Padres-Marlins: Friars Fry Fish, Earn Fourth Straight Series Win

Darren Feeney@DFEEN15_SDCorrespondent IApril 28, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04:  David Eckstein #22 of the San Diego Padres high fives Chase Headley #7 after Eckstein scored a run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning at Dodger Stadium on September 4, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Although it was not at the San Diego Marlin Club’s weigh station on Shelter Island, the Padres were all smiles after landing two of three from the Marlins in Miami.

Fueled by a five-run fifth inning, the Friars picked up Kevin Correia and edged out a 6-4 victory. 

After sweeping Arizona and San Francisco at home, Wednesday’s matinee gave the Padres a 4-2 road trip.

Is April too early for a division race?

San Francisco blew a ninth-inning lead and eventually lost to the Phillies 7-6 in 11 innings—leaving the Padres by themselves to keep the throne warm in the National League West. 

Critics of the Padres' success are quick to point to last year, when the Padres got off to a similar hot start.

San Diego opened the 2009 campaign with nine wins in its first 12 games, eventually finishing with an 11-11 record to close out April. A mediocre May was followed by a season-damaging 17-37 record over June and July.

The Friar Faithful, on the other hand, point towards a 33-25 record over the last two months that left them with renewed optimism.  

With two games left to play in April, the Padres (13-8) have a one-game cushion and return to San Diego to host Milwaukee and Colorado for a seven-game home stand.

Avoiding their first three-game losing streak of the season after dropping the series finale to Cincinnati and game one against Florida, the Padres showed signs of an ability to bounce back in 2010.

Although it wasn’t completely his fault, Mike Adams took the loss in Sunday’s 5-4 defeat.

Adams inherited a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Scott Rolen and then Jay Bruce's double into the right field corner. Rolen stopped at third until first baseman Adrian Gonzalez let Will Venable's throw get away from him, allowing Rolen to score the tying run and Bruce to move to third. Venable was charged with an error.

Adams has responded with two perfect eight innings (two strikeouts, 0 hits, 0 walks) and set up Heath Bell for his fifth and sixth saves. 

Venable redeemed himself with a game-saving highlight reel catch to close out the ninth Tuesday after Bell allowed runners to reach first and second base with no one out.

Luke Gregerson set a Padres record by recording his 26th consecutive out—after which Florida rookie first baseman Gaby Sanchez ended the streak with a bloop hit to right field on Tuesday. 

You have to feel for Khalil Greene and his trials and tribulations, but how is that trade with the St. Louis Cardinals looking now?

Gregerson (2.19 ERA, 0.57 WHIP) recorded his fifth hold of the season with a perfect seventh inning Wednesday.

After dropping his first two starts of the season, Jon Garland (2-2) has been sharp. Garland struck out 10 Marlins in six excellent innings Tuesday, lowering his ERA to 2.57.

David Eckstein enjoyed the return to his home state, as he continues to be one of the quietest productive players in baseball. 

Eckstein was born in Sanford, Florida and played on a state championship team at Seminole H.S. in Sanford. A walk-on player for the University of Florida in 1994, Eckstein later earned a scholarship and had an outstanding collegiate career as a Gator. 

Eckstein went 5-for-14 (.357 avg) with three runs and three RBI in the three-game series at Sun Life Stadium.

The Padres continued their thieving ways with three stolen bases on Tuesday, two by Tony Gwynn, who reached base all four times, and are tied for the most swipes (23) in baseball with the Washington Nationals.

The Padres return to action Thursday to host Milwaukee and Trevor Hoffman, seeking a seventh straight home win.