Gregory Bull Associated Press Padres right fielder Kyle Blanks, front, gets tangled up with second baseman Logan Forsythe on a pop fly in the fourth inning. Blanks hit a decisive three-run homer in the eighth.

Trip back to minors takes happy detour

Published: Monday, Jun. 17, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2013 - 10:02 am

SAN DIEGO – Kyle Blanks was on his way back to the minor leagues 10 days ago. Now it appears he'll be sticking around for a while.

Blanks hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, snapping a 1-1 tie and lifting San Diego to a season-high sixth straight win, 4-1 over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Blanks' eighth home run of the season and second in two days came off reliever David Hernandez (Elk Grove High School, Cosumnes River College) and made a winner out of Clayton Richard (2-5), giving the Padres a three-game sweep.

"Any situation is big, but to produce late in the game makes it that much better," said Blanks, who has hit safely in 11 of his last 15 games, batting .321 during that span. "I've been just trying to stay consistent … really focusing on trying to get good swings and putting those good swings on good pitches, and typically good things happen when you do that."

Ten days ago, Blanks was assigned to Triple-A Tucson but made a quick U-turn when injuries befell first baseman Yonder Alonso and outfielder Cameron Maybin.

"He's got raw power; he's a big man with legitimate power that plays in the big leagues," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He's taken this opportunity of regular play and really playing well whether in the outfield or at first base. He's responding. He's making a statement."

Richard went a season-high eight innings, allowing one run and seven hits. He walked none and struck out one as he improved to 7-1 in 10 career starts against the Diamondbacks. It was Richard's first win as a starter since Sept. 20, 2012, ending a streak of seven losses. Hernandez fell to 2-4.

Huston Street came on in the ninth to pick up his 13th save in 14 chances for the Padres (35-34), who moved above .500 for the first time since closing the 2010 season with a 90-72 record.

The Padres have gone 30-19 since April 24, are 21-7 in their last 28 home games and have pulled within two games of first-place Arizona in the National League West.

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