MLB

Padres closer Bell back, pitches scoreless inning

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP)

Heath Bell said he was nervous. It didn't show in his performance.

Bell struck out a pair of hitters in a scoreless inning and the San Diego Padres rallied for a 7-6 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.

The two-time NL All-Star had missed San Diego's first seven exhibition games with a strained left calf. Bell, who was second in the NL with 47 saves and tied for eighth in voting for the NL Cy Young Award, threw 10 of 12 pitches for strikes.

''I felt really good,'' he said. ''I wanted to go out there and throw low strikes and I think I accomplished that except for the breaking stuff.''

Padres starting pitcher Mat Latos wasn't as sharp. Latos was pulled after getting just two outs. He allowed three runs on two hits and two walks. In his previous start, Latos walked four batters.

Latos, who was 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA last season, felt like he made the proper technical adjustments but wasn't getting calls from plate umpire Ron Kulpa.

''I executed what I needed to do,'' Latos said. ''I was finishing, following through. I feel like I was throwing a lot more strikes than what was being called. There's nothing I can do about it.''

Padres manager Bud Black doesn't see any issues with Latos' pitches. But he does believe Latos isn't pitching in rhythm and has some issues he must resolve before his next outing.

''Mat again was a little too erratic,'' Black said. ''He doesn't look comfortable.

Athletics first baseman Daric Barton left the game early after getting hit in the calf by Logan Forsythe while leaping for a high throw in the fourth inning.

''He just got kicked in the calf,'' Skinner said. ''It's nothing serious.''

Oakland would like to see Bobby Cramer replicate his outing Sunday as much as possible. The left-hander, who is fighting for the fifth spot in the A's starting rotation, allowed a hit and a walk in three scoreless innings.

''Cramer threw the ball well out there,'' Oakland bench coach Joel Skinner said. ''And he fielded his position so everything went good.''

Cramer's main competition for the spot, Josh Outman, didn't fare as well. Outman allowed four runs on five hits and three walks and only lasted 1 1-3 innings.

San Diego's Jorge Cantu belted a two-run shot off Outman in the second inning. The Padres won in the ninth inning on Mike Baxter's one-out sacrifice fly to right field.

Josh Willingham, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Kurt Suzuki each had an RBI for Oakland. Suzuki went 2 for 3 with a double. San Diego is hopeful center fielder Cameron Maybin can return to the lineup Monday after missing five games with concussion-like symptoms.

Maybin took batting practice Sunday after a second straight day of improved health. It was the second time Maybin has swung a bat since he hit his head on a post on the outfield fence during a pregame workout Wednesday morning. Maybin said he experienced blurry vision and headaches for 72 hours after hitting his head.

''The last two days I've felt pretty good,'' Maybin said. ''Hopefully I'll be back out there soon.''

Maybin said he took 50-60 swings in the batting cage Saturday. The Padres have held Maybin out of the lineup as a precaution.

''Hopefully (Monday) he can get in there,'' Black said.

Tagged: Athletics, Padres, Heath Bell, Cameron Maybin, Josh Outman, Mat Latos, Bobby Cramer

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