PHILADELPHIA -- With the rest of the Padres' bats mired in a series-long Philadelphia funk, the brightest spot on offense this week was a player who didn't crack San Diego's Opening Day roster.Alexi Amarista, recalled from Triple-A El Paso to replace an injured Yangervis Solarte on Sunday, started all four
PHILADELPHIA -- With the rest of the Padres' bats mired in a series-long Philadelphia funk, the brightest spot on offense this week was a player who didn't crack San Diego's Opening Day roster.
Alexi Amarista, recalled from Triple-A El Paso to replace an injured Yangervis Solarte on Sunday, started all four games against the Phillies and went 5-for-11. In Thursday's 3-0 loss, Amarista was the only Padres hitter to solve a dominant Vince Velasquez, who tossed a complete-game shutout with 16 strikeouts and no walks.
Amarista had two of the Padres' three hits against the flame-throwing right-hander -- a pair of line-drive singles. On multiple occasions, Amarista was able to lay off -- or foul off -- high fastballs from Velasquez, which has been anything but easy for hitters who have faced him early this season.
"That's always the mentality, to go up there and fight and make sure you're swinging at good pitches," Amarista said through a translator. "Battling at the plate is important."
Amarista also made a nice defensive play, backing up on a Maikel Franco grounder, before setting his feet and firing to first base to record the out in the sixth inning.
Even the only out he made -- a strikeout looking in the eighth -- came after a six-pitch battle with Velasquez, during which he fell behind 0-2 and ran the count full.
"He's been good," said Padres manager Andy Green. "He was really the only guy that was on the fastball today. We knew we were going to get a lot of fastballs today, and he was able to put the barrell on it -- put some good, aggressive swings against it. Nobody else was really on it."
The Padres' offensive struggles have been well documented through 10 games. They've been shut out five times and have managed just five runs in their seven games outside of hitter-friendly Coors Field. (Of course, they did score 32 runs in their three contests at Coors.)
The pitching, specifically the back-end of the rotation, has been a bright spot, and Andy Green was quick to credit the work of starter Drew Pomeranz on Thursday.
"If you get that from what technically is the back-end of our rotation, we're in really good shape throughout the year," said Green. "Our offense is going to come around. We're going to start scoring some more runs consistently."
Amarista, for one, agreed with that assessment. He thinks it's just a matter of time before the successes of Colorado repeat themselves.
"We're really going through some struggles, but it's early, and you have to give things time," Amarista said. "You can't rush. You have to have faith in the process and faith in what you're doing and not deviate from that. Things will play out."
AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.