Latos joins rare company

Latos joins rare company

SAN DIEGO -- A day after tossing his first career shutout, Padres pitcher Mat Latos was a popular target of reporters and television cameras at PETCO Park.

The 22-year-old, apparently, was also a popular stop for statisticians. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Latos became only the third player in baseball's "modern era" to pitch at least eight innings while allowing no more than two hits and giving up no runs and no walks in two consecutive starts.

The other pitchers to accomplish that feat were Cy Young (1905) and Billy Pierce (1958).

Latos took a perfect game into the sixth inning on Thursday against the Giants, a 1-0 victory, before allowing an infield single to Eli Whiteside.

In his previous start in Houston, Latos tossed eight scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory.

"He's maturing mentally and physically, and he's learning how to make pitches when he needs to," Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley said. "I think his preparation has gotten better. He's learning. I think early in the season, he got his tail kicked a few times. He's learned from that."