SAN DIEGO -- Kevin Quackenbush recorded his first hold of the season on Sunday in the Padres' 2-1 win, pitching for the third consecutive day to tally his seventh scoreless appearance in a row.
With two runners on and the Padres clinging to a one-run lead in the seventh, it was arguably the highest-leverage situation Quackenbush had been placed in this season. He responded by blowing away left-handed pinch-hitter Roger Kieschnick with a fastball up in the zone for strike three to end the threat.
"It's exciting -- your adrenaline's definitely going, your blood's flowing pretty good," Quackenbush said. "It's a good time to be out there."
With Nick Vincent injured and Alex Torres likely unavailable after pitching in the Padres' last four games, Padres manager Bud Black had no hesitations calling on the rookie over established setup man Joaquin Benoit.
"I trusted him to get the lefty out," Black said. "Quack's been really good for us, and he delivered."
Since allowing a walk-off home run to A.J. Pollock in a loss to Arizona on May 26, Quackenbush has given up earned runs in just one of his 15 appearances, a span of 13 innings.
"I've just been trying to get [hitters] with strike one and see where the at-bat goes from there," Quackenbush said.
And after being shuttled between Triple-A El Paso and the Majors four times between April 25 and May 17, he seems to have finally carved out a permanent role in the Padres 'pen for 2014.
Smith striving to break out of funk, make All-Star push
SAN DIEGO -- Despite an 0-for-11 cold streak in San Diego's last three games entering Sunday, Seth Smith is still the Padres' position player most deserving of an All-Star nod -- though it will be an uphill climb for the surprise breakout player.
Smith leads the Padres in virtually every offensive category -- batting average (.280), on-base percentage (.385), slugging percentage (.498), home runs (8), RBIs (24), doubles (17), triples (4) and walks (36). He's also yet to make an error in the outfield this season.
But he isn't listed on the All-Star ballot since he wasn't expected to be a full-time starter for San Diego at the beginning of the season. He could be voted in as a write-in candidate, and it's possible that he could be one of five candidates included in MLB's Final Vote.
It's not too late to make a push for the Padres on the National League ballot before the team is announced next Sunday.
San Diego players on the ballot include shortstop Cabrera, first baseman Yonder Alonso, second baseman Jedd Gyorko, third baseman Chase Headley, catcher Yasmani Grandal and outfielders Chris Denorfia, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.comaccount, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.comaccount.
Fans this year once again can participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2014 Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 14.
The 2014 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5-6, with further details to follow on MLB.com. Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters, fans can begin voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over the balloting period.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online atMLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Will Laws is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.