Headley's 2 HRs, 4 RBIs lead Padres to 6-5 win

BERNIE WILSON (AP Sports Writer)

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A hot August has segued nicely into September for San Diego slugger Chase Headley.

The third baseman drove in four runs on two home runs, including a solo shot leading off the eighth inning that lifted the Padres to their seventh straight victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-5 on Friday night.

Headley hit a three-run homer while batting right-handed in the third inning and then hit the go-ahead homer batting left-handed.

Headley is seeing the ball well from both sides of the plate.

''That's s a constant battle for a switch-hitter,'' Headley said. ''Usually you don't feel good from both sides of the plate. It's usually one side and odds are you're going to face the side that you don't feel very good at - usually. To have both swings going pretty well, it's kind of a rare thing but it's definitely nice.''

Coming off an August in which he had 10 homers and 31 RBIs to win NL Player of the Month honors, Headley extended his career highs to 26 home runs and 98 RBIs. He has four homers and 15 RBIs in six September games.

After the Diamondbacks rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie the game in the eighth, Headley opened the bottom of the inning with a shot to straightaway center field on a 3-1 pitch from David Hernandez (2-3).

Headley said he was over-aggressive when he fouled off the previous pitch.

''I wanted to do some damage with the pitch and kind of over swung,'' he said.'' It was nice to be able to step out and kind of re-think my approach at the plate and tell myself to not over swing and go up and execute after that. That was a good feeling.''

Hernandez said he didn't want to walk Headley.

''He's swinging the bat really well,'' Hernandez said. ''If he can hit it out to that part of the field, I'll give him that all day. We know he's probably their guy who can hit it out wherever, whatever, off of whomever. I wish I would have pitched him a little bit differently. I would have settled for a leadoff walk and go from there.''

It was Headley's fourth career multi-homer game, all coming this year. It was his 14th game this season with three or more RBIs, the most in his career and the most by any major leaguer this season.

''Headley's on fire,'' Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ''We know that. You just have to make good pitches. If you don't make good pitches, he's going to pound you like he did tonight.''

In the third, Headley drove a 2-2 pitch from rookie Tyler Skaggs off the side of the 10-foot paint can that sits between the Western Metal Supply Co. building and the stands in left field to give the Padres the 5-0 lead. If a player homers into the can, Frazee Paint will donate $500,000 to the Padres Foundation.

''Dang. That would have been really cool,'' Headley said.

The defending NL West champion Diamondbacks entered the night 6 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild card. Arizona has been outscored 48-25 in their seven straight losses to San Diego.

The Padres have won three straight and 13 of 17.

Brad Brach (2-4) got the final out of the eighth for the win. Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth for his fifth save in nine chances.

Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run double for the Padres in the first inning.

The Diamondbacks began their comeback when Tyler Wheeler's long fly ball to right field in the fifth went for a two-run double when Chris Denorfia missed making the catch against the wall. That brought in Miguel Montero and Chris Johnson, who opened the inning with singles off Cashner.

Wheeler added an RBI double in seventh to bring in Montero with an unearned run. Montero struck out leading off the inning but reached after the ball got away from catcher Grandal.

Arizona tied it in the eighth when Montero hit a two-run double off Tommy Layne, the third of four Padres relievers that inning.

San Diego's Andrew Cashner returned to the rotation after spending nearly two months on the disabled list with a strained right lat. He allowed two runs and four hits in five innings, struck out five and walked none.

Skaggs, making his fourth big league start, went only three innings, allowing five runs and five hits. He struck out five and walked one.

Notes: Arizona's Tyler Graham made his big league debut with a pinch-running appearance in the ninth. ... Cashner was making his fourth start of the season and first-ever at Petco Park. ... The series continues Saturday night when LHP Wade Miley (14-9, 2.90 ERA) is scheduled to start opposite San Diego's Casey Kelly (1-0, 3.86), who is scheduled to make his third big league start.

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