanks get in the lineup, those guys want to be a part of the contribution and today they were. You have to use your whole roster," Black said. "Those guys today did a nice job."

Baltimore answered in the bottom of the second when Hardy jumped all over a 2-0 pitch from Marquis and deposited it into the second row in left for his seventh homer of the season to close the gap to 2-1.

Blanks, a seldom-used outfielder, crushed the first pitch he saw in the fourth deep over the wall in left to extend the Padres' lead to 3-1. Before the inning was over, San Diego had knocked the erratic Garcia from the game after adding another run.

"He was not quite as crisp. He wasn't the only one," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We just didn't pitch well today. It wasn't just Freddy. They hit a lot of balls hard, too. They came in here and swung the bats well."

NOTES: Garcia's start was the 347th of his career, the 10th most among active pitchers. Marquis is 20th after his 297th start. ... Since the fifth inning of San Diego's April 30 game against Chicago, the Padres have scored 36 runs with two outs. ... Cabrera's steal in the second inning was the Padres' 29th of the season, tying them for second in the majors with Baltimore and Toronto. ... San Diego returns home Thursday to start a three-game series with Washington, and Baltimore has an off day before Tampa Bay comes to town for a weekend set.
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