Middlebrooks serving as offensive catalyst

Third baseman homers, drives in two runs Friday vs. Reds

Middlebrooks serving as offensive catalyst

CINCINNATI -- In the first month of the season, Will Middlebrooks struggled to string together two hits, though it wasn't so much because he was overmatched.

At times, the Padres third baseman felt like he was snake-bit more than anything else, and he had the BABIP (batting average on balls in play) to prove it.

"I know I've said it over and over again, but the first month, I felt I was lining out twice a game," said Middlebrooks, who hit .222 in April.

Has his luck finally changed?

On Friday, Middlebrooks knocked in two runs, one coming on his eighth home run of the year, in the Padres' 6-2 win over the Reds, as they won for the eighth time in their last 11 games.

Middlebrooks' sac fly

It has been Middlebrooks who has done a lot of the offensive damage during this recent run of good fortune for the Padres, as he's hitting .333 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in the Padres' last 12 games, a span of 45 at-bats.

Better still, the Padres are 8-4 in those games.

"I'm attacking my pitch, the fastball. If I have the plan at the time where I think I'm going to get a breaking ball, then I will attack that, too," Middlebrooks said. "Things are falling. They never even out, unfortunately. When it's good, it never lasts. And when it's bad, it never lasts.

"It's baseball. It's a rollercoaster that we live. You just try to be consistent."

The Padres -- who reached the .500 mark at 28-28 for the first time since May 19 with their victory -- have been more steady on offense of late. They jumped on Reds rookie Jon Moscot, making his Major League debut, for two runs in the first inning Friday.

Middlebrooks had a sacrifice fly in the first inning, then added a home run in the third inning.

What has manager Bud Black seen in the last two weeks from Middlebrooks?

"I think [it's] more aggression early in the count, turning it loose, not sitting back trying to get in a good hitters' count," he said. "I think a little more conviction to turn the bat loose from the first pitch on. We want him swinging early in the count at fastball strikes.

"That's the thing we've talked to Will about. That's the thing we're seeing."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.