Blanks' blast carries Padres past D-backs

Forrest Lee, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


SAN DIEGO -- Kyle Blanks was 10 minutes from returning to Triple-A Tucson about a week ago, but a late call from the San Diego Padres changed his itinerary.
"I think any opportunity is the same. It's just how you make the most of it," Blanks said.
Blanks made the most of his final at-bat Sunday, delivering a tiebreaking, three-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning as the Padres defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1 at Petco Park.
"Any situation like that and being able to produce is big," said Blanks, who homered for the second consecutive day, giving him eight on the season. "Just the fact that it was late made it that much better."
Blanks drilled a 1-2 pitch off reliever David Hernandez (2-4) into the second deck of the Western Metal Supply building in left, allowing the Padres to sweep the three-game series.
"We got outplayed in every aspect of the game," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We scored six runs in three games. That's pretty sad. We have to redeem ourselves. They put a lot of pressure on us, and we couldn't overcome it."
The win pulled the Padres (35-34), who have won a season-high six in a row, to within two games of the first-place Diamondbacks (37-32) in the National League West.
Blanks, who started the season at Triple-A, got a reprieve on his trip back to the minors when Yonder Alonso was forced to the disabled list with an injured right hand. Blanks was immediately summoned to Colorado, where the Padres were playing a three-game series. He hasn't looked back, hitting in 11 of the past 15 games and batting .321 in June. Seven of his past 11 hits have gone for extra bases.
Clayton Richard (2-5) gave up a run on seven hits in seven innings for the victory as San Diego captured its ninth win in 11 games. Huston Street gave up a double to Miguel Montero before retiring Cody Ross and recording his second save in as many days and his 13th of the season.
"It's a lot of fun to win baseball games," said Richard, who earned his first win as a starter since Sept. 20, 2012, snapping a string of seven straight losing decisions in a starting role. "We're doing that right now. Things are going the way we want. We just have to keep on playing the good fundamental baseball we've done the past couple of weeks, and it will be a lot more fun."
Arizona starter Ian Kennedy pitched for the first time since Tuesday's bench-clearing brawl in Dodger Stadium. He subsequently received a 10-game suspension for his role in the melee, but he is pitching with an appeal pending. As he did against the Dodgers before chaos broke out, Kennedy pitched well against the Padres, but he didn't figure in the decision. Kennedy worked six innings, allowing a run on four hits with six strikeouts and a walk.
"I felt good throwing the ball," Kennedy said. "They are a tough team. They foul balls off and have long at-bats, no matter who they are. They are a good team. You have to give them credit for what they did the whole series."
Kennedy went 2-for-2 at the plate against Richard, including an RBI single to center that gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead with one out in the third. However, Arizona failed to score again.
Leading off the bottom of the third, Will Venable tied the score with a solo shot to right-center, estimated at 429 feet. Venable's nine home runs are tops on the Padres, with eight of them coming at Petco.
The score remained 1-1 until Blanks delivered his game-winning home run.
NOTES: Padres SS Everth Cabrera tweaked a hamstring late in Sunday's contest, though manager Bud Black wasn't sure of the extent of it. Black said the club would know more by Monday. ... San Diego LF Carlos Quentin missed his second game in a row with a sore left shoulder. Black said that the team's orthopedic surgeon would evaluate Quentin, who injured himself taking a swing Friday night, and determine when he would return. ... Diamondbacks 2B Aaron Hill went 1-for-4 with an RBI in his first rehab start with Triple-A Reno on Saturday night. ... Padres 2B Jedd Gyorko will take part in some fielding and hitting drills this week when the club is in San Francisco for a three-game series with the Giants, which starts Monday. Gyorko went on the 15-day disabled list June 10 with a strained right groin. ... The Diamondbacks return home for a three-game set with the Miami Marlins. ... Sunday's game drew a crowd of 27,943.

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