The San Diego Padres have been a great bounceback team, turning
losses into motivation and, usually, a win the next day.
After a pair of disasters in the desert, the Padres were in dire
need of any kind of victory.
Of course they came through.
Mat Latos pitched six scoreless innings in a combined
three-hitter, Jerry Hairston Jr. created havoc from the leadoff
spot and the Padres beat Arizona 10-1 on Sunday to avoid a
three-game sweep by the last-place Diamondbacks.
”The thing we’ve been doing all season is showing our
resiliency, coming back from losses and responding the next day,”
manager Bud Black said. ”So that was good.”
Atop the NL West since mid-June, the Padres have seen their lead
over San Francisco slowly dwindle over the past two weeks. After
losing a pitchers’ duel to the Diamondbacks on Friday and an
emotional walk-off defeat the next night – the sixth in nine games
– San Diego’s division lead was just one.
Needing a win maybe more than they have all season, the Padres
put together a solid all-around game, scoring four runs off Joe
Saunders (1-1) in the fourth inning on the way to 12 hits and
getting another predictably solid outing by Latos.
Hairston triggered the offense with three hits, including his
ninth homer, four runs and two RBIs. Always-steady Adrian Gonzalez
drove in two runs and Chris Denorfia added a two-run homer to give
San Diego a two-game cushion heading into a home series against
Pittsburgh that preludes a 10-game road trip.
”We had a pretty rough series and we battled real well,” Latos
said. ”It was really important to get this win right here.”
Latos absorbed a tough-luck loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday, when
he allowed two runs over six innings. The big right-hander got some
support this time and was even better on the mound, baffling
Arizona’s hitters with his big overhand curveball and a fastball
that reached 97 mph.
Latos worked around four walks over the first three innings
thanks to five strikeouts and became more aggressive in the strike
zone after that, allowing two hits before being replaced by Ernesto
Frieri to start the seventh. He’s allowed two or fewer runs in 15
of his last 16 starts, going 11-2 with a 1.57 ERA.
”He’s got a lively ball,” Arizona interim manager Kirk Gibson
said. ”He’s tall, he throws on a downhill plane, got a good
breaking ball, a good changeup. He’s got very good control and
knows how to pitch.”
Saunders had been superb in two games since being acquired from
the Angels for Dan Haren in a multiplayer deal. The left-hander won
at Philadelphia in his debut, then tossed a five-hit shutout
against Washington on Tuesday in his first home game.
This one wasn’t quite as sharp.
The Padres picked away at Saunders early, getting an RBI single
from Scott Hairston in the second inning and a just-over-the-wall
solo homer to left by Jerry Hairston in the third.
San Diego poured it on in the fifth, getting RBI singles from
Jerry Hairston and Gonzalez, Ryan Ludwick’s sacrifice fly and
another run on left fielder Gerardo Parra’s throwing error that
elicited boos from the crowd.
Saunders lasted six innings, giving up five earned runs and
”I thought my command was off – couldn’t really throw strike
one – and that’s what kind of hurt me, put them into hitters’
counts,” Saunders said. ”When they didn’t hit the ball hard, it
seemed like they found a hole.”
San Diego made it 8-0 in the seventh inning off Blaine Boyer on
Gonzalez’s run-scoring single and Ludwick’s double-play grounder.
Denorfia hit his eighth homer off Rafael Rodriguez in the ninth,
putting the Padres up 10-1 and in a better frame of mind heading
into the final third of the season.
”The strength of what we have going on is that we’re focused on
the Padres,” Black said. ”We know that we have to do our
NOTES: A scoring change from Saturday night’s game took away an
error from Arizona 3B Bobby Crosby in the seventh inning and gave a
hit to Miguel Tejada. … Diamondbacks 3B Mark Reynolds was 0 for 4
after missing the previous three games due to a pitch that hit him
on the helmet last Tuesday. He also made a tough barehanded putout
on Denorfia’s bunt attempt in the third inning. … Frieri had his
career-starting scoreless streak end at 10 2-3 innings on Chris
Young’s RBI single in the seventh inning.