Notes: Peavy perfect cure for loss

Notes: Peavy perfect cure for loss

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Padres wasted little time putting an end to their season-high four-game losing streak in Wednesday's 9-0 win.

In part, it was due to the bats coming alive, including two first-inning homers by Kevin Kouzmanoff and Adrian Gonzalez.

But despite the power surge, it would have been safe to assume that Jake Peavy would play a large role in ending the minor slide.

"Jake kept his thumb on them, and it was helpful in hopefully catapulting us," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He's been key for us throughout the season."

Peavy has been instrumental in helping the Padres bounce back from losses this season, including a 7-0 win over the Cardinals in May that stopped a three-game skid.

So far this season, Peavy has followed a San Diego loss with a win in four starts. Peavy (8-1) lowered his National League-leading ERA to 1.82 and has a Major League-best 0.87 road ERA.

With eight strikeouts against the Rays, Peavy moved into the 100-strikeout club in the NL with the Phillies' Cole Hamels. Peavy trails the NL-leading Hamels by one with 103 strikeouts.

The Padres are 11-3 this season when Peavy takes the mound. Black said having veterans like Greg Maddux and David Wells helps in keeping long stretches of losses at bay.

"[Maddux's] even-keeled attitude rubs off the most on the rest of the team," Black said. "He does a great job in helping them understand how to deal with things in good times and bad."

Maddux (5-3) has followed a Padres loss with a win in four of his starts this season.

Kouzmanoff leaves early: Kouzmanoff left Thursday's series finale with the Devil Rays in the fourth inning due to a lower back strain.

After batting in the top of the frame, he did not take the field in the bottom half. Kouzmanoff is listed as day-to-day.

Seeing is believing: Black said part of the struggle with Interleague Play is facing teams on rare occasions, such as the series against the Devil Rays.

"You don't have a good feel for the players and the types of the things they do, so it is a bit disconcerting," said Black. "Most of it has to do with having a previous history of what the other players do. Our pitchers really rely on that."

The Padres are 3-5 in Interleague Play this year with seven games remaining, including Thursday's contest against the Devil Rays. Following a trip to Chicago to face the Cubs this weekend, the Padres will host the Baltimore Orioles, June 19-21, and the Boston Red Sox, June 22-24.

Despite the slight struggle against American League competition, the Padres have posted the best record in the NL since the start of May with a mark of 24-14, trailing only the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (26-14) for the Majors' best run during that time.

The San Diego pitching staff also has posted a Major League-best 2.48 ERA since May 1 and is tops in the Majors for the season with a 2.97 ERA and 10 shutouts.

Reunion: Black said Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon treated him to dinner following Tuesday's game. It was a reunion of sorts for the two managers, who spent seven years together as coaches with the Angels.

All-Star, meet Hall of Famer: Padres vice president and senior advisor Dave Winfield will manage the Unites States Team in the 2007 XM All-Star Futures Game on July 8 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Fellow Hall of Famer Juan Marichal will head the World team in the game that features the top Minor League prospects competing in a seven-inning contest.

Up next: The Padres will travel to Chicago for a three-game series against the Cubs. Wells (3-3, 4.76 ERA) will take the mound in Friday's 11:20 a.m. PT contest. Chicago will counter with left-hander Ted Lilly (4-4, 3.96 ERA).

Chris Girandola is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.