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Giles blasts two more homers in win

Giles blasts two more homers in win

CINCINNATI -- There's no telling exactly what got into Brian Giles these last three days in Cincinnati, though it's fair to say the Padres hope it sustains the four-hour charter ride back to San Diego.

Even during four consecutive 30-plus home runs seasons early in his career, Giles never hit five home runs in a three-game stretch, as he did this weekend while turning Great American Ball Park into his own playpen.

The 36-year-old isn't a bona fide power threat anymore, which is fine for the Padres, who have inserted him at the top of the order, charging him with the task of getting on base to help ignite a moribund offense.

But no one ever said how long Giles had to stay on base once he got there, which proved important again on Sunday, as Giles' two home runs helped to power the Padres to a 10-4 victory over the Reds in front of a crowd of 31,297.

"I've hit the ball like this before," said Giles, who last hit 30 or more home runs in 2002. "This park is a little easier. This park is a little more conducive to my power. I feel OK ... but I don't feel totally locked in."

It certainly looked like it.

Consider this: Giles came into this series with two home runs over his first 286 at-bats of the season. Then he goes and hits five in 13 at-bats against the Reds to help the Padres put a nice finish on a seven-game road trip that saw San Diego (63-54) win three games.

They certainly finished in fine style, setting franchise records for the most doubles (nine) and extra-base hits (12) to give starting pitcher Jake Peavy plenty of run support on a day when he said that his stuff was just "OK."

Giles started the game with a home run off Reds starter Bronson Arroyo (5-13) and then hit another off Arroyo in the fourth inning. It marked the first time since 2004 that Giles has hit home runs in three consecutive games.

"He's capable of that," Padres manager Bud Black said of Giles, who raised his average to .298, the highest it's been since May 12, a week before he went on the disabled list for five weeks with a bone bruise in his right knee.

"He plays hard. At the top of the order, he's done great things."

Giles certainly wasn't the only Padre to swing a hot bat on Sunday, as they had 15 hits by nine players. Shortstop Khalil Greene had four hits and knocked in three runs. Morgan Ensberg and Mike Cameron each had two hits.

"He hits doubles, extra-base hits and his slugging percentage is high," Black said of Greene, who has 66 RBIs this season. "He's got a great swing. When he's seeing the ball well, you'll see games like today."

Coming off a loss on Saturday, where they had only one run and two hits entering the ninth inning, the Padres handed the ball to Peavy, their stopper, who won the day after a San Diego loss for the eighth time this season.

With the Diamondbacks holding a four-game lead over the Padres entering the day, the 26-year-old right-hander considered Sunday's game about a big of a must-win game as they come.

"We had to come back and win this series after losing three in St. Louis," he said. "I'm proud of the way the boys battled. We were four games back [of Arizona] ... we had to win two of three."

Peavy (13-5) allowed two earned runs over 6 2/3 innings on seven hits. Peavy had five strikeouts and one walk in a 107-pitch outing that could have been considerably shorter had left fielder Rob Mackowiak not been charged with an error for dropping a fly ball in a two-run sixth inning.

"Everything was OK about today," Peavy said. "I was able to get some quick outs. I lost command of my fastball late."

When that occurred, Black went to his bullpen for reliever Heath Bell, who got Brandon Phillips to line out to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded to finish the seventh inning with the Padres holding a 6-4 lead.

The Padres then piled it on in the ninth inning with four runs, battering the Reds' bullpen.

Josh Bard had a two-run double early in the inning and Terrmel Sledge got his first hit of the season off a left-handed pitcher. Giles came to the plate, but the Reds, smartly, didn't want anything to do with him, as they pitched around him.

"It's big for us ... he's done extremely well since he's been back," Greene said of Giles. "He's consistently been on base, works counts. He has that ability."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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