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TOR@SD: Erlin's superb spot-start earns first MLB win

SAN DIEGO -- On April 23, the Padres were 10 games under .500 (5-15) and buried by just about everybody outside of the home clubhouse at Petco Park.

Since then, they've won 34 of 58 games, putting themselves squarely in the thick of the National League West race, tied with Colorado for second place in the division after play on Tuesday as they enter Wednesday's rubber game against the visiting Phillies.

"This is why we play," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We want to be in these conversations, there's no doubt about it. We want to be talked about as a team that has climbed back into the race, about acquiring players and not doing the opposite of that. Guys love the feeling of coming to the park when this is happening."

The Philadelphia clubhouse hasn't had too much of that feeling recently, and Wednesday's starter Cole Hamels is evidence as to why. The left-hander has never lost 12 games in a season, but should he lose Wednesday, he'll have 12 losses before the season even hits July.

Hamels' numbers are by no means indicative of his 2-11 record. He hasn't been especially sharp, with a 4.50 ERA, but he is still averaging 8 1/2 strikeouts per nine innings and five of his last seven outings have been quality starts.

With Tuesday's 6-2 victory, the Phillies improved to 37-41, eight games behind the National League East-leading Braves.

Opposite Hamels will be fellow southpaw Robbie Erlin, who will be brought up from Triple-A Tucson to replace the injured Clayton Richard. In his first start with the club on June 1, Erlin -- the club's No. 8-ranked prospect -- allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings in a 4-3 win over the Dodgers.

"Robbie's getting to the point now where he's about ready to break through," Black said. "Reports on Robbie all year have been solid -- as far as his stuff, his delivery and everything else. He'll make the start [Wednesday], and then as we move forward we'll continue to watch our rotation."

Phillies: Adams' season in doubt
Reliever Mike Adams will likely miss the remainder of the season because of three tears in his throwing shoulder. Surgery is a possibility for the right-hander.

"This year is probably done for sure," Adams said. "It's very disappointing. Obviously I wanted to come over here and be back to normal, be able to pitch and compete. It's very disappointing."

Adams is 1-4 on the year with a 3.96 ERA.

Padres: Blanks cementing spot
Since the beginning of June, slugger Kyle Blanks has raised his batting average 28 points. He's also raised his prospects of remaining on the big league roster once first baseman Yonder Alonso returns from the DL.

"Let's cross that bridge when we get there with Yonder -- a lot of things could happen between now and then," Black said. "But [Blanks] has definitely played well enough to warrant staying in the Major Leagues, no doubt about it."

Blanks turned in a signature performance on Monday, notching a career-high four hits, including the game-winner in the 10th inning. He is riding a five-game hitting streak.

Worth noting
• After starting the season 4-4, the Padres have won six of their last seven games against National League East competition.

• In 22 at-bats against Hamels, Padres third baseman Chase Headley has five hits (.227) and five strikeouts.

• The Phillies haven't lost a series in San Diego since they dropped two of three in July 2006.

• In 41 road games this season, the Phillies have scored three runs or fewer in 27 of them. Comments