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NYM@MIA: Alvarez strikes out seven, shuts out Mets

When Henderson Alvarez gets into a groove, the Marlins tend to have fun games. It's just a matter of when the 24-year-old finds that rhythm.

He did his last time out. Alvarez breezed to a 3-0 shutout over the Mets at Marlins Park in a game that lasted just two hours and eight minutes.

The flip side is, Alvarez can be shaky, like he was in his first start of the season, when he gave up six runs (three earned) over three innings in a loss to the Rockies.

Which Alvarez will show up in the four-game series finale between the Marlins and Padres on Sunday? Alvarez will have the element of surprise. He's never faced the Padres.

The Padres, who will start left-hander Robbie Erlin, are looking to get their primary players back on the field.

On Saturday, third baseman Chase Headley returned from the disabled list after he missed 14 games with a strained right calf. He went 1-for-3 with a homer, two walks and three RBIs in the Padres' 9-3 win.

At some point next week, possibly Tuesday in Cincinnati, the team could get outfielder Carlos Quentin back from the DL as well. He hasn't played in 2014 because of a bone bruise in his left knee from a sliding catch in Spring Training.

Consider this: The Padres haven't had Headley, Quentin, Cameron Maybin and Yonder Alonso in the same starting lineup since … Sept. 5, 2012.

Manager Bud Black, his head still likely spinning from Friday's rare 10-run outburst, which was followed by Saturday's nine-run blowout, feels the offense is starting to come around. Still, it's a matter of more than just one or two hitters having a big game.

"You can handle one or two guys scuffling … not six or seven," Black said.

Headley, who led the National League in RBIs (115) in 2012, figures to bolster the offense. The same goes for Quentin, who is itching to get back in the starting lineup.

"I want to come back and see if I can help," Quentin said.

Quentin, however, won't be in the lineup on Sunday. So Alvarez won't have to worry about the slugger.

An area Alvarez has worked on with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez is putting away hitters.

"I've been working with Chuck in the bullpen on fixing a few pitches -- the slider, and sinker," Alvarez said. "I'm trying to get the sinker down."

Mother's Day around Major League Baseball has been day to raise breast cancer awareness.

Some players from both teams will be using pink bats.

"It's my first Mother's Day in the big leagues," Marlins 22-year-old outfielder Christian Yelich said. "My mom's going to be here. I'll definitely use the pink bat and pink shoes. It's cool. It's going to be exciting for him. She will be fired up to be able to see me play in the big leagues on Mother's Day."

Marlins: Rocky road at the plate
Credit is due to the Padres' starters during this series. Ian Kennedy struck out 12 on Thursday night and Tyson Ross fanned eight more on Friday

Overall, the Padres pitchers combined for 39 strikeouts in the first three games.

The Marlins see it as a combination of good pitching and some impatient hitting, which has led to the team not getting the job done at the plate.

"Maybe we're trying too hard on the road," manager Mike Redmond said. "A lot of strikeouts. I've seen us get out of our approach. We've sustained our approach really well at home, where we are swinging at strikes and taking walks.

"For some reason, when we get on the road, we're not quite as patient. Guys are expanding the strike zone, swinging at pitches in counts they normally don't swing at. I don't really have an answer for it. You'd think it would be the opposite. You'd think on the road you'd be more relaxed and locked in."

Padres: Looking to get Gyorko going
Second baseman Jedd Gyorko enjoyed a career night at the plate Friday as he hit a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, for the second time in his career while driving in a career-high six runs.

The second home run was the second grand slam of his career, and he's hit the last two grand slams for the Padres.

These are all big developments for Gyorko, who has struggled this season, hitting well below .200. He's not the only one, though.

There are several players in the starting lineup that Black would like to see get hot. Maybe that 10-run outburst Friday was just the start?

"I think there's more of that to come," Black said. "I think guys are more capable of those performances."

Gyorko's success in May isn't new. He has 10 career home runs in May, the most home runs of any month during the season. He already has four this month.

Worth noting
• On Casey McGehee's 137th at-bat of the season, the Miami third baseman belted his first home run of the season. McGehee, who played in Japan last year, had not homered since Aug. 11, 2012, when he was with the Yankees against the Blue Jays. The home run was estimated at 417 feet.

• After scoring 92 runs in their first 36 games, the Padres have scored 19 in their last 16 innings. And they've done it at spacious Petco Park, too -- with two home runs Friday and two more Saturday (Chase Headley and Seth Smith). The Padres moved ahead of the Braves for the 29th spot in baseball in runs (111).

• Giancarlo Stanton's single in the sixth inning on Saturday extended his hit streak to 12 games, matching a career high.

• The Marlins decided to designate reliever Carlos Marmol for assignment following Saturday's loss. Marmol entered the sixth inning of a 2-2 ballgame and allowed four runs. A corresponding roster move will be made before Sunday's finale.

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