SAN DIEGO (AP) – Bud Black knew it was gone. He also knew Marcell Ozuna had no idea where the ball was.
Eric Stults pitched one-run ball into the seventh inning and Will Venable hit an odd two-run homer and drove in three runs, leading the resurgent San Diego Padres to a 5-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.
In the second, Venable hit a fly that Marlins right fielder Ozuna treated as if it was a routine ball. That threw off Venable, who hesitated out of the box before jogging down the first base line. Ozuna threw up his hands and shook his head looking for the ball – it landed seven rows up in the right field porch.
“I followed the ball, and the ball and the outfielder were both in my sightlines,” Black said. “I knew right away that he (Ozuna) didn’t see it. I thought off the bat it was going to be a home run. I knew we were in pretty good shape when he had his hands in the air and didn’t see the ball.
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“So I knew one way or the other, it was going to be a good outcome there,” he said.
Venable’s homer gave the Padres a 3-0 lead.
“It felt really good,” Venable said of his swing. “I knew that I had hit it high, but I felt like I hit it pretty good. Then obviously I didn’t know he had lost the ball, I thought that was the play on it. Obviously disappointed that I didn’t hit it better at that point. Then Doc (first base coach Dave Roberts) was saying `He can’t see it, he can’t see it’ I start running and Jedd (Gyorko, who had singled to start the inning) took off and I saw it was in the seats.”
That was more than enough for Stults (3-2). He gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out four in 6 1-3 innings as the Padres won for the 10th time in 13 games. San Diego, which began the season 5-15 and has won eight of its last nine at Petco Park, improved to 15-18.
“I felt good, I think I tried to take advantage of them being a young and aggressive team,” said Stults. “We played some great defense behind us.”
The Marlins have lost five of seven and have the second worst record in baseball at 10-24. They also lost second baseman Chris Valaika, who broke his arm.
Valaika was injured when Yonder Alonso slid into him while stealing second in the ninth.
Valaika said that Padres doctors took X-rays and that he has a fractured left wrist that will certainly put him on the DL.
“I was just trying to get to the base as Alonso was stealing second,” Valaika said. “I just got my hand in there and it got kind of bent back a little hyperextended. I knew right away something didn’t feel right.”
The Padres touched up Miami starter Alex Sanabia (2-5) for four runs in the first two innings. Sanabia, who is from the San Diego area of Chula Vista, left the game with one out in the fifth with right groin tightness and will be reevaluated Wednesday.
“It’s nothing serious, just tightness,” Sanabia said. “We did a couple of tests and everything was smooth and felt fine. I should be good to go for my next start.”
In the first, Cabrera walked, moved to third on a single by Chase Headley and scored on a sacrifice fly by Alonso, who also had two singles and stole a base.
Everth Cabrera drove in Alexi Amarista, who had doubled, with the third run of the second inning.
Alonso scored the final run a grounder by Venable.
The Marlins scored in the fourth on a leadoff double by Matt Diaz and a two out single by Ozuna.
Dale Thayer, Luke Gregerson and Anthony Bass pitched scoreless ball in relief of Stults.
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