Surging Phillies complete sweep of Padres

Surging Phillies complete sweep of Padres

SAN DIEGO -- With a strong start from Jerome Williams, who completed seven innings for the first time this season, the Phillies beat the Padres, 5-3, on Sunday afternoon at Petco Park.

The Phillies have swept three series since the All-Star break and have four sweeps on the season. Philadelphia owns the best record in the Majors (16-5) in the second half.

"Well, we're playing better baseball," Chase Utley said. "I can't necessarily put my finger on it, but were definitely playing better baseball."

Odubel Herrera blasted 425-foot solo homer to right field in the sixth. The Phillies added two more in the eight when Utley hit a two-run double. Andrew Cashner's record is 4-12 after going 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and striking out four for the loss.

Hail, Cesar: Cesar Hernandez played second base for the first time since Thursday with Utley back on the roster, but he did not miss a beat. He singled and scored a run in the first inning to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead and singled to score Freddy Galvis from third base in the seventh inning to give them a 3-1 lead. Hernandez is hitting .329 (57-for-173) with nine doubles, three triples, 17 RBIs and a .799 OPS in 43 games since June 17. More >

"If you play every day that's what happens," Hernandez said. "You feel more comfortable at the plate."

Hernandez's RBI single

New look with lefty: The Padres acquired Marc Rzepczynski at the Trade Deadline to help boost their lefty presence in the bullpen. With runners on the corners, Rzepczynski struck out Herrera. After intentionally walking Maikel Franco, the left-hander struck out Ryan Howard to end the inning.

Rzepczynski escapes jam with K

Williams deals: Phillies left-hander Williams has struggled this year, but he put together his finest pitching performance of the season. He threw a season-high seven innings, allowing five hits and one run and striking out three. More >

"Keeping the ball down," Williams said. "If I consciously keep the ball down I get my ground balls. And then sometimes maybe if I do throw one up in the zone, I have been so conscious of being down they miss the pitch."

Williams' one-run outing

Asche got hops: The Padres were in desperate need for some scoring, but Cody Asche made sure that didn't happen. Derek Norris hit what looked like a potential home run to left field, but Asche leaped up against the wall to rob Norris of the long ball. Asche had no reaction at the time because he said he did not know until after the game that he saved a home run.

"I saw a GIF of it," Asche said. "I got a Snapchat from my wife, too. If I do stuff good she usually does the replay on the phone for me. The lady's face behind it was pretty priceless. But as far as robbing homers go, it was probably a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10."

Asche's leaping catch robs homer

"I think guys are playing with confidence at this point. I think the more games under your belt, the more plate appearances, the more time on the mound, the more confidence you can build. So, obviously a 100-some odd games into the season you can see that confidence coming out of a lot of the guys." -- Utley, who successfully deflected a question about how the team's change in managers has influenced the Phillies' turnaround

"We played good baseball for a while and have definitely been scuffling a little bit here lately. Probably just pressing a little too much, but I still believe in these guys in here. It's a long season. We'll come out of it." -- Cashner on Padres losing streak More >

Herrera extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He is hitting .377 (20-for-53) in that stretch.

Phillies: The Phillies head to Phoenix, where they open a three-game series Monday at 9:40 p.m. ET against the D-backs at Chase Field. Right-hander Aaron Harang (4-11, 4.11 ERA) makes his third start since returning from the disabled list with left-foot plantar fasciitis.

Padres:The Padres will continue their six-game homestand as the Reds visit San Diego for a three-game series starting Monday at 7:10 p.m. PT. Ian Kennedy (6-10, 4.49 ERA) will take the mound.

Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.