PHOENIX -- The San Diego Padres remain last in the National League in runs, batting average, OPS and other offensive statistical categories, but they have been making steady progress since the All-Star break.
They have scored 140 runs in their last 32 games, trailing only Pittsburgh (149), Washington and Pittsburgh in the NL. The Padres' average of 4.38 runs per game in that time frame leads the league and trails only Oakland and Houston in the majors.
The offensive surge is reflected in their record. The Padres are 18-14 since the break, the fourth-best record in the league behind Washington and Miami.
"I think it is more a progression to the mean, a little bit of roster change, and better at-bats," San Diego manager Bud Black said of his team's offensive surge.
"We were having a number of at-bats earlier in the year that resulted in a little bit of tough luck. We had some at-bats that weren't very good. I think it was just a matter of time until we turned some things around and things we starting to go our way."
Outfielder Will Venable is hitting .292 since the second week of July, and second baseman Jedd Gyorko is hitting .291 in the last 23 games. Outfielder Abraham Almonte, acquired from Seattle for outfielder Chris Denorfia on Aug. 1, is hitting .306 with the Padres.
Right fielder Seth Smith, the most productive Padre this season, leads the team with a .293 batting average, 26 doubles, five triples and 12 home runs. Smith is hitting .331 since the start of July.
"Seth Smith has remained a guy who has been so steady, but everybody else was really below their career numbers," Black said.
Third baseman Yangeris Solarte had two singles Friday and is hitting .272 since being acquired from the Yankees for third baseman Chase Headley.
STREAK: Lost two
NEXT: Padres (RHP Andrew Cashner, 2-6, 2.36 ERA) at Diamondbacks (LHP Vidal Nuno, 0-3, 3.72)
--RHP Odrisamer Despaigne gave up four runs (three earned) in five innings Friday, when he was done in by a two-run homer by Miguel Montero that capped a three-run first inning in a 5-1 loss at Arizona. "The pitch to Montero was a good pitch," Despaigne said through an interpreter. "He is just a good hitter. It was a changeup low and he made a good swing and hit it out of the park. I feel like I would win eight out of 10 (games) the way I threw today."
--RHP Andrew Cashner's start on Saturday will be his first for the Padres since June 18, when he gave up one run in seven innings against Seattle. Cashner was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder soreness on June 23 and has made three rehab appearances in the last two weeks, one for Class A Lake Elsinore and two for Triple-A Reno. "He is in a good frame of mind physically and mentally," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "He's chomping at the bit to go. He's ready. He's antsy." Cashner, 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA in 9 2/3 rehab innings, could be expected to throw five or six innings, depending on pitch count, Black said.
--RHP Joaquin Benoit has not pitched since Tuesday because of shoulder soreness, but manager Bud Black said it appears Benoit will avoid a trip to the disabled list. "He's doing better," Black said. "We think he's turned the corner on this. ... We think he might be ready to go (Saturday)." Benoit has been used as the Padres' closer since RHP Huston Street was traded to Oakland.
--With CF Cameron Maybin reinstated to the roster, OF Abraham Almonte is likely to see more time in left field than in other spots. "One of the first things I asked him was where does he feel most comfortable, and he said it doesn't matter," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "If Cam and Abe are in the same lineup, I think you'll see Cam in center and Abe in left." OF Will Venable started in center on Friday.
--RHP Tyson Ross has made 12 consecutive quality starts after giving up two runs in eight innings of a 2-1 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday, the longest streak in franchise history.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The story was their guy. We couldn't solve him. He pitched a good game and we couldn't square any balls up. It is a sneaky fastball from a little different arm slot. It is coming down from an angle that is a little deceptive, and he has the good change." -- San Diego manager Bud Black, after Arizona RHP Josh Collmenter gave up four singles in 8 1/3 innings in the Diamondbacks' 5-1 victory Friday.
--RHP Joaquin Benoit (minor right shoulder irritation) did not pitch Aug. 21, and he might be held out Aug. 22, too.
--1B Yonder Alonso (torn right forearm tendon) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 13. He will miss the rest of the season, and he might need surgery.
--SS Everth Cabrera (strained left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 10. A separate left hamstring injury sidelined him for 21 games earlier this season.
--RHP Andrew Cashner (right shoulder soreness) went on the 15-day disabled list June 23. He started a throwing program July 4. He threw bullpen sessions July 27 and July 30. He made a rehab start for Class A Lake Elsinore on Aug. 8. He started for Triple-A El Paso on Aug. 13 and Aug. 18, and he is expected to be activated Aug. 23 to start at Arizona.
--LF Carlos Quentin (left knee soreness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 27.
--RHP Casey Kelly (Tommy John surgery in April 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 23. He made rehab appearances for Class A Lake Elsinore on May 3 and May 8, then pitched for Double-A San Antonio on May 14 and May 19. He reported soreness after the May 19 start and was shut down.
--LHP Troy Patton (strained left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list June 14, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 2. Team doctors and Dr. James Andrews prescribed rest instead of surgery.
--RHP Josh Johnson (sore flexor pronator muscles in right forearm) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 25. He underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery April 24.
--LHP Cory Luebke (Tommy John surgery in February 2014) went on the 60-day disabled list March 7. He will miss the entire season. He has resumed playing catch.
RHP Ian Kennedy
RHP Tyson Ross
LHP Eric Stults
RHP Odrisamer Despaigne
RHP Joaquin Benoit (closer)
LHP Alex Torres
RHP Dale Thayer
RHP Kevin Quackenbush
RHP Blaine Boyer
RHP Nick Vincent
RHP Tim Stauffer
LHP Frank Garces
1B Tommy Medica
2B Jedd Gyorko
SS Alexi Amarista
3B Yangervis Solarte
INF Chris Nelson
INF/OF Jake Goebbert
LF Seth Smith
CF Abraham Almonte
RF Rymer Liriano
OF Will Venable
OF Cameron Maybin
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