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Marlins-Padres Preview

AP - Sports

The San Diego Padres are the latest team to take advantage of the light-hitting Miami Marlins offense.

Jason Marquis takes the mound as San Diego seeks a fourth straight victory and a three-game sweep of visiting Miami on Wednesday afternoon.

The Padres (15-18) began the season 5-15 but have since won 10 of 13 since, outscoring the Marlins 10-1 in this series after Tuesday night's 5-1 win.

Will Venable homered, went 2 for 4 and drove in three runs after going 2 for his last 21. Chase Headley also had two hits and is batting .391 during a 12-game hitting streak for San Diego, which has won eight of nine at home.

Miami, meanwhile, has reverted to its low-scoring ways after hitting double digits for the only time this season in a 14-2 win at Philadelphia on Sunday. The Marlins (10-24), owners of the second-worst record in baseball and hitting an NL-worst .226, have scored two or fewer runs 21 times, and their 99 runs are the fewest in the majors.

No player who has appeared in more than nine games for Miami is hitting better than Placido Polanco's .256 average, which may bode well for Marquis, who has been stingy at times this season.

Aside from allowing seven runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-1 loss to Milwaukee on April 22, Marquis (3-2, 4.25 ERA) has been rather solid. He's allowed three earned runs or fewer in his other five starts, including giving up three in six innings of a 7-6 win over Arizona on Friday.

''Jason did his job,'' manager Bud Black said. ''He hung in there, battled and made some pitches. He's a veteran pitcher with moxie who knows how to work his way through a game.''

Marquis, however, may need to have better control moving forward. He walked a season-worst five Friday and has issued at least four free passes four times. He's walked only two, though, while going 1-1 with a 2.84 in his last three starts against the Marlins.

Miami's lack of offense has been especially difficult on its pitching staff, though Ricky Nolasco (2-3, 4.14) didn't have his best stuff in his most recent outing.

Miami has lost five of Nolasco's seven starts, including Friday when he allowed four runs and a season-worst eight hits - including three solo homers - in six innings of a 4-1 defeat at Philadelphia. He's received only 15 runs of support in 41 1-3 innings and two or fewer in each of Miami's losses when Nolasco starts.

''I thought Ricky did a nice job, kept us in the game,'' manager Mike Redmond said. "We've got to do a better job of putting some runs up. It's tough for our pitching when we're just scoring one run a night. We've got to find a way to put some crooked numbers on the scoreboard.''

The right-hander hasn't needed much help in his last four starts in San Diego, winning each of them while pitching at least into the seventh inning and posting a 1.82 ERA.

Some of the Padres have had success against Nolasco, though. Headley is 4 for 12 with a homer and Yonder Alonso is 3 for 5 with a homer run off the Miami hurler.

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