The Padres were out to beat the heck out of Ricky Nolasco, the 30-year-old right-hander who’s likely in the last of his eight seasons with the Marlins.

Mission accomplished. Nolasco was pounded for 11 hits in a 9-2 loss by the National League’s worst outfit, a depleted ballclub that's been particularly futile against the Padres, who've shut out the Marlins twice and outscored them 20-3 in four games this season.

At the same time, people were trying to project him in a Padres uniform, counting Nolasco (4-8, 3.93) among the starting pitchers they’d consider bringing to San Diego for a second-half run. Along with their National League West Division rivals in Los Angeles, the suddenly-buying Padres are believed to be interested in making a trade for Nolasco or another right-hander, Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs.

"Rumors," said Padres manager Bud Black. "And you know what they say about rumors."

Whatever "they" say, the rumors of Nolasco being among the premier players on the trading block weren't' exactly refuted by one visual. That is, the sight in one special section of Marlins Park that was loaded with professional scouts representing several major league clubs. Not incidentally, with the club on the start of this 10-game road trip along the East is A.J. Hinch, vice-president and assistant general manager.

If anything, Nolasco got a first-hand view back at the Padres, who've roughed him up over the years. He's now 4-5 for his career against San Diego with an ERA of 5.03.

To be sure, the Padres are much improved since they beat him 1-0 in a three-game sweep of the Marlins at Petco Park. Nolasco was trailing another one-run game Friday night when four of the Padres’ 11 hits off him were recorded by the first four Padres batters in the sixth inning.

"He had a good breaking ball, a good moving fastball," said Black. "The mistakes he did make. we did some damage."

"We did a good job stringing together good hits, being aggressive on the fastball," said Venable, who had three of the hits and burned Nolasco with his glove as well. "But we try to do that with every pitcher."

Venable, clearly, knew where the question was headed. Do players, certainly not oblivious to the reports swirling around Nolasco, ever look at an opponent and try to picture him pitching for them?

"No, that's stuff for the front office," Venable said. "That's not something we think about. All we're thinking about Nolasco is that we had to face him today."

The game basically blew up on Nolasco in the sixth inning, his last. Chase Headley and Kyle Blanks scored on singles by Yasmani Grandal and Venable, chasing Nolasco from the game and bringing in Ryan Webb, a reliever the Padres once traded to Florida. Grandal then made it 6-2, dashing and sliding home on a throw from shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who’d been wiped out on a fielder’s-choice force at second by Venable.

Nolasco personally got stung by the sort of defensive prowess to which Padres starting pitchers – Edinson Volquez on this night – have grown accustomed. He thought he had a game-tying RBI with his liner to shallow right in the fourth, but Venable made another of his diving grabs for the third out.