SAN DIEGO -- The Padres offense has been by no means a juggernaut during the club's recent stretch of 10 wins in 13 games -- a run that has propelled the Friars back into the picture in the National League West.
But San Diego has been able to piece together timely hits just when they're needed most -- exactly the kind of hits that have eluded the Miami Marlins, whom the Padres will face on Wednesday as they go for the series sweep.
The Marlins are 6-for-44 (.136) with runners in scoring position over the last five games. Their .220 average on the season is 12th in the NL.
"Sometimes, with runners in scoring position, it seems like it kind of becomes a team thing," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "Guys are trying so hard to get that runner in that it actually works against you. Maybe we need to try less and just let the situation happen."
Meanwhile, San Diego now finds itself just three games below .500 and 4 1/2 games out of first place after a dreadful 5-15 start. The lineup has been revitalized by the presence of No. 3 hitter Chase Headley, who is riding a 12-game hitting streak into Wednesday's game.
But what's been the biggest key to the Padres' resurgence? Manager Bud Black says it's pitching.
"It's got to come from the starter," Black said. "Those guys get it. They understand that they've got to pitch well."
On Wednesday, it's Jason Marquis (3-2, 4.25 ERA) who gets the ball as he looks to pick up his third straight victory. He's been a bit shaky control-wise, surrendering 13 walks in his last three starts, but for the most part, Marquis has avoided the big inning and kept the ball on the ground.
Opposite Marquis will be Miami's Ricky Nolasco (2-3, 4.14 ERA), who wasn't able to do that his last time out against Philadelphia. Nolasco gave up three home runs and received the loss, snapping a two-game winning streak of his own.
If there was ever a place for Nolasco to get back on track, it's at Petco Park, where the right-hander has gone 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA. A native of Rialto, Calif., Nolasco figures to have about 50 or so friends and family in attendance Wednesday.
Nolasco's battery mate will likely be Miguel Olivo, as catcher Rob Brantly is expected to get another day off to rest a sore right index finger.
Marlins: Polanco likely to get rest
• After playing in just 90 games last season because of a back injury, Marlins third baseman Placido Polanco has already played in 30 of his team's first 34 contests this year.
Redmond hasn't had much of a chance to sit Polanco because of a plethora of injuries that has plagued the Miami infield. But he plans to give Polanco a day on Wednesday, meaning he'll get two days of rest because of Thursday's scheduled off-day.
"It's been a challenge with the injuries and losing [Donovan] Solano and trying to take care of these guys at the same time, too," Redmond said. "We've been down on bodies, so we've had to play these guys. But we'll try to get him out of there tomorrow."
Redmond's best laid plans may change, however, as second baseman Chris Valaika exited Tuesday's game with a fracture to the tip of his left radius (wrist).
Padres: Quentin slumping
• Padres left fielder Carlos Quentin remains hitless in May after he was held out of the lineup Tuesday night. Black said the day off had nothing to do with those struggles and that Quentin will return to the lineup for Wednesday's series finale.
"We've got to manage six months," Black said, referring to the plan the team has adhered to in getting Quentin's surgically repaired right knee healthy again.
Quentin is hitting just .172 this season with two homers.
• Padres outfielder Mark Kotsay is hitting .615 in 13 at-bats against Nolasco with a double, a triple and a homer.
• The Marlins and Padres have met 72 times in San Diego with each club winning 36 contests.
• The Padres have been successful on 20 of their last 21 stolen base attempts. Miami's Juan Pierre, meanwhile, has swiped 12 bags in a row without being caught.