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LAD@SD: Black on Ross' outing, denied challenge

Will a change of scenery bring a change of fortune for the Padres, who head to Cleveland for a three-game series with a 2-4 record?

San Diego will find out beginning Tuesday, as Monday's game was postponed due to rain. The clubs with then play a traditional doubleheader Wednesday beginning at 12:05 p.m. ET.

The Padres did manage to salvage a game in their three-game series against the Marlins on Sunday, as one big swing -- Alexi Amarista's three-run, pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning -- helped carry them to a 4-2 victory.

But what the Padres want -- and need -- are better swings up and down the lineup, and more runs, said manager Bud Black.

"We've got to, no doubt, get the bats going. I've said that the last three or four days," Black said. "You look at some of those averages, and they're a little low. We need those guys to start getting some hits."

The four runs Sunday were the most the Padres have scored in a game this season. Going into Sunday's game, they had been outscored 22-8.

The Nos. 3-4-5 hitters in the Padres' order are 7-for-66 (.106) with three RBIs in the first six games of the season.

"We're not, collectively as a group, swinging the bats well," Black said. "We're in a team-wide situation where we don't have one guy swinging the bat well."

The at-bats were, as Black noted, better on Sunday. Not just Amarista's home run, his first since July 7 of last season, but Yonder Alonso's sacrifice fly that made it 4-2, an at-bat against a left-handed pitcher.

"That was good situational hitting by Yonder," Black said.

They'll vie for more situational hitting behind Tyson Ross, who in his season debut gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits in five innings in a 5-1 loss to the Dodgers. Slated to start Monday, Robbie Erlin will pitch one of the games Wednesday.

Corey Kluber, who allowed five runs in just 3 1/3 innings last Wednesday in his season debut, had been slated to pitch Monday's opener and will get the nod Tuesday. The Indians hope he can reverse the recent issues for the rotation. Even Justin Masterson -- brilliant on Opening Day for the Tribe -- labored in a loss to the Twins on Sunday.

"We're just not making the adjustments yet," Masterson said. "I think we'll each do better as we continue to move on."

Padres: Benoit a little rusty
The slow start this season certainly hasn't led to much work for the two relief pitchers at the back end of the bullpen: eighth-inning specialist Joaquin Benoit and closer Huston Street.

Benoit made only his second appearances in the first five games of the season in Saturday's 5-0 loss to the Marlins. He was dinged for two runs on three hits with a walk while getting two outs.

"We needed to get Joaquin an inning there," Black said. "I thought that he looked a little rusty."

Benoit allowed two or more runs on two occasions last season in his 66 appearances with the Tigers.

Benoit was considerably sharper on Sunday, as he worked a clean eighth inning with one strikeout.

Street, who hadn't worked since Opening Day on March 30, made only his second appearance and got the save with a scoreless ninth inning.

Indians: Rotation woes
The Tribe headed into this season with a revamped rotation after letting lefty Scott Kazmir (A's) and righty Ubaldo Jimenez (Orioles) go via free agency over the winter. Over the past five games, Cleveland's starting five have turned in a disappointing line.

Through the last turn in the rotation, the Tribe's starters have combined to allow 19 runs (17 earned) on 35 hits in 22 1/3 innings, which equates to a 7.66 ERA. During that span, a bulk of the damage has come in the first three innings (10.20 ERA), putting Cleveland's offense in early holes.

Indians manager Terry Francona said it's easy to overreact this early in the season.

"I don't think we get discouraged that easily. We're always trying to get better, that's for sure," Francona said. "I don't think that you start to give up on your guys on April 6. I'm not saying that we don't want to do better, regardless of when in the year. But, I think you can rush to judgement and miss out on some really good players."

Worth noting
• Former big league outfielder Jason Lane, trying to make it back to the Major Leagues for the Padres as a left-handed pitcher, tossed six scoreless innings as Triple-A El Paso defeated Reno, 2-0. Lane didn't walk a batter and allowed five hits with nine groundouts.

Lane, 37, spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues as an outfielder and hit 26 home runs for the Astros in 2005. He had a 5.24 ERA in 11 games as a pitcher for Triple-A Tucson a year ago. That affiliate has now moved to El Paso.

• Amarista, the hero of Sunday's game with his home run, turned 25 on Sunday. The Padres have two other birthdays this week. Alonso will turn 27 on Tuesday. Tommy Medica turns 26 Wednesday.

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