MIAMI (AP) — Alexi Amarista was glad to get an opportunity to play on his birthday, even if he had to wait six innings.
Amarista celebrated his 25th birthday by delivering a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning to lift the San Diego Padres to a 4-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Sunday.
"I was happy," Amarista said. "Instead of me getting gifts from my teammates, I gave a gift to the team. After all that we went through this series, to get a 'W' the way we did and come through on my birthday is something I'm not going to forget."
Will Venable and Tommy Medica singled with one out in the seventh. Nathan Eovaldi was able to get Yasmani Grandal to ground out before Amarista came to plate.
Batting for pitcher Ian Kennedy, Amarista drove the ball over the right-field wall on the ninth pitch of the at-bat for a 3-1 lead.
"He's a little guy, but he's got a little sock on the pull side," Padres manager Bud Black said.
Amarista, a center fielder, was held out of the starting lineup, but came through when he got his chance.
"Some guys were giving me a hard time, you always play a guy on his birthday," Black said. "We didn't start him, but he sort of showed me I guess."
Kennedy (1-1) was sharp, using his fastball and curveball as he allowed one run and three hits in six innings. He struck out five before exiting in favor of Amarista.
"It's a good birthday gift for him," Kennedy said. "If he does that every single time, that's pretty awesome."
Four relievers then helped the Padres end a four-game losing streak, including two against the Marlins to begin the series. Huston Street pitched the ninth for his second save.
"No doubt it was a good win. You hate to leave on a loss, especially a sweep," Black said.
Eovaldi (1-1) held the Padres scoreless through six. Eovaldi struck out eight, which tied a career high.