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Focusing on fundamentals, Padres aim to stay hot

CINCINNATI -- Despite finding themselves ranked near the bottom of the Majors in runs scored going into their series against the Marlins last weekend, the Padres saw their bats come to life against Miami, scoring 24 runs on 36 hits their last three games. Collectively, San Diego batted .343 with five doubles, two triples, five home runs and 24 RBIs over that span.

Coming into the Marlins series, the Padres were hitting .214 in their first 36 games of the season.

Manager Bud Black said before Tuesday's series opener against the Reds at the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park that while the venue can impact an offense, the fundamentals are what drive success at the plate.

"If you have good at-bats anywhere, I think your offense will show the result," Black said. "We had very good at-bats over the weekend at Petco; we scored 24 runs in three games. … There's a guy on the mound every night who's trying to shut you down. If he pitches well, it doesn't matter where you're playing. We have the same guy trying to do it to their team, too. …

"Granted, there's maybe some fly balls that might not go out of other parks that go out here, but that's OK. We've gotta be able to hit them, too, if they're hitting them."

The recent offensive outburst has been a boon to a pitching staff that has performed well overall this season, but had little run support.

"It's been nice," said left-hander Eric Stults. "We've really kind of been firing on all cylinders in the last series against the Marlins. We pitched well and we hit well. And that's the key. We as a pitching staff have got to do our job, and our job is to go out there and try to put zeroes up every inning. And the hitting side of things, we don't have any control over that. … Our offense at the beginning of the year was struggling, but we all knew that it would turn around."

Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for
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