New owners watch Padres beat Braves
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The San Diego Padres finally have things sorted out in the owner's box and on the field.
Hours after closing an $800 million deal to buy the team, the third generation of the O'Malley family met the players and coaching staff, and then watched as Chase Headley and the Padres beat the Atlanta Braves 8-2 Wednesday for their ninth win in 10 games.
Headley hit a two-run single and left-hander Eric Stults won his fourth straight decision as the Padres took two of three from the Braves, who lead the NL wild-card race.
Hours earlier, the new owners promised to run the Padres in the same first-class manner that Walter and Peter O'Malley once ran the Dodgers. The new ownership group includes Peter O'Malley's sons, Kevin and Brian, and nephews Peter and Tom Seidler. It also includes San Diego businessman Ron Fowler, the executive chairman who has been designated as the team's control person.
The new owners briefly spoke to the team before the game.
"We're excited," Headley said. "I think it's big. Finally there's a resolution. It seems like it's taken an awful long time since all this started. Everything I've heard, and just talking to those guys, they seem real excited. I think they're going to put the Padres in a real good situation to be successful."
Fowler stressed in a news conference and to the players that the owners want the focus to be on the players.
"One of the first things Ron said was this game is about the players and always has been about the players," Headley said. "It's good that they know that. Obviously, having a good relationship between the players and ownership, as well as with the front office, is key to being successful. It's exciting that it's over and we feel we have a tremendous group in place."
Manager Bud Black called it "a great day."
"Once the game started, baseball took over, which is what the new owners talked about," the manager said. "They talked about, this is about baseball, this is about the players, this is about the Padres. Our guys played a very good baseball game. The guys have been playing well, they've been playing hard. Against a very good Braves team, Stultsy and our offense and our defense and our bullpen did a nice job."
Headley's two-run single to right in the fifth inning off Tommy Hanson gave the Padres a 4-1 lead. Everth Cabrera reached second when his popup went over the head of retreating third baseman Chipper Jones as shortstop Paul Janish came in behind him. Jones was charged with an error. Will Venable singled and stole second, and both scored on Headley's single.
That gave Headley 30 RBIs in August, making him the eighth Padres player to get that many in a month. The last San Diego player with 30-plus RBIs in a month was Ryan Klesko in May 2001, when he set a team record with 40.
"If you're producing runs, regardless of how you're producing runs, I think you're going to be effective," Headley said. "I feel like this month I've had so many opportunities. We've had a lot of guys do a really good job and put a lot of pressure on the pitchers."
San Diego also scored two runs in the fourth. Yasmani Grandal drew a leadoff walk and Mark Kotsay hit a one-out single to right. Logan Forsythe doubled to left to bring in Grandal, and Cameron Maybin followed with a sacrifice fly.
The Padres added on in the eighth with a two-run single by pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia and RBI singles by Grandal and Yonder Alonso.
Atlanta scored an unearned run in the fifth. Michael Bourn's sacrifice fly brought in Dan Uggla, who singled and advanced to third on second baseman Forsythe's throwing error. David Ross homered leading off the ninth, his seventh.
Jones, who is retiring after this season, received a standing ovation in the eighth inning before his final at-bat in San Diego. He stepped out of the box and tipped his helmet to the crowd. Jones singled and was erased on an inning-ending double play.
He also received a nice gesture before his first at-bat, and stepped out to tip his helmet.
Jones made his big league debut for the Braves at San Diego on Sept. 11, 1993, back when the Padres played at Qualcomm Stadium.
"Obviously, a nice gesture by the fans a couple of times today," Jones said. "It was nice to get a hit my last at-bat. I've always enjoyed coming here to San Diego. It's been one of my favorite places to come."
Stults (4-2) allowed an unearned run on five hits in six innings, struck out five and walked two.
Hanson (12-7) gave up four runs, three earned, on eight hits in 4 2-3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.
NOTES: Padres C Nick Hundley had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and OF James Darnell had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. The team said both operations went well. In addition, farmhand Beamer Weems underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder. ... Both teams are off Thursday. The Braves return home to open a series against Philadelphia on Friday, when Mike Minor (7-10, 4.71 ERA) is scheduled to start opposite Roy Halladay (8-7, 3.88). The Padres head to Colorado, where on Friday lefty Clayton Richard (11-12, 3.72) is scheduled to start against Alex White (2-6, 5.49).