Bell ties Hoffman with 41st consecutive save

Bell ties Hoffman with 41st consecutive save

SAN DIEGO -- Forget records for a moment, Padres closer Heath Bell considers it a privilege to be mentioned in the same breath as his predecessor, Major League Baseball's career saves leader, Trevor Hoffman.

"It's just a huge honor that Trevor and my name are in the sentence," Bell said.

They are after the Padres' 6-5 comeback victory over the Pirates on Tuesday, as Bell not only earned his seventh save of the season, but tied Hoffman for the franchise record with 41 consecutive saves.

"It's a great milestone to be mentioned with Trevor," Padres manager Bud Black said. " ... That [41 consecutive saves] is not easy to do. But he's talented and it's a great testament to his ability to close out a game."

Bell, who has the longest streak of consecutive saves in the Major Leagues, had to walk a tightrope Tuesday, as he walked Brandon Wood to start the ninth inning.

But catcher Rob Johnson, who hit a tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning, got Wood at third base trying to advance on a curveball in the dirt.

Bell then struck out Ryan Doumit to end the game.

Hoffman, who is in his first season working as a special assistant to team president Tom Garfinkel, congratulated Bell after the save. Hoffman set his record over the course of two seasons (1997-1998).

Hoffman retired in January after 18 seasons in which he saved 601 games, 552 over 16 seasons in San Diego. Bell became the closer in 2009 and has made the last two All-Star teams.

"It's not going to sink in until the season is over," Bell said. "It's just another save. I'm just trying to help the team win."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.