Close losses have contributed to Padres' start

Close losses have contributed to Padres' start

SAN DIEGO -- There's no denying the Padres are off to a slow start this season, as they entered Sunday's game with a 4-12 record, their slowest start since posting the same record in 1987.

But manager Bud Black noted on Sunday that the team has already played a number of close games -- nine of them to be exact -- where the outcome has been decided by two or fewer runs. The Padres are just 1-8 in those games.

"We've been in every game," Black said.

Black said that he's been encouraged that the Padres have left defending National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw with no-decisions and that the team led Cole Hamels in the seventh inning on Friday and also defeated Roy Halladay on Saturday.

"It's great that our guys know we can match up against these guys," Black said, noting that it's especially important for the players low in service time to see the team can stay in games and, in some cases, beat pitchers like Kershaw, Hamels or Halladay.