SAN DIEGO -- Chris Volstad did a great job of keeping trouble at arm's length.
The big Florida Marlins right-hander allowed six baserunners through the first three innings Tuesday night, and only one scored. He went on to pitch seven strong innings, leading the Marlins to a 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres."I thought he got stronger as the game went on," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "The first couple of innings he was struggling with his command and walking guys with two outs, but then he made an adjustment and started throwing his curveball over for strikes and his sinker got better, which is a good sign from a young pitcher, making an adjustment in the course of game."The 6-foot-8 Volstad (7-9) held the Padres to one run and four singles, with four walks and two strikeouts.He fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, walking leadoff batter Everth Cabrera and allowing Adrian Gonzalez's one-out, RBI single up the middle. The Padres got only two baserunners in scoring position the next six innings. Chase Headley walked leading off the second and advanced to third on Luis Rodriguez's two-out single but was stranded when starter Chad Gaudin grounded out."It took me a little bit to get in a groove," Volstad said. "I fell behind but I was able to make the pitches when I needed to, which is what it comes down to. My changeup was real big for me today, with all the lefties in their lineup."The Padres had only five singles until rookie Kyle Blanks hit Leo Nunez's first pitch of the ninth inning an estimated 417 feet into the second deck in left-center field for his first major league homer.Hanley Ramirez had three of Florida's 12 hits.The Padres, who have the second-worst record in the NL, dropped to 12-32 since June 1, the worst in the majors in that stretch.San Diego is 1-5 on this homestand against Colorado and Florida. The visitors have combined for 28 runs and 52 hits to only 12 runs and 39 hits for the Padres."Altogether, we're not winning," Gaudin said. "It's not about individuals, it's about the team not winning. We've been battling a lot of injuries. A lot of our key guys are out. We are just trying to pick up the pieces and keep it going. You have to stay positive."Blanks has struggled at the plate since being called up from Triple-A on June 19, so the homer was a relief."Finally, it came to pass," he said. "There's a different feeling. Nothing really like it. It's nice to know it's out of the way and to kind of get that muscle memory to see what it feels like again."Blanks is hitting .167 with one homer and five RBIs in 54 at-bats.Nunez earned his sixth save in nine chances. San Diego's Will Venable had a pinch-hit single to center with two outs and stole second before Cabrera grounded out to end it.Florida tied it at 1 in the second against Gaudin when Dan Uggla walked and scored on John Baker's double down the left-field line. The Marlins went ahead in the third on Jorge Cantu's RBI single, then added Jeremy Hermida's sacrifice fly in the fifth.Gaudin (4-9) allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked two.
Padres RF Brian Giles, on the DL since June 19 with a bruised right knee, said he will probably hit in the cage next week. ... San Diego 2B David Eckstein, on the DL since July 6 with a strained right hamstring, went full out during batting practice and thinks he could be activated this weekend when the Padres are at Washington. "Everything's going, as they say, as planned," Eckstein said. ... The Marlins recalled INF Gaby Sanchez from Triple-A New Orleans. He takes the roster spot of starter Andrew Miller, who was optioned to New Orleans after Monday night's win. Sanchez appeared in five games with Florida last season. He was hitting .284 with nine home runs and 39 RBIs with New Orleans.