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07/08/10 7:32 PM ET

Adrian clicking again at the dish

Padres slugger enjoying strong series in Washington

WASHINGTON -- After a short period of struggling at the plate, Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez has again found his rhythm.

In the six games leading up to the Padres' series against the Nationals, Gonzalez generated only one hit and two RBIs. But through two games in Washington this week, he has six hits, three runs and three RBIs. During that span, he raised his batting average from .291 to .302.

Gonzalez was most potent in the Padres' 7-6 loss to the Nationals on Thursday. He batted 4-for-5 and finished a triple shy of the cycle.

Manager Bud Black said it was nothing more than a tough stretch of games.

"He had a very good June," Black said. "At one point, he was batting in the .250s and now he is close to .300. He's been swinging the bat well."

Aside from his .302 batting average, Gonzalez had 17 home runs, 54 RBIs and 46 runs entering Thursday.

Gwynn sits out with bruised left heel

WASHINGTON -- Tony Gwynn was not in the starting lineup for the Padres on Thursday because of a bruised left heel suffered Wednesday against the Nationals.

In the third inning of San Diego's 7-6 loss to Washington, Adam Dunn crushed a home run -- his second of three on the night -- to left-center field. After an attempt to grab the baseball over the wall, Gwynn landed awkwardly and suffered the injury.

Padres manager Bud Black does not believe the injury to be serious and said its possible Gwynn could pinch-hit Thursday in the series finale.

"He's better," Black said. "We're going to watch him move around here. His indication to me was that it felt much better. So we're going to watch him during batting practice and see if he will be available tonight, which we think he will. That will be more of a game-time decision."

Black confident about second half

WASHINGTON -- Padres manager Bud Black was asked about why his team would succeed in the second half of the season. His response? Consistency.

"The consistency has sort of been a benchmark of this team," Black said. "Right now we have -- with the exception of a couple of guys on the disabled list -- the best players in the organization. The starting rotation has been extremely steady.

"The bullpen has remained extremely steady. I do think our batting averages, individually, will climb in the second half."

The Padres have only lost three consecutive games once this season once, May 14-16 against the Dodgers. Much of that success is due to one of the top pitching staffs in the Majors.

San Diego's 3.14 ERA -- between its starters and relievers -- is the best in baseball. Three of its relievers also have an ERA under 2.00.

Greg Rosenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.