Besides fireworks and Independence Day celebrations over the weekend, the Tucson Padres also got down to business in three games.
On Sunday, the Padres beat Sacramento 7-2, making it eight consecutive wins in a row.
The Padres evened their record at 42-42 and have as many wins as losses for the first time since May 1, when their record was 12-12.
The Padres have made up substantial ground in the standings in the past week, six games in six days, and now sit 8.5 games back in the South Division.
The Padres fell behind 2-0 against Sacramento in the second inning Sunday but marched right back on a three-run home run by Kyle Blanks in the top of third. Blanks walloped River Cats pitching in the series, going 9-for-18 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.
His 20-game hitting streak is the third longest in the Pacific Coast League this season. The Padres never relinquished the lead after Blanks’ home run, adding insurance runs in the fifth, seventh and ninth innings.
Tucson starter Matt Buschmann pitched seven innings, allowing just two runs.
Luke Gregerson pitched much better in his second injury rehab outing than he did in his first on Friday. After surrendering three runs in his last appearance, Gregerson retired Sacramento in order in the eighth inning, striking out two hitters.
On July 2, the Tucson Padres came within 10 games of first place for the first time since May 23 after beating Sacramento at Raley Field.
Tucson’s Jon Leicester pitched six innings, allowing three runs in the win. Will Inman, Luis Perdomo and Evan Scribner all threw scoreless outings for the Padres out of the bullpen.
The Padres fell behind in the first inning on a two-run home run by Jai Miller, but came back with one run in the second and two in the third when Kyle Blanks hit a two-run home run off River Cats starter Lenny DiNardo. Blanks hit two home runs in the game, his seventh and eighth in Triple-A this year, and also hit a double in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 19 games.
Blanks had half of the Padres six hits and Aaron Cunningham (2-for-4) was the only other Padres player with a multi-hit game. Everth Cabrera reached base three times for Tucson, going 1-for-2 with two walks and a sacrifice fly.
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