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Padres earn third straight walk-off win

Amarista delivers the winning RBI single in 10th

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SAN DIEGO -- Three consecutive victories, all in extra innings and all in walk-off fashion. It was more than Padres manager Bud Black could wrap his head around Saturday.

"These are," he said, "unexplainable events."

But enjoyable, nonetheless, even if Black wasn't in the dugout to witness Alexi Amarista's bloop single to center field in the 10th inning that sent the Padres to a 2-1 victory over the Dodgers in front of a sold-out crowd of 43,926 at Petco Park.

Black was ejected by first-base umpire Clint Fagan during the top of the 10th inning when he disputed -- rather vehemently -- a swinging strike call on Yasiel Puig with Matt Kemp at second base and two outs.

"That was a critical point of the game," Black said. "I thought he swung … bottom line."

San Diego reliever Tim Stauffer (6-2) struck out Puig anyway, preserving the tie, setting up another win in their final at-bat, the first time the Padres have done so in three consecutive games since 1986.

Will Venable singled to start the inning and stole second base. After Rymer Liriano struck out, Venable raced home with the game-winning run when Amarista dumped a single into center field off of Jamey Wright (4-4).

Venable got a good read on the hit, which hung perilously in the air far longer than he cared for.

"They're [Dodgers] playing in and in that situation, I didn't go immediately," Venable said. "But once the ball got over my head, I just felt like I needed to go. I wanted to be aggressive."

The three consecutive victories in extra innings by the Padres (64-70) mark the first time it's occurred in franchise history.

The Padres are 16-10 in August and 23-16 since the All-Star break. Overall, they have won their last four games. So what's going on here, exactly?

"We're in games and very rarely is there a lopsided score one way or the other," Black said. "And our pitching has been stellar all year."

It was Saturday, as well, with starting pitcher Ian Kennedy, who took a one-hit shutout into the sixth inning before allowing a two-out home run to former Padre Adrian Gonzalez.

That was about the only mistake Kennedy made, as he allowed the one run on four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in seven innings. He got a lot of mileage out of his fastball and changeup combination.

"I was getting ahead of a lot of guys early on and they were aggressive early. I wanted to throw a lot of quality strikes early on," Kennedy said.

His counterpart, Zack Greinke of the Dodgers, was equally good.

Greinke allowed one run on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in eight innings.

The Padres struck first, as they scored a run in the third inning as Rene Rivera doubled and later scored when Kennedy doubled to center field.

After dropping eight of their first 11 games to the Dodgers (76-60) this season, the Padres have won three of the last four meetings and on Sunday will attempt to complete a three-game sweep.

"They pitch, they catch it. Bud does a great job with the club over there. They play hard, keep playing. It seems all the games are decided like this one," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.

"It seems every time we play San Diego, we're not swinging good. It goes back to the guys over there, give them credit, they did a nice job with us and we have to make adjustments back. We have to understand what they are doing."

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Hoffman inducted into Padres Hall of Fame

Closer spent 16 seasons in San Diego, racking up over 550 saves

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SAN DIEGO -- During the summer of 1990, In the waning days of his playing career, Glenn Hoffman got a phone call from his younger brother, Trevor.

Trevor Hoffman was playing in low Class-A ball in the Reds organization as a shortstop. He had a live arm but was struggling offensively.

As the story goes, the Reds asked the younger Hoffman to throw a few bullpens on the side to see if he could potentially make the move to pitcher.

Trevor Hoffman was, naturally, a little skeptical.

"He called me and I told him I thought it was a good thing," said Glenn Hoffman, now the third base coach for the Padres, then a player-coach for Triple-A Albuquerque in his final year of a 14-year professional career.

"I told him they must have seen something in him and that he should just do the best with it that he can. He took that to heart."

Did he ever.

On Saturday, the Padres inducted Hoffman into their Hall of Fame during a 20-minute ceremony at Petco Park. Prior to the Padres game against the Dodgers, family, friends and fans celebrated with Hoffman, who earned 552 of his 601 career saves in 16 seasons in San Diego.

Hoffman became the ninth member in the team's Hall of Fame, joining Buzzie Bavasi, Nate Colbert, Jerry Coleman, Tony Gwynn, Randy Jones, Ray Kroc, Dick Williams and Dave Winfield.

Statistics aside, the tenor of the ceremony focused more on Hoffman the man than Hoffman the closer.

"This is not about 600 saves, this is about integrity and character," said longtime broadcaster Ted Leitner, who emceed the ceremony.

There was a video tribute to Hoffman set to his famed entrance music -- Hells Bells -- and an unveiling of a mock-up of a plaque that will eventually go in the team's new Hall of Fame area at the ballpark.

Finally, Hoffman, flanked by his wife, Tracy, and their three sons, stood and spoke to the crowd.

"I feel like Hells Bells gave me a charge … I don't know about you guys," said Hoffman, who is currently the Padre organization's upper level pitching coordinator.

Afterwards, he met with reporters, and talked about his auspicious start in San Diego in 1993, the deal that brought him here -- the team traded Gary Sheffield away as part of their infamous 'fire sale' -- and what being a Padre means to him.

"There was a lot of pressure to prove myself," he said of his debut with the team. "It didn't go well the first couple of outings. But in time, I hoped the fans would appreciate the blue collar work ethic."

And, of course, they appreciated the saves -- so many saves. He led the league with 53 of them during that magical season in 1998 when they reached the World Series and then again in 2006 (46), as the team won the NL West.

His last season in San Diego was 2008. He played 2009-10 with the Brewers, earning save No. 600 with Milwaukee in 2010. He didn't start out as a Padre or finish his career as one, but for Hoffman, that's all he'll ever be -- and ever want to be known as.

"I appreciate being called a Padre," Hoffman said. "I enjoyed being referred to as a Padre. We have to continue to embrace that."

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Hoffman's HOF induction seems inevitable

Joining the Padres Hall a step towards Cooperstown for closer

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SAN DIEGO -- Trevor Hoffman was inducted into the Padres' Hall of Fame on Saturday, which was a nice honor for the National League's all-time leader with 601 saves. But this is just Hoffman's appetizer for 2016.

The closer's almost certain election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame seems as destined as the tide coming in or a Tony Gwynn base hit through the 5.5 hole.

"Certainly it would be a dream come true," Hoffman said after the Petco Park ceremony, addressing the issue publicly for the first time. "There's no sure ticket for specialty guys like me. I will be watching very interestingly."

The glass ceiling for closers was shattered in 1992 with the induction of Rollie Fingers and subsequent elections of Dennis Eckersley, Bruce Sutter and Rich "Goose" Gossage have paved the path to the Cooperstown, N.Y., for other great relievers.

Eckersley pitched the first half of his career as a starter and the second as a lights-out reliever. John Smoltz, who won 210 games and saved another 154 for the Braves, is on the ballot, along with Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, for the first time at the end of this year. Smoltz will get in, if not in 2015, then soon after.

Hoffman is eligible for the Class of 2016 and Yankees great Mariano Rivera, who saved a record 652 regular season games and 42 more in the postseason, will complete the cast in 2019.

"I think Mo is a slam dunk for sure," Hoffman said. "We can say our careers paralleled each other a little bit, but when you're talking about the greatest closer of all time, that sets him apart."

Comparatively, though, Hoffman certainly is the greatest closer in NL history.

"I don't know if that's a ticket to Cooperstown. You and I both know that," he said. "But I appreciate it. It's something I didn't allow myself to think about as a player. I remember Tony answering questions about it and him waiting nervously for that phone call. 'Do you realize your place in the game and what you've accomplished?' And still there was that 'not sure' attitude. I get that. I understand that. There are contemporaries I [compare] to as well. So, we'll see. I hope things happen."

Gwynn, who batted .338, amassed 3,141 hits and won a record-tying eight National League batting titles, passed away after a long battle with cancer on June 16 at the age of 54. He was elected on the first ballot just behind Cal Ripken Jr. in 2007 with 97.6 of the vote, just 13 of the 545 ballots cast short of unanimous.

Gwynn is one of the 11 men to play or manage at least a part of their careers in San Diego with a plaque in the famed museum in central New York. But he's the only one to spend his entire 20-year career with the Padres.

Among the others are Fingers and Gossage, manager Dick Williams and Dave Winfield. The latter duo are both in Cooperstown and the once seemingly dormant Padres Hall of Fame. Winfield entered the National Hall in 2001 and was the first player to wear a Padres cap.

Locally, Hoffman joins Gwynn, Winfield, Randy Jones and Nate Colbert as the only players in the Padres Hall. Williams was the previous person inducted, in 2009, a year after he and Gossage were elected to Cooperstown.

With the death of Gwynn, Hoffman has certainly inherited the mantle of moving the 46-year-old franchise's legacy forward.

"I certainly appreciate all that Tony represented and will try and -- not necessarily to pick up the torch -- but remember things he stood for and do so as well," Hoffman said.

He has quite a job ahead of him. The Padres have never won a World Series, had a hurler pitch a no-hitter or had anyone hit for the cycle. The Padres haven't been to the postseason since 2006. During Hoffman's 16-year tenure, which ended when he left for the Brewers as a free agent after the 2008 season, the Padres went to the postseason only four times and to the World Series only once, in 1998, when they were swept by the Yankees.

There are several gaping differences between Hoffman, Gwynn and Rivera. Hoffman's postseason numbers: four saves, a 1-2 record and 3.46 ERA in 12 appearances. Plus, unlike the two aforementioned players, Hoffman didn't start or end his career with the same team.

Hoffman was drafted by the Reds and played shortstop in the Minors before he was converted to a reliever. He was selected by the Marlins in the expansion draft before the 1993 season and traded to the Padres only months later in the famous fire-sale deal that sent Gary Sheffield to Florida.

Along the way, Hoffman recorded 552 of his saves for the Padres, second all-time (behind Rivera) with a single club. But it was Hoffman's presence in the clubhouse that was the real signature of his forceful personality.

"He was a very special person," said Greg Maddux, who played almost two seasons with Hoffman and was honored by the Padres on Friday night for his recent induction in Cooperstown. "He was a very good teammate, a very good leader. He led by example. I think Tony Gwynn was the face of the Padres forever and I think Trevor took over for Tony when Tony stopped playing."

For that reason, among so many others, it was strange that Hoffman had a rocky departure from the Padres because of a contract dispute after the 2008 season. He was given a low-ball offer that was ultimately pulled off the table.

"It wasn't the path that it was going to happen," he said about finishing his career in San Diego. "When we came to the fork in the road, it wasn't choose one, it was take that one."

His 600th save came at Milwaukee's Miller Park for the Brewers on Sept. 7, 2010. A few months later he retired. In the end, all was forgiven and Hoffman returned to his old club in a front office capacity. During the 2011 season, his No. 51 was retired, joining Winfield, Gwynn, Jones and Steve Garvey as the only ones placed by the club forever in mothballs. Like Maddux in Texas, Hoffman is now the upper level Minor League pitching coordinator and is putting his imprint on the young pitchers in the organization.

His inevitable election to Cooperstown will simply close the circle.

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Benoit sidelined by shoulder pain

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SAN DIEGO -- Closer Joaquin Benoit, who went 11 days between appearances recently because of a sore right shoulder, will be sidelined again after the pain in his shoulder returned.

Benoit made two appearances, on Aug. 24 and 26, and felt soreness in his shoulder after the second of those appearances. He wasn't available to pitch Friday and manager Bud Black isn't sure when he'll be back.

But Black is adamant about one thing.

"He'll pitch [again]," Black said before Saturday's game against the Dodgers.

Benoit pitched on Aug. 13 and then didn't appear in a game again until that outing on Aug. 24. He said that he felt good after that appearance but the pain -- similar pain -- returned after his outing Aug. 26 against the Brewers.

"It was good for a couple of days and came back, we didn't give it enough time to let the inflammation go away," Benoit said. "So now we start over."

Benoit, in his first season with the Padres, is 4-2 with nine saves and a 1.58 ERA in 51 1/3 innings. He has been the closer since the team traded All-Star Huston Street to the Angels in July.

The team will use rookie Kevin Quackenbush as closer in the interim with Dale Thayer and Nick Vincent getting chances to set him up.

As for Benoit, he'll wait patiently like he did before.

"It's a situation where you have to let it get better," he said. "But I'll be back on the mound."

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Stults will try to complete sweep vs. Dodgers

Ryu returns from disabled list to face off vs. Stults

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On a fair amount of teams, left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu would be considered the ace of the staff. On the Dodgers, he's simply their third best pitcher. But that doesn't make them any less ecstatic to have him back.

Ryu left his start on Aug. 13 with a strained right gluteus muscle and was then placed on the disabled list in short order. The injury was never considered too serious, though, and now Ryu will be making his return on his first eligible day without a rehab start.

In 19 innings this season, Ryu has limited the Padres to just one run. Before the injury, Ryu had also struck out 39 in his last 38 2/3 innings overall compared with just six walks over that span.

Ryu's return also allows the Dodgers to bump right-hander Roberto Hernandez to Monday for the start of a series against the Nationals that could go a long way in determining the National League's top team. Hernandez has only surrendered one unearned run in 15 innings versus the Nationals this season

In the other corner is Padres' left-hander Eric Stults, who hasn't had the smoothest of seasons despite playing half his games in Petco Park.

But one thing is for certain, August has been a whole lot kinder to the veteran than any other month of the season.

Stults takes a 3-1 record and a 2.43 ERA in five starts this month into this start against the Dodgers on, fittingly, the final day of August.

The three wins are the most he's had in a single month and the 2.43 ERA is his best mark of the season by far. His previous best was a 4.50 ERA in the month of May.

He pitched through his struggles and worked on a few mechanical things to get himself right.

"If I was younger, it might have affected me more," Stults said recently. "But I've seen guys go through ups and downs. I knew that as long as I wasn't physically hurt, I had to think things would turn around."

And now he'll face the Dodgers, a team he's had success against, going 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts.

"The last few years he's learned how to feed off our hitters' aggressiveness. He never gives in. He's not afraid to throw any pitch in any count," said Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, who was a teammate of Stults coming through the Dodgers' Minor League system.

"I'm impressed with the way he controls his tempo. He used to be maximum effort every pitch. Now he's free and easy, so he can reach back when he wants to throw a fastball. He's pitching with a lot of confidence."

Dodgers: Big names expected back Monday
September's roster expansion couldn't come at a better time for the Dodgers, who are expecting a handful of key players back over the next few days.

Beyond activating left-hander Ryu for Sunday's start, third baseman Juan Uribe seems fully recovered from his hamstring injury and could be activated either Sunday or Monday.

Right-hander Chris Perez, who has been out since Aug. 4 with bone spurs in his right ankle, will also be activated Monday, according to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.

As for the youngsters, Mattingly hasn't fully showed his hand on which Minor Leaguers the Dodgers will bring up. But there are few players more worthy of a promotion than outfielder Joc Peterson and Mattingly confirmed as much by saying Saturday he's "one guy that deserves to get called up."

Padres: Walk-it Off
With Yasmani Grandal's walk-off single in the 12th inning Friday, the Padres have now won in walk-off fashion in consecutive games for the third time this season, having also done so Aug. 2 and 3 against the Braves and May 4 and 5 against the D-backs and the Royals. This is the first time in franchise history they've won consecutive games in walk-off fashion three different times in one season.

The last Major League team to win on walk-offs three or more times in a single season was the 2008 Giants, who did so four times.

Prior to this season, the last time the Padres had walk-off wins in consecutive games even once in a season was Aug. 3 and 4, 2007, against the Giants.

The Padres now have nine walk-off wins this season, tied for the fourth-most in the Major Leagues. Since the start of the 2005 season, the Padres have 86 walk-off wins, the most in Major League Baseball in that time.

Worth noting
• Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez was a late addition to the lineup card Saturday after leaving Friday's game early with a left leg injury. He finished 0-for-5.

• The Padres placed infielder Chris Nelson on the paternity leave list Saturday and replaced him on the active roster with right-hander Jesse Hahn.

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Quentin won't require knee surgery

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SAN DIEGO -- For the first time since learning that his season was finished because of a bone bruise in his left knee, Padres' outfielder Carlos Quentin talked about avoiding major surgery.

"No surgery, that's a relief, I just need some time to heal," Quentin told MLB.com. "It's nice to finally have a course of action for my knee."

Quentin, who last played July 26, had a second opinion recently on his knee by Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles. He's also the Dodgers' head physician. There was the possibility of microfracture surgery, a serious procedure and involves a lengthy rehabilitation period.

But Quentin was informed that he had an insufficiency fracture of the left knee, which is a subgroup of a stress fracture and is caused by stress upon a weakened bone.

Quentin hit .177 this season with four home runs and 18 RBIs in 130 at-bats. The knee has bothered him since Spring Training, when he injured it attempting a diving catch. He missed the first 39 games of the season because of it.

On some days, the knee felt good, on some days it didn't. Now, at least, Quentin said he has a plan to get the knee healthy for his offseason work.

"I have a course of action for my knee. The damage from the bone bruise was significant enough, there's a possible insufficiency fracture. Once I heal up, I feel confident I'll be back to full strength. I'm optimistic about that," said Quentin, who is under contract for next season.

Quentin said he received some bone marrow injections to help facilitate healing and he's also wearing a brace to take pressure off the bruise.

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Grandal delivers walk-off as Padres play spoiler

Cashner allows one run in six frames in first home start since June 18

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SAN DIEGO -- Up until his final at-bat Friday, Yasmani Grandal wasn't especially pleased with the way his offensive performance had gone against the Dodgers.

To that point, Grandal was 0-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts, not that he was willing to let himself mire in a pity party, not when his team desperately needed a run.

"Just because I struck out three times didn't mean I was going to give up that last at-bat, too," Grandal said."

It's a good thing that he didn't, as Grandal's run-scoring single with two outs in the 12th inning lifted the Padres to a 3-2 victory over the Dodgers before a crowd of 30,818 at Petco Park.

"He was down 0-2, laid off a few pitches, fouled a few pitches off and worked [the count] full and then KC [Dodgers reliever Kevin Correia] had to come in with a strike. It was a little bit up," said Padres manager Bud Black.

"That was a good one."

The 12th inning started with Correia (7-15) -- the former Padres pitcher -- allowing a single to Alexi Amarista. One out later, Correia walked Yangervis Solarte and then Abraham Almonte. That brought up Seth Smith, a lefty, with the bases loaded.

The Dodgers employed an unusual shift, using four players on the right side of the infield. Smith obliged by hitting a ball on the ground to second baseman Dee Gordon, who threw home for the force. Smith beat the return throw from A.J. Ellis to allow Grandal a chance to hit.

"That was something. I don't think I've ever seen that. You come to a ballpark every night, you're going to see something new," Black said.

Even Dodgers manager Don Mattingly admitted that four infielders on one side was rare.

"Smith is a shift-guy for us. But four on one side, usually we put three guys on that side. We practice that in Spring Training, but without that extra guy. I've never seen all of them on one side like that," he said.

The Padres saw something else that rated as fairly new Friday -- pitcher Andrew Cashner on the mound, making his first start at Petco Park since June 18. Cashner, who missed 51 games while on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder, made his first start last week against the D-backs.

He admitted to feeling more comfortable against the Dodgers, especially with his changeup, as he went six innings, allowing one run on six hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.

"I thought I was a lot sharper," Cashner said. "The biggest thing tonight was the movement on my sinker and the release point and depth on the sinker."

Cashner also benefited from a nice running catch in right field by rookie outfielder Rymer Liriano, who hauled in a ball off the bat of Gordon to end the fifth inning with a runner on, just before face-planting into the fence. That catch saved a run.

For the longest time, it didn't appear as if extra innings would be necessary.

With the Dodgers (76-59) trailing 2-1, Hanley Ramirez tied the game with a home run -- his 13th of the season -- off reliever Dale Thayer in the eighth inning.

The Padres used Thayer in the ninth inning because Kevin Quackenbush would have closed, because the closer, Joaquin Benoit, has a recurring sore right shoulder, which bothered him earlier this month. He will not likely be available for a few days.

Blaine Boyer gave the Padres (63-70) two scoreless innings and Tim Stauffer pitched a scoreless 12th inning for the victory. All told, six Padres pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts.

The Padres got a sacrifice fly from Rene Rivera in the second inning for an early 1-0 lead and then a two-out, RBI single by Amarista in the third inning off Dodgers pitcher Dan Haren.

Haren allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits over six innings with one walk and three strikeouts.

The Dodgers got three hits from Justin Turner and three more from Ramirez, who also drove in the first run of the game for Los Angeles with an RBI double in the third inning.

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Cabrera set for Minor League rehab assignment

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SAN DIEGO -- Shortstop Everth Cabrera, on the disabled list since Aug. 10 with a left hamstring strain, will join Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore soon for a Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment.

Lake Elsinore plays at home this weekend and finishes its California League regular-season schedule Monday but it has clinched a playoff spot. The playoffs begin Wednesday.

"Cabby is feeling better," said Padres manager Bud Black. "We'll get him out to Lake Elsinore. There's a chance you could see him there the next few days. He'll get some at-bats and get up to game speed."

This is the second disabled list stint this season for Cabrera because of his left hamstring. He missed 21 games in July with a similar strain, though it's in a different spot.

The Padres have used Alexi Amarista almost exclusively at shortstop since Cabrera went on the disabled list, though Yangervis Solarte made a start there Aug. 13.

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San Diego honors Hall of Famer Maddux

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SAN DIEGO -- Near the end of the long journey of his now Hall of Fame career, Greg Maddux made practically a two-season stop with the Padres wedged between two short stints with the Dodgers.

They are the nearly forgotten years of a career in which he won 355 games, the most of any pitcher in his generation.

"It was nice," Maddux said about spending the entire 2007 season and most of 2008 with the Padres. "I wish I was better when I was here."

He didn't pitch poorly. Maddux was 20-20 with the Padres in 60 starts, winning his 350th game on May 10, 2008, at Petco Park against the Rockies. Of course, he's much better known for his 11 years with the Braves and 10 with the Cubs, the team that drafted and developed the right-hander.

Maddux was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 27 along with fellow pitcher Tom Glavine, slugger Frank Thomas and managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox, who had Glavine and Maddux together in his Braves starting rotation for 10 of their most formative years.

The Padres honored Maddux on Friday night as San Diego manager Bud Black presented him with a plaque prior to the home game against the Dodgers. Maddux was the 10th player to at least play a portion of his career with the Padres now to have a plaque in the hallowed Hall led by the late Tony Gwynn, the only one in that group to play his entire 20-year career in San Diego.

Black began his tenure as Padres manager, replacing the departed Bruce Bochy, just as Maddux arrived in time for the 2007 season.

"I always tried to come here," said Maddux, who was born in Texas, grew up in Ohio, but has long made his home in Las Vegas. "The first time I was a free agent in 1992 this was one of the first places I called. I always liked San Diego. It was always the best road trip in the league. It's close to Vegas. There are a lot of reasons why I like it here. It took 20 years, but I finally got a chance to play here and I'm really glad I had that opportunity."

Maddux was too rich for the Padres at his market value in 1992 when the Braves outdistanced the Yankees in those negotiations. But in 2007, the Padres had just come off back-to-back National League West titles and seized on a chance to add Maddux to the pitching staff for two years at $10 million apiece. They would lose a play-in game to the Rockies at Coors Field that season when Jake Peavy won the NL Cy Young Award and pitching Triple Crown by leading the league with 19 wins, a 2.54 ERA and 240 strikeouts.

Neither Peavy -- now with the Giants -- nor the Padres have enjoyed that kind of success since then. Peavy has often said it was no coincidence that he had his most productive season when Maddux was around to take him under his wing.

"He was just being nice by saying that," said Maddux, who was 14-11 with a 4.14 ERA in 34 starts that season. "But Peavy had that year and not one person threw a pitch for him. He threw every pitch by himself. How hard he fought out there on the mound and how he threw the ball is why he had that year."

Maddux is certainly underestimating his own worth. He's currently the upper level pitching coordinator for Texas where his brother, Mike, is the big league pitching coach, and his expertise is highly valued by the Rangers organization, which has suffered a number of pitching injuries this season.

Upon signing with the Padres in 2007, he joined Black, a former Major League pitcher, and Darren Balsley, who by that time was already evolving into one of the top pitching coaches in the game. Maddux recognized both men in his speech at the induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y., this past month and on Friday night credited Balsley for helping him perfect his changeup.

Black said Maddux is one of the smartest pitchers he's ever had the pleasure of dealing with.

"Maddux was wonderful, Mad Dog was tremendous," said Black, using the pitcher's famous nickname. "We had him late in his career, but he was a big part of our success in 2007. Peavy won the Cy Young and Chris Young was an All Star. Mad Dog made his starts. He was consistent. He was steady. He was great on the team and in the dugout. Probably a guy with the purest competitive baseball instincts I've ever had. A great baseball mind, one of the best baseball minds I've ever been around especially on the pitching side."

Maddux values every stop he made in his 23-year career, which is why he declined to favor any of those four teams by placing their logo on his plaque. He played for the Cubs and the Dodgers twice, finishing his career in Los Angeles when the Padres traded him on Aug. 19, 2008, to a team that had a chance to make the playoffs. The Dodgers lost to the Phillies in the National League Championship Series and he retired at the end of that postseason.

They may be the forgotten years, but they were good years nevertheless.

"It was cool playing here," Maddux said. "This is a good place. The weather is great. In San Diego, every day was perfect."

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Padres win challenge on play at first

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SAN DIEGO -- Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez's time on the bases against the Padres in the sixth inning Friday proved not only painful but also brief.

Ramirez singled to center field to start the sixth inning but slipped taking an aggressive turn around the base and fell to the ground, grabbing at his left leg.

He got back to the base before first baseman Yasmani Grandal got the ball and tagged him -- or did he?

After Ramirez was visited by the Dodgers' training staff -- he stayed in the game -- Padres manager Bud Black came out to contest that Ramirez was off the base when Grandal tagged him, using his manager's challenge.

The replay officials overturned the call and ruled Ramirez out with the Padres holding a 2-1 lead.

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Catching Hoffy: Batterymates share best memories

Beyond specific games, backstops remember closer's composure, humility

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SAN DIEGO -- Long before "Hells Bells" ever blared through the speakers at the Padres' ballpark, before he developed that nasty changeup grip and well before he had reason to give pitching a single thought, Trevor Hoffman was just a light-hitting 22-year-old shortstop in the Reds' Minor League system, trying to find his way -- and his next hit.

Neither was coming too quickly, so the Reds proposed the right-hander throw a few side sessions when he wasn't taking batting practice or ground balls in the infield while he was playing with Class A Charleston, W. Va., of the South Atlantic League during the summer of 1990.

"I remember he came out one day to throw, and I was like, 'What is he doing working with the pitchers?'" said Jon Fuller, a former teammate in Charleston. "Then I caught him a few times … and it wasn't like he was throwing them over the backstop. His command was really good. Everything looked so easy."

This wasn't what Fuller or the Reds were expecting.

Hoffman remained at shortstop for the rest of 1990, but he went to the instructional league that fall, where he continued to work on pitching. He started the '91 season as a pitcher with Fuller in Cedar Rapids, but Hoffman didn't stay long.

"[Hoffman] was gone right away," said Fuller, 45, who owns Gig Harbor Baseball Academy in Washington. "He left the rest of us behind in [Class A] ball."

Two years later, Hoffman was in the big leagues, where he amassed 601 saves in an 18-year career, with 552 of those coming in 16 seasons with San Diego.

Prior to Saturday's 5:40 p.m. PT game against the Dodgers, Hoffman will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame, becoming the ninth member in the select club, joining Buzzie Bavasi, Nate Colbert, Jerry Coleman, Tony Gwynn, Randy Jones, Ray Kroc, Dick Williams and Dave Winfield.

Hoffman will certainly have a long list of people to thank for helping him get to this point. A few of them will no doubt be the players who caught him throughout his career.

Catching Hoffy
Catcher Saves
Ben Davis 58
Carlos Hernandez 56
Josh Bard 55
John Flaherty 50
Brad Ausmus 48
Ramon Hernandez 46
Wiki Gonzalez 44
Rob Bowen 31
Brian Johnson 28
Jason Kendall 27

A total of 41 Major League catchers handled Hoffman, some more recognizable -- Jason Kendall, Benito Santiago and Brad Ausmus -- than others, including Rob Natal, Colt Morton and Pete LaForest, who each caught Hoffman just once.

These are just a handful of their stories, experiences and favorite memories from catching Hoffy.

Kevin Higgins, San Diego Padres, 1993
The game: June 25, 1993, Qualcomm Stadium, one day after the team made the first of its fire-sale deals, sending Gary Sheffield to the Marlins. The return got them Hoffman, who had a lightning bolt for an arm but just 28 games of experience.

The Padres, who by this point were 20 1/2 games out of first place and on their way to a 101-loss season, were playing the Reds before a Friday crowd of 17,758 -- many of whom probably stuck around to see the new guy make his debut.

They didn't exactly give him a warm welcome, booing loudly.

"We were both public enemy No. 1," said then-San Diego general manager Randy Smith, who was on the job for three weeks when forced to move the team's superstars to shed payroll.

Hoffman allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and one walk in the eighth inning. The first out of the inning came when he struck out Reds pitcher Tim Belcher, who was on his way to a complete-game win.

"He was a little amped up, and this was back when he was throwing 97, 98 mph, before that changeup came into play," Higgins said. "It's his first game, and he's replacing a legend [Sheffield], and I'm sure he wants to do well."

At one point, Higgins went to the mound to calm Hoffman.

"It was probably just, 'Hey, you're here. … Continue to pound the strike zone, don't try to overthrow,' or something like that," Higgins said. "Who knows? Maybe I put down the wrong finger. I was known to do that on occasion."

The man: "Trevor was always a pretty laid-back guy. He had that Southern California mentality, nothing ruffled him. I think that helped him [when he struggled]," Higgins said.

Today: Higgins, 47, just completed his fourth season as an assistant coach at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He played in 71 games with the Padres in 1993, his only season in the big leagues.

Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers, 2010
The game: September 7, 2010, Miller Park in Milwaukee. In the final days of the 2010 season -- which was Hoffman's last in the big leagues -- he was chasing career save No. 600, which was no sure thing, especially after losing his job early in the season to John Axford.

With the Brewers out of the National League Central race, the team gave Hoffman a shot at reaching a milestone in September. Save No. 600 occurred against the Cardinals, as he got the last three outs in a 4-2 win. His teammates carried him off the field on their shoulders.

Hoffman's catcher that night was the rookie Lucroy, who got a bigger kick out of what happened after the final out, after Hoffman got Aaron Miles on a weak ground ball to shortstop to end the game.

It was something Hoffman said to him.

"After the game, I went out and thanked [Hoffman] for letting me be a part of this," Lucroy said. "He looked at me and said, 'No, thank you for catching me.' I was so honored to be a part of that game, but to Trevor … he acted like he was honored I caught him.

"I always reference Trevor Hoffman when I talk about the kind of guy I want to be."

The man: "Something else about that night -- afterwards, we all went in the clubhouse, and he was talking to the team and he accepted the blame for the season we were having, saying he didn't get us off on the right foot. He always took and accepted the blame when things went wrong," Lucroy said. "The humility he has … that's something we should all strive for."

Today: Lucroy, 28, was an All-Star for the first time this season and could be in the conversation for the NL Most Valuable Player Award.

Brad Ausmus, San Diego Padres, 1993-1996
The game: Not one game, specifically, but that first summer of 1993 after the Padres acquired Hoffman and were trying to figure out what they had or, better still, where he fit.

"I remember [GM] Smith asked me about him, because at the time we had a guy named Gene Harris closing. Randy asked me, 'Do you think Trevor could be a closer? And when do you think he could be a closer?' This was in the middle of the season," Ausmus said.

"I said, 'I would think by the start of next year, he could.' But I think he ended up closing before then."

Harris had 23 saves that year, but the team was more interested in showcasing him for others so it could potentially deal him, which it did the following season. Hoffman got a handful of chances to close, earning three saves from Aug. 6 on.

By the middle of 1994, the job belonged to Hoffman.

"He was a power pitcher. You talk about guys who had a high spin rate … Trevor was one of those guys," said Ausmus, who caught more of Hoffman's games (111) than anyone else. "People had trouble getting on top of his ball. Back then, Trevor was a power pitcher. He was just starting to throw his changeup."

The man: "I will say the one thing I remember about Trevor is that when he became the closer, anytime he had a save, whether he blew the save or got the save -- and obviously he got the save a lot more often -- he always sat in the dugout by himself for about five minutes after the game to kind of decompress. I guess he had to kind of let the adrenaline out," Ausmus said.

Today: Ausmus, 45, is the first-year manager of the Detroit Tigers after spending three seasons as a special assistant in baseball operations for San Diego.

Carlos Hernandez, San Diego Padres, 1997-98, 2000
The game: More like, the games -- the entire 1998 season, that magical season where the Padres ran off with the NL West title and through the Braves in the playoffs, before eventually losing to the Yankees in the World Series, their last appearance in the Fall Classic.

Of all of Hoffman's 18 seasons in the big leagues, this might have been his best, as he led baseball with 53 saves (in 54 opportunities, no less), had a 1.48 ERA and finished second to Tom Glavine in the NL Cy Young Award vote.

"He was the king of the mountain," Hernandez said.

Hernandez, who saw Hoffman from the other side as a member of the Dodgers for parts of seven seasons from 1990-96, preferred his vantage point behind the plate, instead of attempting to square up on the closer's changeup, a pitch Hoffman leaned on heavily after shoulder surgery in 1995.

"[Hoffman] was so easy to catch, but he was one of the most difficult pitchers to hit," Hernandez said. "That four-seamer, you couldn't hit it. And if the count got to 3-2, 2-2, 1-1, then that was changeup time. And if you got that, forget it."

The man: "That season [1998] was so unbelievable for me and everyone … going to the World Series. We put everything together. Trevor was so good for us. And he was always so positive. I'm so happy I got to play with him and be his teammate," Hernandez said.

Today: Hernandez, 47, calls Padres games with Eduardo Ortega on the Spanish broadcast for FOX Sports San Diego.

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Hoffman's career full of milestone moments

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SAN DIEGO -- As arguably the greatest closer the National League has ever produced, Trevor Hoffman owns several signature moments against a wide variety of teams.

Lowest Average vs. Hoffman
Rank Player BA
1. Mickey Morandini .000
2. Kevin Young .071
3. Dave Hansen .091
4. Vinny Castilla .095
5. Rich Aurilia, Craig Counsell .111
Minimum 15 plate appearances

Throughout his tenure with the Padres, the team's fiercest rivals changed, as the Rockies, D-backs, Giants and Dodgers all had their ups and downs between the mid-1990s and the late 2000s.

So while it might be hard to pinpoint one specific moment that defines Hoffman's legacy, there's no shortage of options.

There's Hoffman's record-setting 479th save against Pittsburgh in 2006, the division-clinching save against Arizona less than a week later on the final day of that regular season and his four-out save in Game 3 of the 1998 NL Championship Series against Atlanta that gave the Padres a commanding 3-0 series lead.

But Hoffman was at his best against San Diego's Southern California rivals, both in terms of numbers and clutch performances.

Highest average vs. Hoffman
Rank Player BA
1. Eddie Taubensee .533
2. Todd Helton .520
3. Mike Piazza .438
4. Scott Rolen .429
5. Shawon Dunston .400
Minimum 15 plate appearances

As the 1996 regular season wound down, the Padres found themselves two games behind the Dodgers with just three games left in the regular season -- all at Chavez Ravine. Naturally, Hoffman closed out each of the last three games as San Diego shocked Los Angeles and captured its first division title in 12 years.

Two years later, Hoffman saved an 8-7 win over the Dodgers on Sept. 12 to clinch San Diego's second division title in three years.

Nearly a decade after that, Hoffman became the first player to notch 500 saves when he tidily completed a 5-2 win over Los Angeles on June 6, 2007.

Lowest On-base Percentage vs. Hoffman
Rank Player OBP
1. Mickey Morandini .063
2. Vinny Castilla .091
3. Rich Aurilia .105
4. Matt Williams .125
5. Three-way tie .133
Minimum 15 plate appearances

By the time he hurled his final trademark changeup, Hoffman racked up 68 saves against the Dodgers -- 14 more than he did against any other opponent.

The next team on that list is the Rockies, but facing the Blake Street Bombers wasn't exactly a cakewalk -- Hoffman had a 3.57 ERA against the Rockies, one of only two NL teams in which his career ERA was higher than 3.00, along with Philadelphia.

Some of Hoffman's career lows came against Colorado, too -- the usually reliable right-hander lost a two-run lead in the 13th inning of San Diego's NL Wild Card tiebreaker game against the Rockies in 2007, taking the loss in what would be his last chance to return to the postseason.

Compounding that is the fact that perhaps Hoffman's greatest nemesis is considered a legend in Denver.

Highest On-Base percentage vs. Hoffman
Rank Player BA
1. Eddie Taubensee .563
2. Todd Helton .556
3. Larry Walker .476
4. Scott Rolen .467
5. Barry Bonds .458
Minimum 15 plate appearances

Former Rockies first baseman Todd Helton collected more hits (13) against Hoffman than anyone -- five more than the next closest player. Among batters with at least 15 plate appearances against Hoffman, Helton had the second-highest batting average (.520), second-highest on-base percentage (.556) and fourth-highest OPS (1.316).

But fittingly, Hoffman has a landmark milestone in the books at the expense of Helton -- he induced a rare whiff from the slugger on July 1, 2007, to become just the eighth reliever to reach 1,000 career strikeouts.

"Obviously, it's been a bit lopsided in the success ratio," Hoffman said at the time about his history with Helton. "It's nice to get a guy once every 80 at-bats."

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Rivera delivers game-tying homer, walk-off single

Padres take series from NL Central leaders in dramatic fashion

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SAN DIEGO -- Wednesday night was an unusual one for Rene Rivera.

The normally rock-solid defensive catcher allowed a passed ball in the seventh that opened the door for Milwaukee to go up 2-0, but more than made it up for it with a game-tying homer in the ninth and a walk-off single in the 10th to propel the Padres to a 3-2 victory over the Brewers.

"A great night for Rene," said Padres manager Bud Black. "It's a great tribute to him, his work ethic, him doing some things unselfishly as it relates to his career and what he's had to work on."

The triumph marked the fifth straight series win at Petco Park for San Diego (62-70), which prevented the Brewers (73-60) from extending their 1 1/2-game lead in the NL Central for the second straight night.

Rivera's homer off Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez was his first at Petco Park as a Padre (his only other longball in San Diego came back in 2005 as a member of the Mariners) and his walk-off single off Zach Duke (4-1) was his first game-ending plate appearance in the Majors.

The journeyman has endured a long professional career that's featured extensive stays in the Minors and pit stops in independent leagues, and has never been known for his bat. But his performance at the plate has come a long way since being called up by San Diego last summer.

"He was brought up [in 2013] for his defense, there's no secret about that," said teammate Jedd Gyorko. "But the [offensive] adjustments he's made, the power he's displayed, we didn't see that coming. That's been a huge difference."

Rivera's heroics saved his batterymate Odrisamer Despaigne from what would have been a tough loss, considering how well the Cuban defector pitched through seven innings, giving up six hits and two runs (one earned) with one walk and a career-high nine strikeouts.

"I think tonight was as good as he's thrown since his first game against the Giants as far as fastball stuff, fastball life, fastball location," Black said. "It's something we've really tried to impress him with the last couple starts. Tonight it was realized."

Most of Despaigne's strikeouts came against the top three batters of Milwaukee's lineup. Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun went 0-for-9 with seven strikeouts against Despaigne.

The Brewers' bottom half of the order, however, found success against Despaigne that eventually caught up to the right-hander. Gerardo Parra, Lyle Overbay and Elian Herrera -- who are all either switch-hitters or bat left-handed -- went a combined 5-for-8 against him.

In the seventh, Herrera ripped an RBI double down the right field line to score Lyle Overbay from first. The deficit increased to two when Rivera -- usually one of the most solid defensive catchers in the game -- somehow let a rather catchable ball get by him for a passed ball, opening the door for Herrera to scamper home.

"That stuff happens sometimes," Rivera said. "It was good to come back and get the homer and the walk-off in the 10th to help the team win the game."

Yovani Gallardo came into the game with a strikeout rate of 6.7 K/9 this season, but didn't register any punchouts for the first time in his career. Nevertheless, he shut out the Padres for six innings, and induced as many double plays as hits allowed (three) while walking three.

Immediately after Milwaukee broke through against Despaigne, Gallardo exited, and the Padres finally got on the board, after squandering several prime chances, with an RBI single by Jake Goebbert off Jeremy Jeffress.

When pinch-hitter Tommy Medica struck out with two on in the eighth to prolong his 0-for-17 skid, however, it seemed as though those wasted opportunities would be the story of the game.

Instead, it was all about the Padres' backup catcher -- who's playing as though he's quite determined on settling down and carving out the first true long-term role of his career in San Diego.

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Padres, City of San Diego pay homage to Selig

Outgoing Commissioner saved baseball in town, honored with Selig Hall of Fame Plaza

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SAN DIEGO -- By the time Padres president and CEO Mike Dee caught wind of Bud Selig's farewell tour of Major League ballparks, the wheels were already turning as to how the team was going to pay tribute to the outgoing Commissioner.

Many ideas were considered, but one clear and decisive winner eventually emerged from the pack, Dee said Tuesday.

"It's tough to find something to give someone who has the experience and background he does," Dee said. "I think at this point in his career, his legacy speaks for itself. But to commemorate it here today was not only fun for us, but important for us to do."

On yet another sun-kissed day in paradise, the Padres honored Selig with a dedication ceremony of the Selig Hall of Fame Plaza at Petco Park, which sits behind the Western Metal Supply Building, next to 13 palm trees, waving gently in the breeze during the 20-minute ceremony before Tuesday's game against the Brewers, which the Padres won, 4-1.

Dee said the area will serve as a home to the Padres Hall of Fame and eventually statues in the plaza to honor Padres greats as well as a plaque to honor Selig, not just for his overall achievements to baseball during his 22-year tenure as Commissioner but the specific accomplishment of helping to keep baseball afloat in San Diego.

The Selig Hall of Fame Plaza will be open year-round to fans.

"We wanted to do something to recognize his contributions here in San Diego because they are unique," Dee said. "Make no mistake, his contributions to the creation of Petco Park are profound. For those of us who were around and know the trips he made and conversations he had with local officials."

San Diego County supervisor Ron Roberts declared Tuesday as "Bud Selig Day" in San Diego County and its 18 cities.

Roberts was one of four speakers at the ceremony, including Selig, who sat next to former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman and made mention of another Padres legend during his speech. Executive chairman Ron Fowler also spoke at the ceremony.

Selig's comments were brief, but he made it clear how much the organization meant to him -- especially one of its greatest players.

"One of the great ambassadors we had was Tony Gwynn," said Selig of the Hall of Famer, who passed away in June. "... He loved the game, he loved the city and he loved the fans. I couldn't help but think of him today."

Several speakers praised Selig for his role in helping to keep baseball prospering in San Diego, first during its difficult financial period of 1993, the infamous "fire sale" that saw the trades of Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff and then, later, when the team was trying to get its downtown ballpark built.

"Your help in creating this beautiful ballpark ... it has truly reinvigorated downtown San Diego," said San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer. "You shared the vision for the ballpark and you saw what it meant for the fabric of our community. [Selig has] truly been an All-Star when it comes to supporting San Diego."

Later Tuesday, Selig watched as his former team -- he, of course, once owned the Brewers -- took on the Padres. He might have even been swayed to root for the Padres on a day that caused him to feel a little bit nostalgic.

"This is wonderful. It's sort of tough when you look around and see your name up there. It really is nice. I meant what I said here today: I have great admiration for the Padres ownership," Selig said.

"They came into a difficult situation and I can't tell you how well they fit in and how well they're doing. I look at this ballpark and remember Jack Murphy Stadium. So we've come a long way. We had a lot of challenges and this franchise was emblematic of that. But this sport has emerged from a lot of that challenge and this franchise is proof of that."

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Struggling rookie Liriano out of starting lineup

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SAN DIEGO -- Rookie right fielder Rymer Liriano was out of the Padres starting lineup on Wednesday one day after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and committing his first career fielding error in Tuesday's 4-1 win over Milwaukee.

Liriano had previously started 12 of his first 14 games in the Majors and has played in every Padres contest since debuting on Aug. 11, but manager Bud Black didn't indicate the move was one dictated by Liriano's recent struggles.

"I don't think he needs [a day off]. I hope he doesn't need it," said Padres manager Bud Black. "But if it can help, I hope it helps."

Liriano has just one hit in his last 17 at-bats with no walks and six strikeouts. In 43 big league at-bats so far, he has a line of .186/.308/.279 with one home run and 4 RBIs, all of which came in his first four games.

The first major move new general manager A.J. Preller made was to promote Liriano from Double-A San Antonio to the Majors and would most likely love to see the 23-year-old claim a starting job.

But Liriano will have to perform better than he has been to do that. He has just two extra-base hits and has struck out in 26 percent of his plate appearances.

Will Venable took Liriano's place in right field Wednesday, while Abraham Almonte was granted another start in center alongside regular left fielder Seth Smith after homering and tallying 2 RBIs on Tuesday.

Liriano entered Wednesday's game in the 10th inning as a pinch-hitter, lining out to right field. The next batter, Rene Rivera, then won the game with an RBI single, as the Padres defeated the Brewers, 3-2.

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Umpires quickly overturn play at first in eighth

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SAN DIEGO -- Judging by his immediate reaction, Brewers first baseman Lyle Overbay knew a key call in Wednesday's game against the Padres would be overturned well before the umpires got their first look.

With a runner aboard and left-hander Will Smith and the Brewers nursing a one-run lead, Padres three-hole hitter Seth Smith hit a grounder to Overbay that pulled the veteran from the bag. He had to hustle over to attempt a tag, and first base ump Ted Barrett initially ruled Smith safe, drawing a strong reaction from Overbay.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke challenged the call, and, after only 41 seconds, it was overturned.

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Ross extends streak of quality starts to 13

Almonte homers and singles in a run as Padres even series

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Ross extends streak of quality starts to 13 play video for Ross extends streak of quality starts to 13

SAN DIEGO -- No matter how much offensive support Tyson Ross has received this season, his mantra in postgame interviews has always been the same.

"The only thing I can really control is going out there every fifth day and giving us a chance to win," Ross said. "It's just focusing on executing on the things you can control."

It's a cliché that many Major League pitchers recycle over and over again, even though run support certainly can affect how they approach hitters and their state of mind on the mound.

But one gets the feeling that with Ross, he truly has not gotten frustrated with the offense -- or rather, lack thereof -- that the Padres have often provided him with this season. Because no matter what, he just keeps on chugging along.

Ross (12-12) extended his franchise-record streak of quality starts to 13 on Tuesday and even added a double that sparked a three-run third inning to lead the Padres past Milwaukee, 4-1, in front of a crowd of 21,786 at Petco Park.

Ross' streak, which dates back to June 21, ties him with Clayton Kershaw and Jon Lester for the most consecutive quality starts in the Majors. During that span, he's recorded a 1.96 ERA with 86 strikeouts in 87 1/3 innings against 24 walks.

"He's growing into one of those pitchers in baseball where other players, managers and coaches are talking about Tyson Ross as a guy that is becoming a force in the National League," said Padres manager Bud Black. "You have to do it [pitch well] over a period of time to get that chatter about you, and he's gotten that this season."

Ross allowed four hits and one run in 6 1/3 innings with two walks and six strikeouts, helping the Padres (61-70) bounce back from an ugly loss to the Brewers (73-59) on Monday night.

He's not doing too shabby at the dish, either. The decisive third inning all started with Ross, who ripped a screaming liner down the right-field line for a leadoff double. In his five August starts, Ross is 4-for-10 with two walks, two runs scored and an RBI.

"I got lucky. I always get lucky with hitting," Ross said. "Just close my eyes and sometimes hit the ball."

Abraham Almonte plated Ross with a single for his second RBI of the night after initially giving him some early wiggle room with a solo homer in the opening frame, his second since joining the Padres on July 31.

"We'll continue to watch Abraham and really get to know this fella," Black said. "But he's got a nice set of skills that plays in the Major Leagues. We'll continue to run him out there."

Almonte then ran into a little bit of luck when Jean Segura simply whiffed on grabbing the exchange on a potential double-play ball from Seth Smith. Instead, both runners were safe, and Yasmani Grandal followed with a long RBI single off the wall in right-center. Jedd Gyorko, making his first start in four games after nursing a sore hamstring, added an RBI groundout before the end of the frame.

With Ross dominating on the mound, that four-run advantage would be enough.

"He was filthy. The fastball was right on the corner. The slider was good. He was aggressive," said Padres catcher Rene Rivera. "From last year to this year, his fastball command is really good. The hitters don't want to get to two strikes. They don't want to face him."

The Brewers didn't get a runner in scoring position until the fourth, when Jonathan Lucroy led off with a double down the line in right. Rymer Liriano fumbled it for an error, letting Lucroy advance to third with no outs.

Ross buckled down, however, retiring Ryan Braun on a seven-pitch strikeout before fanning Aramis Ramirez with a seemingly unhittable 0-2 slider in the dirt. He then allowed an RBI ground-rule double to Scooter Gennett, but still went on to escape the inning with a 4-1 advantage.

"The key was just keeping it there with that one run," Ross said. "Anytime you get a runner on third base with no outs, it's all about minimizing."

From there, Ross and the Padres bullpen combined to face just one batter over the minimum, as the Brewers never advanced another runner past first base.

Jimmy Nelson (2-5) set a career high with seven strikeouts, but lasted only five innings and gave up four runs (two earned) off five hits and two walks.

Liriano had an all-around poor night, striking out three times in four at-bats to go along with his first career error in the fourth. He's now 1 for his last 17 with no walks and six strikeouts.

That was just about the only bad news to crop up, though. Joaquin Benoit, who's been nursing a cranky shoulder, hurled a 1-2-3 ninth for his ninth save in 10 chances to follow scoreless holds by Nick Vincent and Kevin Quackenbush.

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Selig hints at All-Star Game in Petco's future

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SAN DIEGO -- When Commissioner Bud Selig visited Petco Park on Tuesday to witness the dedication of the Selig Hall of Fame Plaza, it didn't take long for San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer to playfully bring up the possibility of his city hosting an All-Star Game in the near future.

That's something Padres fans have been awaiting for quite a while now. San Diego has hosted the Midsummer Classic twice, but the last time was in 1992 at Jack Murphy Stadium.

Selig hinted Tuesday before the Padres' 4-1 victory over the Brewers that the wait could soon be over for Petco Park, which was built in downtown San Diego in 2004 and is widely considered one of the best ballparks in the game.

"I'm working on All-Star Games. I'm going to do that, particularly with [Commissioner-elect] Rob Manfred," Selig said. "The only thing I'll tell you about San Diego is, I like their chances."

This year's contest was held at Target Field in Minnesota, and the 2015 game will be held at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park.

MLB has usually favored alternating between American League and National League venues, and with Camden Yards' 25th anniversary approaching in 2016, the Padres' next best chance could be in 2017.

"They're better than a prime candidate," Selig said. "Who wouldn't want to be here during the summer?"

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Renfroe heads list of seven prospects headed to AFL

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SAN DIEGO -- Seven players in the Padres Minor League system were named as participants in this year's Arizona Fall League on Tuesday, where some of the organization's top prospects will try to stand out while playing alongside other teams' highly regarded youngsters.

Outfielder Hunter Renfroe (ranked as the No. 74 prospect by MLB.com) and infielder Trea Turner (ranked No. 99 by MLB.com) headline San Diego's selections, which also include pitchers Brandon Alger, Tayron Guerrero and Justin Hancock, infielder Jace Peterson and outfielder Mallex Smith.

The Padres also still have an unfilled slot on the roster for a pitcher, which they will announce at a later date.

All of San Diego's prospects will play for the Surprise Saguaros, who also feature prospects from the Mariners, Rangers, Red Sox and Reds. The Saguaros coaching staff will include Jody Davis, the hitting coach for the Padres' Class A Advanced affiliate in Lake Elsinore.

The Arizona Fall League comprises six teams that will play six days per week starting on Oct. 7 in five Cactus League stadiums around the Phoenix area.

"It's an exciting array of top Draft choices and Minor League all-stars who have excelled in the early stages of their professional careers," said AFL director Steve Cobb in a press release. "Approximately 60 percent of our players will reach the Major Leagues. We want fans to know top young professional talent still will be playing baseball in October and November in Arizona."

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Black waiting for outfielders to emerge from pack

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SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have five active outfielders, more if you count part-timers like Tommy Medica and Alexi Amarista, but only one everyday starter in Seth Smith. Manager Bud Black said that it's an open competition to fill the other two spots for the rest of the season.

On Monday night, Cameron Maybin and Will Venable were penciled in for the series opener against the Brewers. But on San Diego's recent road trip, Abraham Almonte saw increased playing time and took advantage by reaching base in nine of 10 games he played, and rookie Rymer Liriano has started 11 of his first 13 games in the Majors since being called up on Aug. 11.

So what will those players have to do to separate themselves from the pack?

"We're looking for somebody to really be able to play a complete game -- play defense, hit, run the bases, all those things," Black said. "The other four or five guys have shown it in spurts. We sort of want to see somebody sustain it over two, three or four days and then keep going. We want some guys to get hot."

The first major move new general manager A.J. Preller made was to promote Liriano from Double-A San Antonio to the Majors, so one could easily presume that the team would love to see the 23-year-old claim a starting job. But Liriano is batting .216 (8-for-37) and has just one multihit game. He's shown good plate discipline for a rookie, drawing a walk in 14 percent of his plate appearances, but has just two extra-base hits to buoy a less-than-impressive .324 slugging percentage.

"I don't think we've seen all that he can do, especially with the bat," Black said. "There's a difference between Major League pitching and Minor League pitching -- no doubt about it. And he's learning that firsthand. But he's doing a nice job of hanging in there."

Almonte has batted .283 since being acquired from the Mariners for Chris Denorfia, but cooled down after a nice stretch during the team's 10-game road trip. Maybin is 3-for-10 since returning from his 25-game drug suspension, and though Venable had just two hits in his last 18 at-bats entering Sunday, he went on to belt a pinch-hit home run in the Friars' win over Arizona -- and that was enough to warrant a start on Monday.

"Almonte's got some hits. Liriano's hanging in there, [Venable] had a big homer last night, let's see if we can get him going," Black said. "We'll look at the best matchups and go from there."

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Stults runs out of August magic against Crew

Padres lefty's strong month derailed by NL Central leaders

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SAN DIEGO -- The Brewers showed the Padres why they're one of the National League's best offenses on Monday night, as the NL Central leaders smashed two homers off Eric Stults and pounded out 16 hits overall to send the Padres to a deflating 10-1 loss.

The Brewers (73-58) entered the night with the second-most runs scored and homers in the NL, while the Padres (60-70) ranked last in both categories. That stark contrast was evident, as Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun both had three hits and blasted solo homers to lead Milwaukee in a romp.

"It's a lineup where you've gotta execute pitches, and if you don't, they're going to do damage," Stults said. "You'd think a lineup like that -- that has a lot of guys who swing as hard as they do -- would strike out a lot, but they don't swing and miss much."

Stults (6-14) entered the series opener with a 3-0 record and a 1.46 ERA in four August starts, but he was saddled with his 14th loss, tied for the most in the Majors. He gave up four runs on nine hits and three walks with just three strikeouts in five innings.

"Tonight just wasn't my night," Stults said. "[I was] trying to find that tempo that I've had the last few starts, and tonight was just one of those things where it didn't come together."

Kyle Lohse (12-7) wasn't exactly dominant, allowing one run on four hits and four walks with five strikeouts in six innings, but it was more than enough to buoy the Brewers.

Baserunning blunders killed two of San Diego's few chances to score. Will Venable took off too early on a steal attempt from second base in the first inning, and was easily caught by Lohse. In the sixth, the Padres' final hint of a rally was extinguished as Seth Smith was picked off second base by Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado.

"Will was aggressive trying to get to third base -- I don't want to get in particulars about what we know about the Brewers, but Will was aggressive and got caught," manager Bud Black said. "[Smith] had a lapse in judgment."

On a night when San Diego also had just one hit in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position, those mental mistakes just added salt to the wound.

Alexi Amarista was a bright spot, collecting an RBI triple in the second inning to briefly even the score. The Padres had a couple chances to grab the lead, but Amarista was thrown out at home plate on an attempted squeeze by Stults, and Venable struck out on a full count with the bases loaded to end the frame.

That would immediately haunt the Friars, as Milwaukee took control in the next frame behind Braun's solo shot that just scraped over the wall in left-center and an RBI single by Maldonado.

"Sometimes there's certain games where you might get a take, you might get a foul ball, you might get a popup or [a ball] hit right at someone -- but that wasn't the case today," Black said. "They squared up his mistakes."

Ramirez added his own long ball to start off the fifth, a towering shot to straightaway center off a first-pitch 87-mph fastball from Stults that made it 4-1.

"I don't think there's been a ball he hasn't squared up for a while," Lohse said. "That's the guy that I used to face that I hated facing."

From there, the rout was on, as Milwaukee battered around Blaine Boyer in the reliever's worst outing with the Padres. He gave up four runs on five hits with two walks in 1 2/3 innings as his ERA rose from 1.67 to 2.65.

It was just that kind of night for the Padres, who have now lost eight of their last 11.

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{"content":["injury" ] }

Quentin 'more than likely' done for season

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SAN DIEGO -- One player who won't figure into the Padres' outfield logjam is Carlos Quentin, who Padres manager Bud Black said on Monday is "more than likely" done for the year.

During the team's recent road trip, Quentin received a second opinion on the bone bruise in his left knee. A knee specialist confirmed that Quentin didn't need surgery, but did recommend a lengthy period of rest.

"When you have a bone bruise, the only thing you can really do is rest," Black said. "And that's the course of action."

With the Padres falling out of playoff contention and Quentin's injury history, it would be surprising if the team encouraged Quentin to take an aggressive approach in his rehabilitation. He is under contract for $8 million in 2015.

{"content":["injury" ] }

Black earns 600th win as Padres manager

Skipper is only second in history who also has 100 wins as pitcher

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PHOENIX -- If Bud Black closes his eyes, he can still probably picture it all. A sun-kissed afternoon by the bay in San Francisco, Opening Day at a sold-out AT&T Park, 2007 and Padres ace Jake Peavy throwing bullets.

That was Black's first game as a big league manager, and it couldn't have gone any better. The Padres blanked the Giants, 7-0.

On Sunday, Black earned career victory No. 600, as the Padres held on for a 7-4 win over the D-backs at Chase Field, a tidy bow to place atop a 3-7 road trip that was anything but pleasant.

"It's a tribute to the coaches, players and the organization," Black said.

Black is in his eighth season as manager. He had winning seasons in 2007 and again in '10, when the Padres won 90 games. Overall, Black -- now working for his fourth general manager in A.J. Preller -- has a record of 600-664.

He ranks second on the team's all-time managerial victory list, trailing only Bruce Bochy, who won 951 games as manager from 1995-2006. Bochy went on to win two World Series titles with the Giants.

Black was stuck on 599 career victories for three games before the Padres won the series finale.

As usual, Black, even after a victory, wasn't one for talking about himself. He'd rather talk about his players or key plays from, in this case, Sunday's win over the D-backs. Black, who is under contract through 2015, isn't big on the spotlight being turned directly on himself.

"It's a round number," he said of 600 wins, smiling. "I like 601 better."

Black, who was 121-116 during his 14 seasons as a big league pitcher, is one of two people in Major League history with 100 or more victories as a pitcher and 600 or more victories as a manager. The other is Hall of Famer Clark Griffith, who, according to Baseball-Reference.com, went 237-146 as a pitcher for seven teams from 1891-1914 and 1,491-1,367 in a 20-year managerial career that he began as player/manager of the Chicago White Stockings in 1901.

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Padres end tough road trip on a high note

Homers by Grandal, Venable back Kennedy vs. D-backs

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PHOENIX -- For a wonderful as it was Sunday to get out of Phoenix with a victory, a 7-4 win over the D-backs to finish a 10-game road trip, Padres catcher Rene Rivera couldn't help but feel just a twinge of remorse about what could have been.

"All the rest were pretty good games. We battled in all of them," Rivera said of a road trip that saw the Padres go 3-7. "We just needed a big hit."

They got them in the finale.

The Padres got home runs from Yasmani Grandal and Will Venable and strong work from the bullpen to salvage one game in the three-game series with the D-backs (55-76) before a crowd of 20,852 at Chase Field.

Rivera's sentiments weren't just a Pollyanna take during a season of struggle, but one shared by others and one backed by statistical evidence, as the Padres' seven losses on this trip came by margins of one, two, one, two, one, four and three runs against the Cardinals, Dodgers and finally the D-backs.

"You look back and if you get two [wins] in St. Louis, two in L.A. and two here, and then we're four behind them [second-place Giants]," Grandal said. "But it's one of those things where you can't say what if. … You just have to keep on going."

The Padres (60-69), leading 2-0 against D-backs starting pitcher Chase Anderson (7-6), got walks from Ian Kennedy and Yangervis Solarte to start the fifth inning.

Rookie Rymer Liriano, however, then hit into a double play and the inning appeared to be falling flat, but Seth Smith walked to set the stage for Grandal, who figured with Anderson scuffling with his command, he'd jump on a fastball if he got it. He got one -- up in the strike zone. Really, really up, Grandal said.

"It wasn't a strike," he said.

It didn't matter, as Grandal turned on it and pounded it into the right-field seats for his 11th home run of the season. In the eighth inning, Venable came off the bench to hit a two-run homer, ensuring this one wouldn't get away like others had on this trip.

"Power like that can really come into play," said Bud Black, who won his 600th game as Padres manager. "… We haven't really shown that this year. But we have guys capable of that. We've got to get that out of them. Three run home runs are beautiful. It's nice when it happens."

Kennedy (10-11) took a shutout into the fifth inning before allowing two runs on a two-out single by his former teammate, Miguel Montero. One inning later, he allowed an RBI double to Ender Inciarte as the D-backs pulled to within 5-3.

All told, the former D-backs pitcher -- making his second start at Chase Field since he was traded to San Diego on July 31 last season -- allowed three runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings. He finished with three walks and six strikeouts.

"He had really good command today," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. "He threw his breaking ball and his changeup, mixed them in good."

The pitchers who followed him helped hold that two-run lead, beginning with Nick Vincent and then left-hander Alex Torres, who was called upon in the seventh inning to face the lefty Montero with a runner at first base and one out.

Torres, who has struggled of late, allowing earned runs in three of his last four outings, got the second out of the inning by striking out Montero. Dale Thayer did allow a single to Alfredo Marte, but got Jake Lamb on a ground ball to end the inning.

Closer Joaquin Benoit, appearing in his first game since Aug. 13 because of a sore right shoulder, set down the side in order in the ninth inning for the save, his ninth of the season and eighth since the team traded Huston Street to the Angels in July.

"It was good to get him back, that's a good sign for Joaquin," Black said. "He's turned the corner on the shoulder soreness."

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Impressive Solarte seeking a niche with Padres

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PHOENIX -- The Padres like what they have seen from Yangervis Solarte, a versatile position player who was acquired last month from the Yankees in the Chase Headley deal.

And while it's too soon to know where he pegs as part of their future -- in terms of position or full-time standing -- manager Bud Black has been impressed.

"He's done a nice job for us," Black said. "How he's played for us shows he's capable of holding down a Major League job."

Going into Sunday's series final against the D-backs at Chase Field, Solarte had a .271 average with three home runs and 15 RBIs in his first 27 games following the July 22 trade.

Solarte had two-run single, on an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the eighth inning, that tied Saturday's game against the D-backs. The Padres went on to lose, 5-2.

Better still, Black said, is that Solarte has provided value with his versatility.

"It's too early on the everyday situation," Black said. "... His value right now is his ability to move around the diamond."

Solarte, who started at second base on Sunday, has also started games at shortstop, third base and left field. His best position, Black said, is probably third base.

For the Yankees, Solarte hit .303 in April and .296 in May but slumped in June, hitting .164. He was then dealt to the Padres with Minor League pitcher Rafael De Paula, a deal orchestrated by former Padres assistant general manager A.J. Hinch.

In terms of where Solarte fits in the future, that won't be known until next season's roster takes shape.

"We don't know what will happen in the offseason, as far as personnel," Black said. "These things will play out and players will let us know based on performance."

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September callups will boost pitching staff

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PHOENIX -- Come Sept. 1, the Padres will add reinforcements to the roster, as Major League teams can expand their rosters from 25 to as many as 40 players.

Don't look for the Padres to add 15 players, manager Bud Black said, but the team will certainly bring players to the Major Leagues for the season's final month.

Many of them will be pitchers, Black said.

"It's a luxury to have more pitchers added to take the burden off certain guys who have been here all year and with their workloads," Black said before Saturday's game against the D-backs.

But the Padres won't add players just for the sake of adding, Black said.

"There's something to keeping a roster that's useful and can function," he said. "It [number of players added] does vary from year to year, where you are in the standings, what you're trying to achieve with the players you're expanding with, and how you're going to use them."

There are a few no-brainers who will be added to the roster, like pitchers Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland, who will likely get starts in September. Jesse Hahn, impressive during his rookie season, will rejoin the team as well.

Chances are pitcher Matt Wisler, the team's No. 2 prospect according to MLB.com, won't join the team. For starters, Wisler won't have to be protected on the 40-man roster this winter. He'll also set a career-high in innings and the team could be inclined to shut him down when Triple-A El Paso's season is done on Sept. 1.

Left-handed reliever Frank Garces, who was optioned to Double-A San Antonio Saturday when Andrew Cashner was reinstated from the disabled list, will be back.

The team could take a look at 23-year-old right-handed reliever R.J. Alvarez, who was obtained in July from the Angels in the Huston Street deal. Alvarez doesn't have to be protected on the 40-man roster this winter, but could be a part of the team's bullpen in 2015.

Alvarez has a 1.14 ERA in 34 games between two stops in the Double-A Texas League this season with 54 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings.

{"event":["prospect" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }

Rivera has had a front-row seat for greatness

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PHOENIX -- Rene Rivera, pitcher whisperer?

The 31-year-old catcher smiles and shrugs sheepishly at the mere suggestion that he might have helped play even a small part in helping mold two of the top pitchers in baseball -- Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez.

"No," Rivera said. "But sometimes I just have a feeling that when I catch someone, I can tell if they're going to be good or not. With Kershaw I could tell. And with Felix it was the same."

Rivera first caught Hernandez when he was an 18-year-old in the Mariners system in 2004, with San Bernardino of the California League.

Four years later he had the chance to work with the then-20-year-old Kershaw in Double-A Jacksonville of the Southern League.

There was something so similar about Kershaw and Hernandez at that young age, something aside from raw talent and a supreme skill set that stood out.

"It was the way they approached the game, the way they competed," Rivera said. "The way they acted on the mound. [Kershaw] looked like a big leaguer in Double-A."

Rivera was reminded of this on Thursday, when Kershaw allowed one run in eight innings, striking out 10 in a 2-1 victory over the Padres. The one run he surrendered came on an RBI single to none other than his former batterymate Rivera in the seventh inning.

Although Rivera didn't have the chance to work with Tyson Ross in the Minor Leagues, he has similar strong feelings about Ross' upside. That much has shown in 2014 for Ross, an All-Star for the first time, who took a two-hit shutout into the eighth inning of Thursday's loss to the Dodgers.

"[Rivera has] helped me out tremendously the last two years," Ross said. "We sit next to each other on the bench and talk all the time. He's been huge for my career."

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Cashner solid in return, but Padres can't cash in

Quackenbush gives up three-run homer in eighth to take loss

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Cashner solid in return, but Padres can't cash in play video for Cashner solid in return, but Padres can't cash in

PHOENIX -- There was a fairly rigid plan in place for Andrew Cashner's return to the Padres' rotation on Saturday after he missed two-plus months on the disabled list, meaning he was afforded a little wiggle room.

Just not nearly as much as he wanted.

After Cashner reached the 88-pitch mark following five innings, Padres' manager Bud Black told him that he was done for the night. Cashner, however, wasn't interested in hearing it.

"He pleaded after the fifth to keep going," Black said.

Cashner wasn't around for the end of the D-backs' 5-2 victory over the Padres before a crowd of 30,583 at Chase Field, a victory punctuated by a three-run home run by Didi Gregorius in the eighth inning, but there was plenty of reason for optimism for Black, Cashner and the Padres.

Cashner, who missed 51 games with right shoulder soreness, allowed two runs on seven hits over those five innings. He walked two and struck out one, despite not having what he considered his best location, especially early on.

"Tonight was a big grind for me," he said.

The plan was to have Cashner throw between 70 and 90 pitches and he did that, though Cashner felt he was just starting to find something after a slow start when Black told him his night was over.

"I never want to give up the ball," Cashner said. "I feel like the day you give up the baseball is the day you give up your job."

That's not going to happen anytime soon, as the Padres have been patiently waiting for Cashner -- their Opening Day starter -- to get back in the rotation.

Cashner allowed a run in the first inning, as he opened the game by allowing consecutive hits, including an RBI single to Cliff Pennington. Cashner, who mostly used his fastball and changeup in his two rehab outings before this start, showed a fastball that, at times, hit 97 mph, but mostly sat around 94 mph.

"The start was a little rocky, he fell behind some hitters and the command of his fastball wasn't there," Black said. "He struggled early then righted the ship. Cash competed."

The Padres (59-69) had trouble doing so against D-backs pitcher Vidal Nuno, who took a one-hit shutout into the eighth inning.

But Nuno wavered in that inning, hitting Rymer Liriano with a pitch and, one out later, allowing a single to Cameron Maybin. Finally, he walked Alexi Amarista to load the bases, thus ending his night.

The D-backs (55-75) brought in Oliver Perez, who struck out pinch-hitter Jedd Gyorko and got ahead of the next batter, Yangervis Solarte, 0-2. But Solarte banged a two-run single up the middle to tie the game.

"He made a bad two-strike pitch to Solarte," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.

It didn't stay tied long.

Rookie reliever Kevin Quackenbush walked Andy Marte with one out and then allowed a single to Jake Lamb, who hit his first big league home run earlier in the game. He got ahead of Gregorius 0-2, though he couldn't get a fastball in on the hands of Gregorius enough, as the ball sailed over the right-field wall.

"I just missed my spot," Quackenbush said.

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Padres can't recover after Despaigne falters early

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PHOENIX -- For a brief moment on Friday, Odrisamer Despaigne thought the improbable might actually be plausible.

Stuck without a hit in his first 14 big league at-bats, the pitcher lined a ball into center field, but Ender Inciarte raced in to make a diving catch.

"It was one of those days when nothing goes your way," Despaigne said through an interpreter, shaking his head.

There's been more than a few of those days of late for the 27-year-old Cuban rookie, who was a world-beater in his first five big league starts but has had a difficult time chasing the regression monster since.

A funny thing, though -- Despaigne might have actually been more unlucky than unsuccessful on Friday, even as the D-backs got to him for three first-inning runs on their way to a 5-1 victory at Chase Field.

"He started off very hot against everybody. He's got good stuff. We just have a little better idea of what he's going to do, maybe lay off a few pitches that we were offering at early on," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. "So you just have a better idea of what to expect, and we seemed to have more success tonight against him."

Despaigne (3-5) got two quick outs to start the first inning, then allowed a triple to the gap in left-center to David Peralta. Mark Trumbo then reached on an infield single, barely beating the throw from shortstop Alexi Amarista on a ball deep in the hole between shortstop and third.

Miguel Montero followed with a two-run homer on a changeup down and in that caught a little too much of the plate. It also caught too much of the right-field foul pole, glancing off it for a three-run lead.

"The overall pitching wasn't bad," said manager Bud Black. "The overall line will look worse than what he threw. The pitch that broke his back was the changeup."

Despaigne allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in five innings. He walked one and finished with four strikeouts.

In his first five starts, he was 2-1 with a 1.31 ERA. In his last six, he's 1-4 with a 5.81 ERA.

"The first five outings, hitters had no idea about me," he said. "I was the new guy. Now, the last six of them, it's been different. Guys making more adjustments, seeing [me] the second time, getting a better idea of how [I like] to work, velocity, what kinds of pitches [I like] to throw in certain counts.

"At this level, when you're behind hitters and they make you throw strikes, sometimes they make you pay for it."

Better stuff might not have made much of a difference the way Josh Collmenter was going for the D-backs (54-75). Collmenter (9-7) took a two-hit shutout into the ninth inning and left after allowing a pair of hits and an unearned run.

"The story was their guy," Black said of Collmenter, who finished with eight strikeouts. "We couldn't solve him. We've seen him a lot over the years. It's a sneaky fastball from a different arm slot. He commands the ball well and has a good change. We couldn't square anything up against him."

The Padres (59-68), now 2-6 on this 10-game road trip, got two hits from Amarista and two more from Yangervis Solarte. They had just two runners in scoring position all night and scored their lone run on a passed ball in the ninth inning.

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{"content":["injury" ] }

Luebke's recovery takes big step

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PHOENIX -- Cory Luebke's road back from a second Tommy John surgery in February took a positive turn last week, when he played catch for the first time.

"I had to find my glove," Luebke joked on Friday at Chase Field.

Luebke made 30 throws from 45 feet and will do so three times a week for the foreseeable future as he continues his rehab.

"It felt good to throw again," he said.

Luebke has spent his entire time since his surgery in Arizona, working out and living in Gilbert with Allen Gruver at the Postural Restorative Institute, where he's also worked on strengthening his hips and core muscles.

Luebke's rehab protocol is similar to the one he had after his first Tommy John surgery, on May 23, 2012, although the throwing program has been altered, with more time built between throwing sessions.

The good news, he said, is that having done this before has provided a blueprint for what's ahead.

"I have a better idea now of where I'm at," he said.

Manager Bud Black had a chance to talk with Luebke on Friday and watched him play catch in the outfield before the game.

"He feels good about where he's at," Black said. "It's a long process, but he's indicated his elbow feels different [in a good way] at this stage.

"He's excited about the next six months. And maybe we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves, [but] he's excited about being a Padre in Spring Training."

Luebke would be right around 12 months to the day of his second surgery (Feb. 18, 2014) when pitchers and catchers report for the start of Spring Training 2015. The "typical" recovery from Tommy John surgery, if there is such a thing, is usually between 12 and 18 months.

{"content":["injury" ] }
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