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Padres' 10-game homestand offers opportunities

Notes on Pirela, Strahm
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres open a 10-game homestand on the afternoon of Memorial Day hoping to gain ground on two fronts.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres open a 10-game homestand on the afternoon of Memorial Day hoping to gain ground on two fronts.

Despite losing two of three games to the Dodgers in Los Angeles over the weekend, the Padres were 5-5 on a 10-game road trip to improve to 22-32. The Padres are only 6 1/2 games off the lead in the National League West at the one-third mark of the season.

And they open the homestand with seven straight games against the only two teams in the National League with worse records -- the first four against the 19-33 Miami Marlins and the next three against 19-35 Cincinnati Reds. After 54 games, the Padres have played only two teams with losing records -- San Francisco and the Dodgers.

However, the Padres are only 9-17 at Petco Park this season while going 13-15 away from San Diego -- totals that include the Padres winning two of three from the Dodgers in Mexico that were considered Padres home games.

NOTEBOOK:

Jose Pirela was 3-for-4 against the Dodgers Sunday for his second three-hit game of the series and his eighth of the season (tied for the most in the National League). Pirela was 8-for-13 in the three games against the Dodgers with two doubles to boost his batting average from .260 to .282. Sunday's game was his 15th multi-hit game of the season. Pirela started in left field Sunday, marking only the second time in May that he started at any position other than second base. In his last 20 games, Pirela is batting .342 (26-for-76) with six RBIs and seven doubles.

Matt Strahm was the ninth starting pitcher employed by the Padres this season in Sunday's "bullpen game." Strahm lowered his ERA from 4.91 to 3.86 with two scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and a walk with two strikeouts.

A.J. Ellis extended his hitting streak to eight straight games with a pinch-hit single Sunday. He is 12-for-27 (.444) with four doubles, a home run and five RBIs during the second-longest streak of the 37-year-old's career. Ellis has hit safely in 10 of 11 games with an at-bat since Austin Hedges was hurt, going 15-for-35 (.429) with five walks for a .500 on-base percentage and a .629 slugging percentage for a 1.129 OPS.

San Diego Padres