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07/22/09 2:50 AM ET
Blanks nails first homer as Friars fall
Gaudin delivers quality start, but July woes continue
By Amy Brittain / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Padres pitcher Chad Gaudin couldn't nail down exactly what wasn't right with his performance on Tuesday, instead pausing for several seconds to formulate the right words. "I didn't have great stuff," he said. "I was average." Gaudin wasn't bad by any means. He allowed three runs on nine hits in six innings for a quality start. He struck out three and walked only two, controlling what had been his Achilles' heel. But the word "average" summed up just about every aspect of the Padres' 3-2 loss to the Marlins on Tuesday at PETCO Park. The loss, which puts Marlins on track for a series sweep on Wednesday, drops the Padres to 3-14 in July. They have not won a series since late June, when they took two of three against the Rangers. "All together, we're not winning," Gaudin said. "It's not about individuals." San Diego got out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI single to center field to score rookie Everth Cabrera. Cabrera turned in several impressive defensive plays at shortstop, including two diving stops, in a performance that manager Bud Black has come to expect from the youngster. "He's an energetic player," Black said. "He keeps getting better and better. He's absorbing so much. There are good things to come." Rookie Kyle Blanks, hyped as a power-hitter out of Triple-A ball, smashed his first Major League home run 417 feet to left field in the ninth inning. The leadoff homer, which came on the first pitch from Marlins closer Leo Nunez, brought the Padres within one run. Nunez then retired Luis Rodriguez and pinch-hitter Oscar Salazar. Pinch-hitter Will Venable, also a rookie, put the tying run on base when he singled to shallow center field. Venable stole second, but Cabrera grounded out to end the game. Black said he was glad to see Blanks, who is hitting .167 in 54 at-bats this season, get the big hit. "I'm sure it's a weight off his shoulders," Black said. "It's a type of thing you try not to thing about, but you do." Blanks said the feeling of a home run swing put the "muscle memory" back in place. "It's been in the back of my mind," he said. "What am I doing? What do I need to do?" Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn said he recalls what it's like to feel the pressure to deliver when first called up to the Major Leagues. "I can relate," he said. "It's a good feeling. It's tough for a guy to be good right out of the gate." The Padres lost their early lead when John Baker doubled to left field to score Dan Uggla in the second inning. Jorge Cantu singled in the third inning to drive in Chris Coghlan for the go-ahead run. "[Gaudin] was throwing well the whole game," Cantu said. "We just got a hit here and there and got away with it. But he was pitching a nice game." In the end, a few scattered hits were enough to put away the Padres. Marlins starting pitcher Chris Volstad (7-9) limited the run support for Gaudin by allowing one run on four hits in seven innings of work.
Amy Brittain is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.