Correia goes distance as Padres blank D-backs

BY foxsports • September 26, 2009

San Diego manager Bud Black is convinced. He thinks Kevin Correia should be in the Padres' rotation next season.

Correia tossed a six-hitter for his first complete game and San Diego beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-0 on Friday night.

Correia (12-10) struck out seven and walked one, yielding no extra-base hits. He was helped by two double plays.

"For me, absolutely," Black said when asked if Correia would be in his 2010 rotation. "We've seen Kevin make great strides. This type of performance, he has in him. I'm extremely happy for him to get a complete-game shutout. In this day and age, it's a rare performance. He was brilliant."

Adrian Gonzalez had two hits, drove in a run and scored for San Diego, which improved to 15-7 in September and 34-21 since July 28, the third-best record in the majors in that span.

Correia, who made the team after agreeing to a minor league deal last winter, has played a key role in the Padres' resurgence. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.90 ERA in his last six starts and has set career highs in virtually every pitching category in his first full season in a major league rotation.

"In past years, I've had some pretty good runs and I either didn't have the opportunity or didn't take advantage of it when I did. It's nice to finally establish myself as a major league starter," said Correia, a San Diego native who was used mostly in relief during his first six seasons with San Francisco.

"I had all four pitches working. The slider was pretty good. I was throwing it for a lot of strikes early. When I couldn't throw a fastball, I could throw a slider and get it over. That's huge, if you can throw a pitch besides a fastball for a strike when you need to."

Max Scherzer (9-11) gave up three runs and five hits in five innings. He struck out six.

Gonzalez walked and scored on Will Venable's single in San Diego's two-run fourth. Nick Hundley added a two-out RBI double.

David Eckstein walked with two outs in the fifth, stole second and scored on Gonzalez's single to right field. Gonzalez has 95 RBIs this season.

Correia helped himself in the seventh, singling with one out before being forced out at second on Tony Gwynn's grounder. Gwynn stole second and scored on Eckstein's single.

The Padres stole three bases in four attempts, and have swiped six bases in their last three meetings with Arizona.

Arizona (66-88) has lost 15 of 20 and fell 22 games under .500 for the first time this season.

The Diamondbacks got only two runners to second base. Scherzer singled with one out in the third and took second on a grounder to third, but Correia got another groundout to end the inning.

Justin Upton opened the fourth with a single and went to second on Miguel Montero's grounder, but Correia got two more groundouts to end the inning.

Correia got 19 outs by ground ball or strikeout.

"We've seen him enough to know how he's going to pitch," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "He had little better command of his breaking ball.

"He didn't throw many fastballs at all. He threw an array of breaking balls and changeups. When that happens, we get out of that productive zone and pitchers can make us look pretty defenseless, and he did that."

NOTES: Scherzer made his 30th and final start of the season, when he increased his total to 170 1-3 innings. The Diamondbacks had hoped to keep Scherzer between 170 and 175 innings this season, his first full season in the majors. "His year was very productive. I think he grew a lot as a pitcher," Hinch said. Scherzer finished with a 4.12 ERA and 174 strikeouts. ... San Diego 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff (calf) missed his 15th straight game. He has not played since Sept. 8. Kouzmanoff leads major league third basemen with a .990 fielding percentage and has made only three errors this season. He had 22 in 2007 and 11 in 2008.

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