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TEX@SD: Hundley singles home the game's first run

SAN DIEGO -- For someone who struggled mightily to throw strikes on occasion Tuesday, Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez had little trouble doing so when facing Texas slugger Josh Hamilton.

But merely being able to throw Hamilton strikes is only part of the equation -- the other half, of course, is getting the Rangers' center fielder out, something that has proved very difficult to do this season.

"I had two strikes on him ... twice," lamented Volquez. "He's a great hitter."

That showed on Tuesday, as Hamilton had a two-run triple and ignited a three-run sixth-inning with a single as the Rangers defeated the Padres, 7-3, before a crowd of 25,889 at Petco Park.

Hamilton's two hits lifted his average to .332 and the two runs he knocked in during a three-run third inning gave him 64 RBIs this season. He wasn't exactly a one-man wrecking crew, though.

The Rangers (42-27) peppered Volquez and three relievers for 12 hits, including four extra-base hits in the victory. Texas will go for a sweep of the three-game series at 3:35 p.m. PT on Wednesday.

As for Hamilton, a player Padres manager Bud Black has seen on occasion in Spring Training but rarely during Interleague Play, he looked every bit as good as advertised.

"He's one of the best players in the game," Black said. "He's an impressive player. He combines the speed with the power. He's truly a five-tool player."

Volquez (3-7) actually found himself in trouble before that third inning. After working a 1-2-3 first, he got the first out of the second inning before issuing three consecutive walks.

"In the second inning, I was all over the place," said Volquez, who walked four in five frames. "In the third inning, I was up in the zone a little bit."

But first baseman Yonder Alonso bailed him out by starting a 3-6-3 double play on a sharp ground ball that Mitch Moreland hit directly at him. Volquez wouldn't be so fortunate one inning later.

With one out, Volquez allowed a single to Ian Kinsler before walking Elvis Andrus on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. Volquez, having already struck out Hamilton in his first at-bat, got Hamilton to foul off two pitches. But on the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Hamilton lined a ball in the right-center gap to score two.

With the Rangers leading, 3-1, Hamilton started the sixth inning with a single -- again after being down in the count with two strikes. Nelson Cruz had the big blow of the frame with a two-run double. That was the last batter Volquez would face.

"The walks tonight put him behind the eight-ball," Black said. "Just the overall command of three pitches were variable. It was an uphill batter from there."

That was enough offense for Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman (1-6), who picked up his first victory of the season by allowing two runs over six innings. He didn't walk a batter and struck out five.

"He got the ball over the plate and mixed it up. He showed a good fastball with a little better life than I anticipated. We couldn't solve it," Black said.

The Padres (24-45) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning as Alonso singled and then was erased at second base on an Everth Cabrera's fielder's choice. Cabrera then stole second base and scored on a Nick Hundley single up the middle.

Hundley, who entered the game hitting .162, had two hits. Cameron Maybin, who came into Tuesday's game with a .208 average, also had two hits.

"It was good to see them get a couple of hits," Black said. "Hopefully a night like this can get those guys going. That was good."

Hundley certainly hopes that's the case, as well.

"In Seattle, me and [hitting coach Phil Plantier] sat down and focused on a couple of things. The last four or five games, I've felt better at the plate. Today, it was nice to find some holes. I wasn't trying to go the other way, but I'm trying to make adjustments to have better at-bats."

Maybin has done his own huddling with Plantier, but after a rough 4-for-29 stretch on the recently-completed road trip, he watched some video Monday and had what he felt like were good swings in that night's game against Texas. Then he had the two hits on Tuesday.

"Yesterday was the best that I've felt," Maybin said before the game. "... I was taking good, aggressive swings. I've gotten back to my old mechanics. Looking forward, this is the most excited I've been. I'm ready now to get back to doing what I can do. I like where I'm at."

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