The San Diego Padres likely need Jedd Gyorko to be a major contributor if they're to improve their production at the plate.
Gyorko and the Padres look to build on a impressive offensive effort Saturday night against the Miami Marlins, who haven't lost two straight in two weeks.
San Diego (16-21) averaged a major-league low 2.6 runs prior to Friday's 10-1 rout of Miami that snapped a three-game skid during which it totaled two runs. Gyorko had three hits, including a two-run homer and a grand slam - both off Marlins ace Jose Fernandez - as the Padres recorded 13 hits in their highest-scoring game of the year.
"Guys are capable of those types of performances," manager Bud Black said. "Not that Jedd is going to hit two homers and hit a grand slam, but he's capable of knocking in some runs."
After leading San Diego with 23 homers and 63 RBIs as a rookie last season, the second baseman earned a five-year contract extension worth $35 million last month. However, Gyorko is batting .165 with four homers and 18 RBIs and was 0 for 13 in three games prior to Friday.
Seth Smith, however, is 12 for 23 in his last six games and is 5 for 11 in his last three versus Miami (20-16).
San Diego could get a boost Saturday with the expected return of third baseman Chase Headley, who has been out since April 24 with a strained calf. Though Headley is batting .186 in 20 games this season, he's hit .343 in his last nine home games against the Marlins.
The Padres could face a stiff test against Nathan Eovaldi (2-1, 2.78 ERA), who has lasted at least six innings in all seven starts and seven in each of the last two. The right-hander gave up three runs and struck out 10 before the Marlins rallied for a 4-3 win Monday against the New York Mets.
He allowed one run in 11 1-3 innings while going 1-0 in his first two starts versus San Diego, then yielded only a three-run homer to Alexi Amarista over seven in a 4-2 loss to the Padres on April 6. All three of his appearances versus San Diego have come at home.
Eovaldi will try to help the Marlins rebound from their second defeat in 11 games. Marcell Ozuna homered for Miami, which was held to four hits while seeing its five-game winning streak end.
Giancarlo Stanton went 1 for 2 with a walk one night after his two-run homer in the 11th gave Miami a 3-1 victory in the opener. Batting .368 during an 11-game hitting streak, Stanton went 1 for 2 with a two-run homer off Padres starter Eric Stults (1-3, 5.40) in an 8-2 win April 4.
The left-hander allowed five runs in four innings of that outing and has an 11.74 ERA while losing his last two against the Marlins - both on the road. He gave up a run in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-1 win against them at Petco Park last season.
Stults has allowed eight runs and 18 hits over 7 1-3 innings while going 0-1 in his last two outings. He gave up three runs and 11 of those hits over 4 2-3 of a 6-5, 12-inning victory over Kansas City on Monday.
Smith is 3 for 6 versus Eovaldi, but Gyorko is 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.