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SD@ARI: Ludwick blasts a two-run tater to left

PHOENIX -- The Padres' offensive awakening has gone from intriguing to historic.

Ryan Ludwick homered and drove in three runs and Jason Bartlett had an RBI for the eighth consecutive game on Monday, as San Diego leveled Arizona, 8-4, to continue its bat-fueled surge.

The latest beneficiary of what has become a daily outburst was Clayton Richard. The left-hander shook off a pair of solo homers by Henry Blanco to go 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and three runs, for his second win of the season.

Having watched the Padres flood the plate with 37 runs in their previous four games, Richard hoped the tap wouldn't be turned off when it was his turn in the five-man rotation.

"Seeing all that scoring, you want them to save some of it," Richard said. "But it continued great. When we're swinging the bats so well, it's a lot of fun."

Maintaining the pace for Richard, of course, meant the Padres scored at least seven runs for the fifth consecutive game -- tying a franchise record accomplished twice previously, most recently in the opening week of the 1996 season.

San Diego, winners of three straight and four of five, has a shot at reaching seven runs for a record sixth consecutive game in Tuesday night's finale of this two-game series and eight-game road trip. Only twice before in their 42-year annals have the Padres even hit five: In 1979 and in '96, both times in April.

No one witnessing their varied, opportunistic attack Monday night would rule out that possibility.

Ludwick, Bartlett and Cameron Maybin combined for seven RBIs as the Padres took advantage of some loose defense by Arizona to overwhelm Armando Galarraga.

Ludwick got in the last lick, a two-run homer in the fifth that gave him three home runs and 11 RBIs in five games since he ended an 0-for-21 drought.

"A lot of it has to do with how everyone's swinging good," Ludwick said of his spurt, which manager Bud Black attributed to him appearing "ready to hit from the first pitch of the at-bat."

"Seeing everyone around you hitting helps, that's the most important thing," Ludwick said. "Especially the way we were going the first couple weeks of the season."

Before Ludwick's punctuation, Bartlett drilled a two-run double in the second to stretch his streak of driving in runs to within one game of the club-record nine, shared by Sixto Lezcano (1982) and Steve Finley ('96). Bartlett has driven in 12 during the streak.

Even before that, Chase Headley essentially stole a run in the first inning, when the game's tone had not yet been set and the Padres up a run on Maybin's single. He was on third base with one out when Ludwick lifted a soft fly to shallow center. Headley tagged up, routinely.

"My intention was just to deke, see if the throw's off-line or something else crazy happened," Headley said.

When he saw left-fielder Gerardo Parra crowd, then cut in front of center fielder Chris Young -- both called for the ball, yet neither backed off -- Headley's intention changed. He saw Young make the catch, but also saw that having to avoid Parra might prevent him from making a strong, balanced throw.

"They almost collided, so I took off," Headley said, "and just kept going. I don't know if [Parra] threw off his timing, but he almost had to. To be a good baserunner, you have to anticipate and think ahead."

"Headley read the near-collision and went for it. It was a good job of baserunning," Black said.

The Padres lead the Major Leagues with 82 runs in 14 May games, a complete and stunning reversal from a quiet April during which they batted .211, averaged fewer than three runs per game and were shut out seven times.

San Diego's latest outbreak was at the expense of an Arizona pitching staff coming off a series in Los Angeles in which it allowed a total of five runs in three games. The D-backs had not allowed more than four runs in any of their previous 10 games.

The one difference Monday was that most of the output came early, with the Padres leading by five runs after two innings. They had been inflicting most of their recent damage after the sixth inning.

That variation was welcomed by Richard.

"Getting those early runs is just awesome," he said. "Of course, you can't change your approach. You still have to go out there and not want to give up any runs."

Richard kept to that mission pretty well, except for D-backs catcher Henry Blanco's solo shots in the third and fifth innings. Richard was picked up by Chad Qualls and Ernesto Frieri before Mike Adams came on to get the final five outs of what would be his second career save -- the other came in 2005.

In addition to the save, Adams got a big compliment. Arizona had already pushed across a run in the eighth and had two men on with two outs when D-backs manager Kirk Gibson sent Miguel Montero to the plate as a pinch-hitter -- for Blanco.

"That guy [Adams]," Gibson said, "he's unhittable for righties."

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