Truth be told, it wasn't so much the two errors -- giving the Padres six in their past three games -- that doomed San Diego (31-42), but much more so those four runs the bullpen allowed and the smattering of foul balls and well-placed hits early in the game that drove up Jake Peavy's pitch count.
Not even three home runs late in the game, including the first for rookie Chase Headley, were enough to undo the early damage as the Yankees (39-33) continually pushed aside every comeback effort the Padres put forth.
"Tonight, the Yankees kept coming at us," Padres manager Bud Black said.
And it started early, as Peavy, in his second start since coming off the disabled list Thursday, fell into immediate trouble in the first inning, allowing a single to Johnny Damon and then a five-pitch walk to Derek Jeter.
But Peavy got Bobby Abreu to hit a ground ball to second baseman Edgar Gonzalez, who quickly flipped the ball to shortstop Khalil Greene for what at least seemed to be a good chance at a double play.
Greene got the force on Jeter, but his return throw on what probably should have been a double play sailed wide, pulling Adrian Gonzalez off the first-base bag. The ball sailed toward the Yankees' dugout for an error, allowing Damon to easily score.
After making four errors in their previous 17 games, the Padres have six errors in their past three.
"I think our defense has been solid," Black said. "We've made the plays when we have needed to but have missed a little bit as far as catching the ball."
One inning later, Robinson Cano lifted a one-out opposite-field double to left-center. Peavy then made what he felt was a good pitch to Wilson Betemit, who blooped a ground-rule double down the left-field line for a 2-0 lead.
"Those two innings took a toll on me," Peavy said. "They're a good team. They're going to foul off a bunch of pitches. You're facing All-Stars the first six batters."
The Yankees scored a second run in the inning on an RBI single by Damon, who later stole second base and advanced to third base on a throwing error by San Diego catcher Luke Carlin.
All the while, Peavy, not surprisingly, was running up a high pitch count. He faced 16 batters to get nine outs and had amassed 54 pitches. The pitches that didn't land safely somewhere in the outfield usually found the seats as foul balls.
"I thought his stuff was good," Black said. "He had good velocity and a hard slider and was throwing the ball around the plate. The Yankees put together some good at-bats. They were fouling off a ton of pitches, and it got his pitch count up."
The Padres, who got a two-run double from Edgar Gonzalez in the third inning that cut the score to 4-2, seemingly had Yankees starter Darrell Rasner (4-4) on the ropes early, taking five walks and doing their part to drive up his pitch count.
But the Padres wouldn't score again until the seventh inning, when with two outs, Brian Giles and Adrian Gonzalez hit consecutive home runs to cut the score to 7-4.
Headley, who flew out to center field with the bases loaded to end the third inning, then drove a ball over the wall in right field for his first Major League home run in the eighth inning.
"It's bittersweet ... to get your first home run at Yankee Stadium is special, [but] right now I'm disappointed we lost the game," said Headley, who didn't have a single ground ball hit his way at third base, though he did catch a line drive for an out.