Our start this year has been nice considering how last year went. Coming into this season, I really didn't know what to expect, to be honest. Our team was so unsettled late in the spring that you would probably have been wrong to conclude anything. Any sort of guess would have been premature.

It turns out that we're pretty good, and we do the little things right. We take pride in that, and it seems to be paying off a little bit.

I can't really point to one or two things to which I can attribute our success so far. That, by definition, shows it's been a real team effort.

If you look at how we've won games, it varies on a game-by-game basis. It seems like the days we're pitching well, we've scored what we needed to score, and the days our pitching hasn't been there, we've scored a lot of runs.

We haven't really blown out too many games, and we've stolen a few games late by not throwing in the towel. When we win, we're just outscoring the opposition by a run or two.

In those close games, you really rely on your bullpen and, historically, San Diego has really thrived in those late innings. That's held true this season, too. The bullpen has been doing its job in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings for us.

My role is to be a cog in the wheel. That's the way it should be. I'm part of a lineup that's starting to become greater than the sum of its parts. That's another reason we've been winning.

With our lineup, the key going forward will be to keep doing the little things. I don't think we're going to out-slug anyone playing half the games in our park -- it's simply not a stadium that's conducive to out-hitting anyone.

Jody Gerut is off to a solid start and is splitting time in center field this season with right-handed-hitting teammate Scott Hairston. An Elmhurt, Ill., native and former Stanford standout, Gerut hit 14 homers last season in his return from a 32-month absence following knee surgery. He has a .270 career average.