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Padres sweep Kansas City Royals, close season-best home stand

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In baseball, off-days are usually welcomed with open arms. With a 162-game schedule, teams rarely have the chance to take a break from the hectic schedule and rest. For the Padres though, today’s off-day could not have come at a worse time. On the eve of the final interleague series of the year against the Seattle Mariners, the Padres have won four-in-a-row and just completed a season-best 5-1 homestand by beating the Kansas City Royals 6-0 Wednesday afternoon.

“We haven’t done that all year,” said Padres closer Heath Bell. “I think since we played Boston, we kind of learned that we can beat anybody.”

After getting swept by the Minnesota Twins June 17-19, the Padres went into Boston and took two of three from the Red Sox, beat the Atlanta Braves twice at home last weekend and then swept the visiting Kansas City Royals out of Petco Park. Riding a four-game winning streak, and winners of seven of their past nine games, the Padres appear to be righting the ship on what has been a disappointing first-half of the season.

ryan ludwick“We had such a slow April, it was only a matter of time before we started playing better,” left fielder Ryan Ludwick said. “Right now, everyone here is pitching in. We still have the same attitude here, we’re still having fun.”

The Padres current hot streak has pushed them out of the cellar of the National League West and into sole-possession of fourth place. It may not seem like much, but at 37-45, the Padres are only nine games out of first place with exactly one-half of the season remaining.

A year ago, San Diego missed the playoffs by one measly game – a loss in the last game of the season to the San Francisco Giants. This year, hopes were high, but an anemic offense and a less-than-stellar defense have spelled doom. Nevertheless, a strong rotation and a best-in-baseball bullpen have kept the Padres’ hopes alive.

With the July 31 trade deadline approaching, the Padres need to continue this hot streak if they hope to be buyers and not sellers at the deadline and make a run for the playoffs.

Photo courtesy SD Dirk via Flickr.

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