Padres beats D'backs 4-1 for sixth straight win

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By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Kyle Blanks was on his way back to the minor leagues ten days ago. Now it appears he'll be sticking around for a while.

Blanks hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, snapping a 1-1 tie and lifting San Diego to a season-high sixth straight win, 4-1 over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Blanks' eighth home run of the season and second in two days came off reliever David Hernandez (2-4) and made a winner out of Clayton Richard (2-5), giving the Padres a three-game sweep.

"Any situation is big but to produce late in the game makes it that much better," said Blanks.

Blanks has hit safely in 11 of his last 15 games, batting .321 during that span.

"There is no secret. I've been just trying to stay consistent ... really focusing on trying to get good swings and putting those good swings on good pitches and typically good things happen when you do that."

Ten days ago Blanks had been assigned to Triple-A Tucson but made a quick U-turn when injuries befell first baseman Yonder Alonso and outfielder Cameron Maybin.

"He's got raw power, he's a big man with legitimate power that plays in the big leagues," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He's taken this opportunity of regular play and really playing well whether in the outfield or at first base. He's responding. He's making a statement."

Richard went a season-high eight innings, allowing one run on seven hits. He walked none and struck out one as he improved to 7-1 in 10 career starts against the Diamondbacks. It was his first win as a starter since Sept. 20. 2012, ending a streak of seven consecutive losing decisions.

"For the most part my fast ball was down in the zone," said Richard, "and that's big for me."

Huston Street came on in the ninth to pick up his 13th save in 14 opportunities for the Padres (35-34), who moved above 500. for the first time since closing the 2010 season with a 90-72 record.

The Padres have gone 30-19 since April 24th, are 21-7 in their last 28 home games and have pulled within two games of first-place Arizona in the NL West.

Blanks had gone 0 for 3 against Arizona starter Ian Kennedy before launching a hanging breaking ball from Hernandez.

Kennedy, who is appealing a 10-game suspension for his part in a the team's recent brawl with the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitched six innings, giving up one run on four hits with six strikeouts and a walk.

Kennedy also had a pair of singles and drove in the Diamondbacks' first run in the top of the third with a single to center that scored Cliff Pennington, who had doubled and stole third.

In the bottom of the third, the Padres' Will Venable hit his ninth home run of the season, a 429-foot blast to right-center off Kennedy.

It stayed that way until the eighth. Everth Cabrera opened the inning with his third single of the game and Chase Headley walked with two outs before Blanks hit a 1-2 pitch 379 feet into the left-field bleachers.

That gave Richard's his first win as a starter this season. He had a relief win earlier in the season.

"Clayton threw the ball well, look at the results," said Black. "I thought he had good command of his fastball, especially down in the strike zone. And he utilized his two-seam fastball with 89 to 90 velocity and got the good sliders and good sinking fastball."

One of his best pitches was a slider on which he got Paul Goldschmidt, the NL RBI leader, to ground into a double play with runners on first and third and one out in the sixth.

"We got outplayed in every aspect of the game in this series," said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson. "We scored six runs in three games. That's pretty telling right there. You have to give them credit. We have to redeem ourselves."

NOTES: Padres OF Carlos Quentin remained out of the starting lineup with an ailing left shoulder. Black said that team orthopedic surgeon Heinz Hoenecke would evaluate Quentin during a game. ... Padres INF Jedd Gyorko, currently on the DL with a groin strain, will travel with the team to San Francisco on Monday and according to Black will do some hitting on the field and take ground balls. Black is hopeful he'll resume normal baseball activities by the end of the week. ... Arizona INF Aaron Hill (broken left hand) went 1-for-4 with an RBI Saturday in a rehab assignment for Triple-A Reno. ... Gibson said INF Eric Chavez (strained oblique) is a few weeks away from returning. ... RHP Brandon McCarthy will resume light throwing activities Monday. McCarthy has been on the disabled list since June 1 with right shoulder inflammation. Gibson said McCarthy's shoulder "feels good." ... The Padres will send RHP Edinson Volquez (5-5, 5.87 ERA) to the mound Monday against Giants LHP Barry Zito (4-5, 4.79). ... Arizona heads home to face Miami with LHP Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.28) facing RHP Jacob Turner (1-0, 1.80).

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