Heart of the order producing

Heart of the order producing

SAN DIEGO -- Sunday's 7-3 win over the Mets saw the Padres rip nine extra-base hits, the most they've recorded at Petco Park since its opening in 2004. Five of those hits came from the heart of the San Diego order -- Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso -- who have been producing like prototypical 3-5 hitters of late.

All three homered Sunday, and each drove in two runs. That's the kind of production the Padres thought might result from the addition of Quentin this offseason, though it hadn't come to consistent fruition thanks to some early-season struggles from Headley, Quentin's injury and the growing pains of rookie Alonso over the first few months.

But now Headley has homered in back-to-back games, Quentin is healthy and Alonso is settling in at the plate in a big way, emerging as the Major League rookie leader in doubles while hitting .390 over his last 10 games.

According to manager Bud Black, Headley's power surge and Alonso's improvement can be directly traced to the way they and Quentin complement each other in the middle of the lineup.

"Players are linked together based on what they can do. ... You don't want to pitch around Chase to get to 'Q', and I think Alonso does a nice job with the way he's swinging now to ensure that 'Q' gets his pitches, too," Black said. "They all make our lineup look a lot better than it did six weeks ago."