Venable's fourth HR in seven games lifts Padres past Marlins

MIAMI, Fla. -- Will Venable felt he wasn't contributing enough for the San Diego Padres. Now, he's leading the way.

Venable hit a tiebreaking two-run home run in the eighth inning Sunday, and the San Diego Padres completed three-game sweep of the Florida Marlins with a 4-2 victory.

Venable, who also had a sacrifice fly, connected on a 2-2 pitch from Brian Sanches (0-1), driving the ball just inside the right-field pole for his eighth homer of the season and breaking a 2-all tie. It was his third tiebreaking homer since Wednesday night and fourth homer in seven games.

"Yesterday he struck me out with three straight splitties so I knew I had to be patient," Venable said. "He came with the splitties again and I was able to go deep enough in the count that he was forced to try something else and threw a fastball middle-in and I was able to get a good swing on it."

Venable had a two-run, go-ahead homer in the seventh Friday night for the Padres, who have won six of seven. He also broke a tie with a fifth-inning, two-run shot against Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

"I spent a lot of time not doing my job and not contributing so much offensively so it feels especially good just to do my job," said Venable, who went 45 games without a home run before his recent surge.

Ryan Webb (3-1) worked 1 1/3 innings in relief of Mat Latos for the win. Edward Mujica got two outs and Luke Gregerson earned his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth giving closer Heath Bell a day off.

"[The Marlins] have a lot of talent," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Our guys played every game very hard and focused."

The maligned Marlins bullpen had another poor outing. Florida has lost four in a row and is 1-4 since manager Fredi Gonzalez was fired.

"This is probably the lowest points of the season," Marlins third baseman Wes Helms said. "We're not playing good baseball. With all the changes, it could definitely affect us."

San Diego led 1-0 in the first as David Eckstein drew a walk and scored on a base hit to center field by Chase Headley.

The Padres added another run in the sixth after Adrian Gonzalez began the inning by reaching base on an error by second baseman Dan Uggla, who lost a pop fly in the sun. Headley walked and Yorvit Torrealba reached on an infield single to load the bases.

Venable hit a deep flyball to center field to score Gonzalez. All runners moved up a base. Chris Denorfia was intentionally walked to reload the bases again, but Everth Cabrera bounced an easy grounder to Anibal Sanchez who started a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Cody Ross doubled and Ronny Paulino walked with two outs in the sixth chasing Latos. Webb relieved Latos and immediately gave up a run-scoring single to Emilio Bonifacio to cut the Padres lead to 2-1.

Latos, who grew up 15 minutes from Sun Life Stadium, was 0-2 with a 16.50 ERA in his previous two outings in South Florida. He bounced back with a solid effort pitching 5 2/3 innings allowing one run, five hits, and four walks. He struck out five in front of over 20 friends and family members.

"I was relaxed," Latos said. "I just went about it the same way I did in Tampa, the same I would go about it at home in San Diego, and go about my business and get outs. It worked and I was pleased."

The Marlins tied it in the seventh on Jorge Cantu's RBI single. Webb got out of the inning with a double play, the Padres' third of the day.

"As you can see, they're leading the league in pitching and we got a taste of that," Marlins interim manager Edwin Rodriguez said "They come hard at you and they throw strikes."

Cantu and Bonifacio each had a pair of hits for the Marlins. Sanchez allowed two runs -- one earned -- in six innings.

"I don't know what's going to take to get us going. Something's got to spark and catch fire," Ross said.

Game notes
Marlins RF Mike Stanton got his first day off, one night after his catch in foul territory cost the Marlins a run. Marlins interim manager Edwin Rodriguez said the day off was a well-deserved break for the rookie. "Pitch recognition, so far, is his problem. But he'll be fine," Rodriguez said. ... San Diego led the NL West by 3 1/2 games starting the day. The Padres have only led their division by more than three games in six previous seasons, making the playoffs in five of those. ... Starting Monday, the Marlins play 13 straight games away from South Florida.