His offense reeling again as another right-handed power arm settled into deep groove, Bud Black had good reason to turn to the 5-foot-6 Alexi Amarista in the seventh inning Sunday afternoon.

Some of it even had to do with matchup logic. All of it did actually, even if the Padres manager saw the irony in the moment.

“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.”

He did indeed.

Amarista celebrated his 25th birthday with a pinch-hit, three-run homer that backed six strong innings from Ian Kennedy, all of it helping the Padres snap a four-game skid with a 4-2 win over Miami in front of a crowd of 22,496 at Marlins Park.

The blast not only helped the Padres (2-4) avoid a sweep – not to mention matching the 1-5 start that sent Black’s team spiraling toward the bottom of the NL West last April – it ended a scoring drought that spanned their last 18 2/3 innings and gave the Padres their first lead since a stirring come-from-behind win over the Dodgers on opening night.