Friars ride offensive surge to victory

Friars ride offensive surge to victory

MIAMI - Early deficits had been a nagging problem for the Padres recently.

But after what they did against the Marlins on Friday, consider that trend reversed.

San Diego put up six runs in the second inning against opponent Chris Volstad, giving the Padres a 9-5 win in front of 14,402 at Land Shark Stadium to move them to 3-1 on their current six-game road trip.

The Padres cranked out 16 hits, had five players register multihit games, and four players tally at least two RBIs each.

Going into the series opener, the Padres had fallen behind by at least three runs in the first two innings in four of their previous five contests.

On Friday, though, they forced the Marlins to go into their bullpen with just two outs in the second inning. And after they pounded on Volstad -- a big-time prospect who turned heads after an impressive rookie season last year -- in the opening game of the series, Florida optioned the 22-year-old right-hander to Triple-A.

"To put a big number up there and get them into their bullpen, it's always nice when you can do that early in a series because it kind of puts the other team in a hole for the rest of the way," said outfielder Chase Headley, who checked into the game in the second inning after Kyle Blanks left with a reaggravated right foot injury, but still finished 3-for-4 with an RBI. "It's just a good way to start a series."

San Diego was swept at home the last time it played the Marlins and Volstad tossed seven innings of one-run ball in one of those games. But if the Friars bottled up that frustration, they uncorked it all in the top of the second, when they tied a single-inning season high in runs and hits (seven).

"It does help when you face a guy a second time," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I think we made him work a little bit. His command was maybe just off enough. It didn't look like he was wild, but we laid off some borderline pitches and had good at-bats."

Down, 1-0, going into that frame, Will Venable brought in a run with a single up the middle, Blanks blasted a two-run homer to straightaway center field -- though he got hurt rounding first base -- and Everth Cabrera and David Eckstein gave the Padres a four-run lead with RBI singles.

"Usually when someone's hitting, everybody's hitting," Blanks said. "We've been doing that a lot lately, everybody's been doing what they need to do in their spot. When we hit, I think we're just as good as anybody, can hang with anybody."

After back-to-back walks, and before Venable made it 6-1 with another RBI single, Volstad left the game with 54 pitches and just 1 2/3 nightmarish innings under his belt.

"I think early on today he couldn't get the breaking ball over, and when you do that to Major League hitters, they're sitting on one pitch, and you're going to get results like that," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Padres starter Kevin Correia finished giving up four runs on 11 hits through 6 2/3 innings but got his team-leading and career-high ninth win thanks to the early cushion. The 29-year-old right-hander left after giving up a two-out RBI double to Wes Helms in the seventh that cut his team's lead to 9-4.

The Padres' bullpen took care of it from there, giving up a run in the next 2 1/3 innings. But had Correia been able to retire Helms, it would've been his team-leading 17th quality start.

"That game was so long and hard, and then you get to that position, you're a pitch away from having a real good start," said Correia, who's 3-2 with a 3.58 ERA in his last seven starts. "But [the anger] goes away quick when you get the win."

Cabrera finished the game 2-for-6 with two RBIs and two runs scored, as he and Eckstein, the No. 2 hitter, combined to have a hand in eight of the team's nine runs.

But it was Cabrera's defense that was raved about once again. The 22-year-old shortstop -- who hasn't missed a start since being activated off the disabled list on July 19 -- made a glove toss to start a double play in the fifth, turned another slick one with the Marlins threatening in the ninth and ended the game by retrieving a grounder deep in the hole and throwing Jorge Cantu out at first base although his momentum was taking him to left field.

"I'm his biggest fan," said Correia. "He saved me so many pitches, especially on the double-play ball. He's getting up the middle making a glove flip, and instead of first and second and nobody out, it's nobody on two outs. That's like 30 pitches right there."

"We're seeing it almost nightly, something that he does on the field," Black said. "The plays in the field, the arm strength, the grand slam off [Francisco Rodriguez on Aug. 7]. He's playing very well."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.