'Bench' marks the spot

'Bench' marks the spot

Miguel Ojeda provided the theatrics on Monday night at Petco. And if it wasn't him, it would have been Geoff Blum or Robert Fick or Mark Sweeney or...

The Padres are spelling bench W-I-N.

Miguel Ojeda's two-out double just inside the foul line in the ninth inning of Monday's game punctuated what has been a stellar showing from the reserves.

"I just go out there and try to hit the ball as hard as I can and believing that every time I swing the bat, something good is going to happen," Ojeda said.

And Ojeda was simply the last in line of a bunch of Padre' reserves that have come through in the clutch.

Geoff Blum returned from the disabled list earlier than expected May 18 to take injured Mark Loretta's spot at second ... then moved to third to sub for the injured Sean Burroughs with Damian Jackson moving into second.

The result:

Blum is hitting .262 with three doubles, six RBIs and eight runs since being inserted into the starting lineup. And Jackson went 5-for-15 with seven runs and a two-run, game-winning single Sunday in San Francisco.

"I just can't say enough about the play of our bench," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's not just this past week. It's been since the season opened."

In early April, Xavier Nady was in center field because Dave Roberts was on the disabled list. The day that Roberts returned from the disabled list (April 18), shortstop Khalil Greene was lost for 22 games with a broken right ring finger.

Plus, the Padres lost one of their key bench players four games into the season when Eric Young suffered a dislocated shoulder running into the center-field fence in the Padres' home opener at Petco Park.

Burroughs has missed 12 starts due to hamstring and quadriceps problems.

Blum has already made 24 starts this season at second, third and short. Jackson has made 12 starts at the same three positions plus one game in the outfield. Nady has made 23 starts in the outfield and at third.

Right-handed rookie Tim Stauffer has already made four starts in Woody Williams' slot in the rotation (the Padres have won three of those games) while left-hander Darrell May has made three starts in the troublesome No. 5 spot. And the Padres are 2-1 in those games, although May has allowed 11 runs on 18 hits in 13 innings.

Any way you slice it, the Padres have climbed out from the cellar to the penthouse because of contributions from the bench.

"When you play like this, you are doing everything right," outfielder Brian Giles added. "We're getting big hits. We're playing defense. We're making the routine plays. Then we're making some great plays."

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