Owings' long relief outing helps save bullpen

Owings' long relief outing helps save bullpen

SAN DIEGO -- Micah Owings did the rest of the Padres bullpen a big favor on Friday when he threw 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief in a 6-0 loss to the Dodgers.

Owings, the team's designated long reliever, was pressed into duty when starting pitcher Cory Luebke left the game after 4 2/3 innings.

Owings allowed one hit and had two strikeouts and, more important, threw 53 pitches -- 53 pitches that didn't have to go to someone else.

That, of course, became even more important Saturday when the Padres needed 91 pitches from six relievers in a 6-5 loss in 11 innings to the Dodgers.

"That's a critical role," Padres manager Bud Black said. "You would love to have your starters go six-plus [innings] every game but you're going to have games where you need that length, someone to throw 50 to 60 pitches.

"With Micah, he's proven he has the ability to do it. He saved two guys from pitching."

Black said Sunday that pitcher Anthony Bass will either start on Thursday [Dustin Moseley's normal spot in the rotation] or Saturday when the team needs a fifth starter for the first time this season.

The leading candidate for the other start is likely right-hander Joe Wieland, who is regarded as one of the Padres' top prospects.