Edinson Volquez is looking for the longest winning streak of his career, and a start at Petco Park may be just what he needs.
The San Diego Padres are also enjoying their best stretch of the year at home.
Volquez goes for a fifth consecutive victorious decision Saturday when he attempts to beat the New York Mets for the first time.
Volquez (7-7, 3.51 ERA) is 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 45 2-3 innings over his last seven starts. That matches the right-hander's longest string of victories, previously achieved over five starts at the beginning of 2008 with Cincinnati.
His current run includes a tremendous stretch at pitcher-friendly Petco. He tossed a one-hit shutout in his most recent home start July 19, improving to 2-0 with a 0.40 ERA and a .133 opponent batting average in his last three outings in San Diego.
Volquez is hoping a return home can help him rebound from a lackluster performance in an 11-5 win at Cincinnati on Monday. He beat his former team despite allowing five runs and six hits - two homers - with three walks in five innings.
He's 0-3 with a 5.32 ERA in four starts against the Mets (52-55), losing 2-0 in New York on May 27. He allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings while the Padres were held to three hits by R.A. Dickey and two relievers.
San Diego (45-63) needed only four hits to beat the knuckleballer Friday, opening this three-game set with a 3-1 victory. The Padres have won six of seven at home, matching their win total from their previous 18 contests there.
Yonder Alonso is hot at the plate, hitting .394 with a homer and six doubles in his past eight games overall. He's 7 for 19 in five 2012 meetings with the Mets, going 2 for 3 with a double that aided the Padres' tiebreaking rally in the seventh inning Friday.
The first baseman hit a shot to right-center and Carlos Quentin raced home, with the ball arriving very early. However, Quentin barreled over catcher Josh Thole to knock the ball loose and score the go-ahead run.
"It's frustrating because the play at the plate was the ball game," Thole said. "It changed the whole dynamic of the game. I just didn't get my free hand on the ball. I was reaching for it. As I was getting to it, I got hit."
The Mets are 5-4 on this season-high 11-game road trip, and Ruben Tejada has at least one hit in each game. The shortstop is hitting .366 on the trip.
He's 6 for 13 lifetime at San Diego, but 0 for 3 versus Volquez.
The right-hander is 0-1 while allowing seven runs and 16 hits with 12 strikeouts and five walks in 11 2-3 innings over his last two starts.
Hefner was battered by the Padres in his first major league start May 24, surrendering six runs and nine hits before getting pulled with two outs in the fourth in an 11-5 defeat.
|New York Mets|
|August 02, 2012||Tim Byrdak||15-Day DL||Sore left shoulder|
|July 31, 2012||Andres Torres||Day-to-Day||Strained right thumb|
|July 31, 2012||Jason Bay||Day-to-Day||Bruised left calf|
|July 21, 2012||Johan Santana||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|July 11, 2012||Dillon Gee||Day-to-Day||Bloot clot in right shoulder|
|July 08, 2012||Dillon Gee||15-Day DL||Blood clot in right shoulder|
|San Diego Padres|
|July 31, 2012||Yasmani Grandal||15-Day DL||Strained oblique|
|July 28, 2012||Joe Thatcher||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|July 26, 2012||Joe Thatcher||15-Day DL||Right knee tendinitis|
|July 18, 2012||Cameron Maybin||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|July 04, 2012||Andrew Cashner||15-Day DL||Strained muscle in right side|
|June 21, 2012||Anthony Bass||60-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The New York Mets took advantage of Edinson Volquez 's wildness to get the win.
Jeremy Hefner pitched a strong game against his former team and the New York Mets earned a 6-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
But the Mets didn't make it easy as they stranded 13 base runners and went 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position.
Then when Bobby Parnell faltered in the ninth inning, New York called upon closer Frank Francisco for his first action since coming off the disabled list on Friday.
"We are sitting there in the dugout in the ninth inning and thinking we ought to have 10 runs and we don't," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We left way too many guys on base again. It was a game we were fortunate to win, but we need to start driving some of those runs in."
In Wednesday night's 2-1 win at San Francisco, the Mets loaded the bases in each of the final three innings and came away scoreless. They went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.
Fortunately for the Mets on Saturday, Volquez's lack of control led to two bases loaded-walks and a four-run second that gave the Mets an early cushion.
Hefner (2-4) made the runs stand up as he made his third start in place of the injured Johan Santana his most impressive one.
The right-hander held San Diego to one run and five hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
"I hope he (Collins) knows I can compete and that I'm going to give him 100 percent every time," said Hefner, who is likely to get bumped from the rotation once Santana returns.
Hefner gave up three hits to Alexi Amarista , who also had an RBI, and two to Everth Cabrera .
"He's in the strike zone and he makes you swing the bat," Collins said. "He doesn't beat himself by walking guys. He really has done a nice job."
Volquez (7-8) allowed four runs and two hits in 1 2-3 innings. The right-hander walked four, including the two with the bases loaded. Volquez has walked a major league-high 84.
"You see those hitters at the plate and you try to do too much, more than you can," said Volquez, who said he got a blister on his right thumb in the first inning.
"I couldn't feel the ball very well," he said. "It's a tough day. Everybody can have a day like that in the big leagues."
New York's Mike Baxter tied an overall club record with five walks. He set the Mets' record for a nine-inning game. The Mets walked 10 times overall in the win.
Josh Thole drove in two runs for the Mets, who have won five of seven and are 6-4 on their season-high, 11-game West Coast road trip. Daniel Murphy tied his career high with four hits.
Holding a 6-1 lead in the ninth, Parnell's first pitch went for a Chase Headley home run, his 14th. Parnell then allowed a one-out double to Yonder Alonso and walked Cameron Maybin to bring on Francisco.
The big right-hander made just two pitches to get John Baker to hit into a game-ending double play. It was Francisco's 19th save in 22 chances.
After a solid first inning, Volquez got wild in the second. After Ike Davis ' leadoff single, Volquez issued consecutive walks to load the bases. The right-hander struck out Andres Torres before he missed on a full-count pitch to Thole to force in a run.
After Volquez struck out Hefner, he walked in a second run when he missed again on another full-count pitch to Ruben Tejada . Jordany Valdespin then lined a two-run double to right field to knock Volquez out of the game.
"His mechanics were out of whack, as much as I've seen him this season," San Diego manager Bud Black said.
Hefner, drafted by San Diego in the 10th round in 2007, was pounded by the Padres in his first major league start May 24. He allowed six runs and nine hits before getting pulled with two outs in the fourth in an 11-5 defeat.
Notes: Vince Coleman set the Mets' walk record in 1992 in a 16-inning game against Pittsburgh. ... Tejada went 2 for 5 to run his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games. ... Padres RHP Cory Burns made his major league debut in the fifth inning. ... Mets manager Terry Collins said Johan Santana (sprained right ankle) will throw a minor league rehab start for Class A Brooklyn on Sunday that is scheduled to last three innings. If there is no setback, Santana is expected to return next Saturday against Atlanta. . San Diego RHP Tim Stauffer , the team's opening day starter, pitched one inning in a rehab start for Class A Lake Elsinore. ... Mets rookie RHP Matt Harvey (1-1, 1.59 ERA) will oppose San Diego RHP Jason Marquis (4-6, 4.08) in Sunday's finale.