LOS ANGELES -- As far as sample sizes go, Padres outfielder Scott Hairston felt he had accumulated enough information on new Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly to know just how the left-hander was going to try to attack him on Tuesday. It turns out Hairston couldn't have been more wrong, as Lilly, making his Dodgers debut, apparently reinvented himself during a 2-1 victory over the Padres in front of a crowd of 38,886. Lilly, who was traded to the Dodgers on Saturday from the Cubs along with infielder Ryan Theriot, retired the last 20 batters he faced, allowing one run on two hits with no walks in seven innings.
The results weren't so much surprising for Lilly (4-8), who has certainly tied many a team into knots. It was more the way he went about attacking hitters on Tuesday, as he used an entirely different approach than what Hairston had seen in his 17 career at-bats against the lefty. "In the past, he relied on that big, loopy curveball and a lot of changeups," Hairston said. "But today, I hadn't seen that before from him," Hairston said. "This is the best I've seen him throw. He mixed his fastball and spotted it really well." The results weren't pretty for the Padres (62-43), as Lilly induced some uncomfortable swings, 10 fly balls or popups and a stretch of perfection that ran from the first inning until the seventh inning, after which he left the game having tossed a thrifty 87 pitches. "What he did really well was [pitch] in and out," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The fastball inside and he had a good hook [curveball]. We couldn't quite get on top of the fastball." Not that Lilly appeared destined for a gem early on by any means, as he allowed a solo home run to third baseman Miguel Tejada, his first homer with the Padres since he joined the team on Friday following a trade from Baltimore the day before. "I was lucky to get one before he started to paint the outside corner," Tejada said. Adrian Gonzalez followed Tejada's home run to left field by punching a single the other way. But Lilly didn't allow another baserunner. Twenty up, 20 down with little drama to be had. It wasn't until Everth Cabrera walked with two outs in the eighth inning that the Padres got another baserunner. But for as well as Lilly pitched, San Diego put itself in position to possibly tie the game in the ninth inning. Facing Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton, leadoff hitter Jerry Hairston Jr. singled to center. Tejada then bounced a ball to first base that James Loney couldn't corral at first. Loney recovered and got the out, but Hairston advanced to second base. The Dodgers, after initially pitching to Gonzalez, decided to put him on for new right fielder Ryan Ludwick. Broxton got Ludwick to reach for a slider that became a 6-4-3 game-ending double play. Lilly didn't turn in the only strong pitching performance on Tuesday. San Diego pitcher Mat Latos (11-5) allowed two runs in the second inning after two walks, but little else. He struck out six and allowed four hits over six innings and saw his six-game winning streak end. "I didn't help myself by falling behind in the count," Latos said. "I didn't do a good job of attacking hitters." The walks proved painful for Latos, as Russell Martin lined a pitch to center field that Chris Denorfia couldn't come up with on a diving attempt, and two runs came across. "It was a slider, he just left it in the middle of the plate. I was just thinking right-center, and it was a good pitch to hit," Martin said. "... It was nice to see it dive and go by him, too. Finally got a break." Denorfia would exact a small measure of revenge later in the inning when, after Martin moved up to third base on a wild pitch, he threw out Martin as he tried to score on a fly ball to center by Jamey Carroll. "It was a well-played game on both ends," Black said.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.