Phillies-Padres Preview

Sweeping a series at Petco Park is nothing new for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Neither is seeing them play well anymore.

The Phillies have baseball's best record since the All-Star break and can complete their sixth sweep at the 12-year-old ballpark by handing the San Diego Padres a season high-tying sixth straight defeat Sunday.

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Philadelphia (44-67) improved to 15-5 since the break with Saturday's 4-2 victory. The top three hitters in the lineup - Chase Utley, Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera - were 6 for 12 with all four runs and all three RBIs.

''It's fun to watch these guys,'' interim manager Pete Mackanin said. ''They are having a good time playing aggressive and they are pulling for each other. It is contagious.''

Hernandez is hitting .400 in his last eight starts and will likely move back to second base Sunday since Utley, who is 3 for 9 in his first series since June 22 after being out due to right ankle inflammation, will likely rest.

Philadelphia is 29-10 at Petco for the best record among visiting teams. It posted sweeps there in its first two visits in 2004 and 2005 along with ones in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

The Phillies are enjoying renewed confidence after moving out of sole possession of the NL East cellar for the first time since May 27, though it may be hard to be optimistic Sunday since Jerome Williams (3-8, 6.09 ERA) will start. He is 0-6 with an 8.02 ERA in nine road starts and 0-5 with a 7.17 ERA in his last nine overall.

One factor in Williams' favor is that he is 3-3 in seven outings versus San Diego with a 2.18 ERA for his best mark against any opponent. No Padres batter has more than one hit versus him, with Derek Norris and Melvin Upton Jr. each going 0 for 6.

The right-hander took a step in the right direction Tuesday by yielding one run in five innings in a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in his third outing since being activated off the disabled list July 21.

San Diego (52-59) seeks to avoid matching a six-game slide from July 4-10. The Padres are batting .220 with 12 runs scored in their last five games and are hitting .217 with an average of 2.3 runs in their past eight at home.

That kind of production is something Sunday starter Andrew Cashner (4-11, 4.08) is accustomed to since he owns one of baseball's worst run support averages at 3.02.

Cashner, however, has won both starts against Philadelphia and has a 1.25 ERA in eight total appearances for his lowest mark against an opponent he has faced multiple times. He has held Freddy Galvis hitless in seven at-bats.

The right-hander has allowed three runs over 14 innings in winning consecutive home outings after the Padres dropped his first six Petco starts. He yielded two runs in six innings in Tuesday's 4-1 defeat at Milwaukee.

"Cash was good," interim manager Pat Murphy said. "He pitched well enough to win."

San Diego's Yangervis Solarte is hitting .388 with seven RBIs and eight runs scored in his last 11 games.

Teammate Will Venable has been reinstated off the paternity list and could return to the lineup Sunday.