Blue Jays-Padres Preview
The San Diego Padres seem to be benefiting from interleague play.
They're also finding success in extra innings.
A day after needing 17 innings to get their latest victory over an AL foe, the Padres will try to make things easier on themselves when they face the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday night.
San Diego (25-29) has won five of seven in interleague play after being swept in a three-game series at Tampa Bay from May 10-12.
The Padres are also 3-1 in extra innings, winning two of their last three when playing beyond the ninth.
Jesus Guzman delivered the decisive blow Friday, singling in Jedd Gyorko with two outs in the 17th to clinch a 4-3 victory in the opener of this three-game set.
The hit made Guzman 2 for 22 over his last 12 games.
Gyorko has been much more consistent, particularly at home and during interleague play. The rookie second baseman is batting .347 at pitcher-friendly Petco Park compared to .198 on the road.
He's also 10 for 25 (.400) with one homer, four RBIs and six runs in his last six contests against AL opponents.
With originally scheduled starter Clayton Richard getting the win in relief Friday, the Padres will recall Robbie Erlin from Triple-A Tucson to make his first career start.
"We talked about it, whether to use a position player or go to one of our starters, and we felt that was the thing to do," manager Bud Black said. "We wanted to win the game."
That leaves Black relying on Erlin, whose only experience in the majors is allowing two runs in two innings over two relief outings before returning to the minors May 2.
The 22-year-old left-hander is 4-0 with a 3.79 ERA in eight games - all starts - for Tucson, but he's pitched past the fifth inning just once. That could be an issue since the Padres used eight pitchers Friday.
Toronto (23-32), which has dropped four of five on the road, is in the same position after going to the bullpen seven times in the opener. However, the Blue Jays are scheduled to turn to Mark Buehrle (2-3, 5.51 ERA), who is second among active pitchers with 2,746 innings pitched and fifth with 28 complete games.
He's completed at least six innings in each of his last six starts.
The veteran left-hander did that again Monday, allowing one run with six strikeouts in six innings of a 9-3 win over Atlanta. He had been 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA over his previous seven outings.
"Everything's been down in the zone, so when you're down in the zone pretty much the only thing they can do with it is hit it down," Buehrle told the team's official website. "It's always good when I'm getting ground balls instead of fly balls - I'll take fly-ball outs - but when they're hitting the ball on the ground, that's kind of my game."
Buehrle is 1-0 with a 0.54 ERA in two career starts versus the Padres. He was superb at Petco on May 2, 2012, tossing a five-hitter in a 4-1 win with Miami.
It's unclear if he'll have to face Yonder Alonso, who suffered a right hand contusion after being hit by a pitch from Aaron Loup in the seventh inning Friday. The first baseman has at least one hit in 16 of the past 19 games, compiling a .313 average.