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Hot-hitting Venable guides Padres past D-backs

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- By preparing to hit the fastball, Will Venable discovered he can hit just about everything since the All-Star break.

One of the hottest hitters in the major leagues, Venable homered and drove in three runs Wednesday in San Diego's 5-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, helping the Padres avoid a three-game sweep.

"You get a little rhythm up there, and that takes the guesswork out of everything else," Venable said. "Getting ready for a fastball every pitch puts your eyes and your body in position to recognize what pitch is coming and take your swing."

Venable doubled home a run in a two-run first inning and hit his 20th homer of the season in the eighth, when the Padres scored three runs. Venable is tied for the major league lead with 39 hits in August and is hitting a major-league-high .385 since July 14.

"I don't like talking about what I'm doing," Venable said. "I'm here to help the team win. I'm just trying to get those 'W's.' Those are the numbers I care about."

Jesus Guzman had two singles and added his eighth homer of the season in the eighth inning, when the Padres broke open a 2-1 game with two homers and three runs off former teammate Heath Bell.

Padres rookie left-hander Robbie Erlin, who was recalled from Triple-A Tucson to make the start, gave up one run and six singles in six innings.

"When he's pitching well, the mix of his pitches is good, and that was the case today," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "The fastball at the top of the zone had some life and some carry to it. He got in and choked off a few right-handed swings, which I thought was great. His hand speed, his arm speed, was as good as I've seen it all year."

Erlin (2-2) walked two and struck out two after entering the game with a 7.15 ERA in six previous major league appearances, four starts.

"I just try to keep it simple," Erlin said. "Throw strikes with four pitches. It really just comes down to execution. Execution gets outs, and that's what I try to keep in mind. A simple thought."

Arizona shortstop Willie Bloomquist had three singles and an RBI after being activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, and Aaron Hill added two hits. Martin Prado, who had a single in four at-bats, also has 39 hits in August.

D-backs starter Wade Miley (9-9) gave up four hits and two runs in the first inning but allowed two hits and no runs over the rest of his seven-inning outing. He struck out five and walked one.

"I thought I made some pretty good pitches in the first," Miley said. "They did a pretty good job of putting some balls in play and hitting some balls hard. That's the way it goes."

Miley made his 18th quality start, tied for 10th in the National League. He has given up as many as four earned runs in only one of his 16 starts since May 31, and he is unbeaten in his past six starts.

"After the first inning, he made adjustments and started throwing his pitches better," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.

Chris Denorfia singled to left field and scored on Venable's double to center as the Padres took a 1-0 lead two batters into the game. Guzman's two-out single made it 2-0 two batters later.

NOTES: LF Carlos Quentin will be shut down for the rest of the season, the Padres announced, and he is expected to undergo surgery to clean out cartilage fragments from his right knee next week. "The hope here is to have it strong and ready to go, so I can go into spring training healthy and have the best chance of success for 2014," Quentin said. Quentin, hitting .275 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs, has not played since July 30. It was be his third knee surgery in about 18 months. ... Arizona optioned its Tuesday starter, LHP David Holmberg, to Double-A Mobile to make room on the roster for Bloomquist, who had been out since June 26. Holmberg gave up three runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings in an emergency start necessitated when RHP Trevor Cahill pitched four innings of relief in a 12-7, 18-inning victory at Philadelphia on Saturday. ... San Diego optioned RHP Brad Boxberger to Triple-A Tucson to make room on the roster for Erlin.
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