The San Diego Padres' offense hit a low point during their recent four-game losing streak, but it has bounced back while pulling off some late-inning dramatics in the last two contests.
San Diego especially has struggled to score when Robbie Erlin pitches, and he'll take the mound Tuesday night against the visiting Kansas City Royals as the Padres seek to win three straight for the first time this season.
After being shut out twice and totaling five runs during its skid, San Diego (15-18) scored in the bottom of the ninth to beat Arizona 4-3 on Sunday before Will Venable's two-run single in the bottom of the 12th gave it a 6-5 win in Monday's series opener.
Yasmani Grandal's three-run homer in the sixth tied the game, and Jedd Gyorko's solo shot with one out in the ninth sent it to extra innings.
The Padres entered this series last in the majors in batting average, runs and hits while ranking just above Kansas City in home runs.
Erlin (1-4, 5.83 ERA) has felt the brunt of San Diego's offensive struggles, receiving a total of six runs of support in his five starts and none in the last two. He's lost four straight outings, but he was effective Wednesday while giving up three runs and striking out five in 6 2-3 innings of a 3-2 loss to San Francisco.
Still, the left-hander knows he needs to be better - with or without the run support.
''Definitely not satisfied,'' Erlin said. ''The most important thing is winning, and I didn't give the team a chance to do that. But it's a step in the right direction compared to the last couple outings.''
The 23-year-old Erlin has never faced the Royals (14-17), who have lost a season-high five straight after leaving 11 men on base Monday. Eric Hosmer went 3 for 6 with three RBIs, including a seventh-inning solo shot that helped Kansas City regain the lead.
Salvador Perez had three hits to snap a 1-for-12 slump over his previous four.
Kansas City has lost seven straight meetings with the Padres since 2004 - all in San Diego - and will look to get back on track as it sends Jeremy Guthrie to the mound in this contest.
Guthrie (2-2, 4.50) allowed four runs for the fourth time in six starts Thursday, also giving up eight hits through six innings of a 7-3 loss to Toronto. His seven homers surrendered are tied for second-most in the majors after giving up two to the Blue Jays.
The right-hander tossed the ball into the upper deck in frustration after his final inning ended, not worrying about any backlash he might receive.
''I'm more concerned about the repercussions about a couple of home runs again,'' Guthrie said.
Guthrie is 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance against the Padres, who recalled Kyle Blanks from the minors prior to the series opener in an attempt to spark the offense.
Blanks, who hit nine homers in 83 at-bats for Triple-A El Paso, went 0 for 2 with two strikeouts in his season debut.
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