PHOENIX -- On Saturday, Padres right fielder Ryan Ludwick had his first extra-base hit and RBI since joining the team.
Ludwick, acquired from the Cardinals on July 31 at the Trade Deadline, is hoping it's a sign of big things to come.
"I'm still having pretty inconsistent at-bats," Ludwick said after going 1-for-5 with a double and RBI in Saturday's 6-5 loss to the Diamondbacks.
Since the trade, Ludwick is hitting .208 in 24 at-bats. He has seven strikeouts and three walks in that seven-game stretch.
Ludwick put a charge into a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs Saturday, but Arizona center fielder Chris Young flagged it down close to the wall -- which is 413 feet from home plate.
"I need to start putting more at-bats like that together," Ludwick said.
Venable's power, speed in elite company
PHOENIX -- When Padres outfielder Will Venable slugged a home run Friday, it gave him 10 for season, which when coupled with his career-best 19 stolen bases, placed him in some elite company.
Venable is one of eight players in the Major Leagues this season to have at least 10 home runs and 19 stolen bases.
The others are Chris Young (D-backs), Hanley Ramirez (Marlins), Carl Crawford (Rays), Alex Rios (White Sox), B.J. Upton (Rays), Andres Torres (Giants) and Shane Victorino (Phillies).
"They're equally important," Venable said of the power and speed he brings to the Padres' lineup. "I was talking to [teammate Tony Gwynn] the other night, and we're not players who are going to be in the top five in any one category.
"But we can do a lot of things well: running bases, hitting home runs and just trying to do everything better and not just focusing on one thing. That's how you're going to stick around in this league."
Venable estimates that at least six of his stolen bases this season have come as the result of delayed steals, something that's not nearly as prevalent as it once was.
"Home runs are great, but they're going to happen when they happen. But stolen bases are just as important," Venable said.
Padres not panicking as race tightens
PHOENIX -- The Padres went into Sunday's game against Arizona with a 3-6 record over their past nine games and with the second-place San Francisco Giants seemingly drawing closer in the standings each day.
To this, Padres closer Heath Bell said, so what?
"Everyone is handling it fine," Bell said of the Padres' recent funk that has seen them drop six of their past nine games. "I don't think we're not playing well.
"I think that we are still playing solid baseball and we've done that all year. There's some other teams right now who are hot. Everyone gets hot."
Over this nine-game stretch, the Padres have a .219 team batting average and a 4.32 ERA -- more than a run higher than their overall mark (3.30) this season.
"No one here is panicking," Bell said. "This is the time of the year where the older guys show the younger guys that this is no time to panic."
The Padres went into Sunday's game with a one-game lead in the National League West over the Giants.
The Padres started the season 3-6 and dropped six of eight games between May 14-21.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.