Phillies-Padres Preview

No pitcher in the majors issues more walks than the San Diego Padres' Tyson Ross.

No NL club has more trouble drawing walks than the Philadelphia Phillies.

One of those trends won't hold up Saturday night when Ross tries to win three straight starts for the first time this season as he faces the visiting Phillies in the middle game of this series.

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Ross (8-8, 3.37 ERA) has walked 63 hitters with a major league-worst ratio of 4.24 per nine innings. He has pitched effectively his last two times out, yielding four runs over 11 innings in victories though he has issued six walks.

Philadelphia's lack of plate discipline may prove to be his biggest asset Saturday. The Phillies (43-67) have walked 250 times.

Ross is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four appearances - two starts - against Philadelphia. Chase Utley is 1 for 5 against him, Carlos Ruiz is 2 for 4 and Domonic Brown is hitless in four at-bats.

The right-hander, 3-5 with a 4.47 ERA in nine home starts, has seen his lack of control be an asset at times. Batters swing and miss at 30.8 percent of his pitches for one of baseball's best marks.

Ross has received 20 runs of support in his last two outings. That's seven more than the Padres (52-58) gave him in his six prior.

"It's huge any time you get guys swinging like that," Ross said. "It motivates you to get quick outs and pitch deep into the game."

Backup Austin Hedges, a .176 hitter, could be his batterymate since he has caught Ross eight times - more than any other starter.

The Phillies welcomed the return Friday of Utley, who went 1 for 5 in his first action since June 22 after being out due to right ankle inflammation. Cesar Hernandez had been playing second base in his absence, batting .387 in a seven-game hitting streak that ended when he struck out in his only official at-bat in a 4-3, 12-inning win.

Cameron Rupp's homer in the 12th was the difference for Philadelphia, which is a major league-best 14-5 since the All-Star break. Brown, Ryan Howard and Cody Asche also went deep for the Phillies, who rallied from a 3-0 deficit.

''We're being aggressive,'' Rupp said. ''We're having good at-bats. When pitchers make mistakes, we're ready for them.''

Brown has homered in consecutive games, with four homers and 11 RBIs in his last eight. He is hitting .345 with three home runs in his last seven games at Petco Park.

San Diego has totaled 10 runs and batted .210 while losing four straight. Matt Kemp is 2 for 15 in that stretch, Yonder Alonso is 2 for 13 and Jedd Gyorko is 1 for 13.

The Padres have a 13-10 record when they face left-handed starters as they get their first look at Phillies rookie Adam Morgan (2-3, 4.46), who was charged with four runs over five innings in Sunday's 6-2 loss to Atlanta. Philadelphia had captured his previous three outings.

Morgan is 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA in three road starts.