Padres firing on all cylinders

"Since I've been here, I don't think there's been a time when we've all been hot at the same time," outfielder Brian Giles said of battery mates Ryan Klesko and Phil Nevin. That time may have arrived as all have played integral parts in the Padres winning streak.

The Padres are coming off a 6-0 homestand against National League East powers Florida and Atlanta.

On their last road trip, the Padres went 5-2 while visiting St. Louis and Cincinnati. More specifically, the Padres won three straight in St. Louis (before being routed 15-5 in the series finale) after having lost 11 straight games and 19 of their last 21 visits to Busch Stadium.

Now, the hottest team in baseball prepares to take to the road for their longest trip of the 2005 season.

San Diego opens interleague play this weekend with a three-game series in Seattle. That will be followed by three-game sets in Arizona and San Francisco. And that portion of the trip could bring up some haunting memories for the Padres.

As recently as April 22-27, the Padres visited Arizona and San Francisco -- coincidentally in the same order -- and lost five of the six games. The last loss of the trip was the 10-3 debacle at San Francisco that Padres manager Bruce Bochy labeled "embarrassing" after emerging from a closed-door, 17-minute, post-game meeting with his players.

Since that meeting, the Padres have gone on a 16-3 run.

And if the cast hasn't changed, the team that swept the Marlins and Braves bears almost no competitive resemblance to the one that haphazardly made a tour d'farce of San Francisco.

"It's pretty amazing to think this is the same team," joked Phil Nevin. "We're just playing so much better than we were a month ago. It's night and day. I don't want to examine it. I just want to ride it."

The Padres will make this nine-game trip with starting pitcher Woody Williams still on the disabled list. And second baseman Mark Loretta will miss at least the first three games at Seattle with a sprained thumb.

""The swelling has gone down and he feels better," manager Bruce Bochy said.


The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have the rally monkey.

Is television commentator's Mark Grant shillelagh working the same wonders for the Padres?

Grant waved the shillelagh Sunday during the seventh-inning stretch, and the Padres scored a Petco Park record 10 runs to defeat Florida 12-4 and complete a three-game sweep of the Marlins.

Monday night, the shillelagh made an appearance in the eighth and the Padres scored four runs to beat Atlanta 5-3 and run their winning streak to five straight games.

Shillelagh or not, the Padres are showing a resilient streak during a 14-3 run that has moved them to within a half-game of first in the National League West. The Padres have won after trailing in 11 of those 14 wins.

"We're hanging tough and making things happen," Padres first baseman Phil Nevin said Sunday. "It's not one guy. It's everyone ... from the starting lineup to the bench and the bullpen. It's quite a run."

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