Balsley heaps praise on Werner's outing in L.A.

Balsley heaps praise on Werner's outing in L.A.

Balsley heaps praise on Werner's outing in L.A.
SAN DIEGO -- There have been no shortage of notable starting-pitching performances by the Padres this season, like when Anthony Bass retired the first 17 hitters he faced against the Giants in April, or the shutout Jason Marquis tossed in Pittsburgh last month, or even the dominant effort that Edinson Volquez had in a one-hit shutout of the Astros in July.

But if you press Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley for his favorite, he might surprise you a little bit.

Balsley said this week that rookie left-hander Andrew Werner -- who gets the start Sunday in the series finale against the D-backs -- just might have topped them all Monday on the road against the Dodgers.

"That might have been the best pitching game all year," Balsley said.

Werner, in his third Major League start, allowed two runs on five hits in six innings of a no-decision, as the Padres topped the Dodgers, 4-3, in 11 innings. Werner struck out a career-high eight and threw 63 strikes in an 85-pitch outing against a very good lineup.

"He was extremely sharp with his command. There's a difference between pounding the strike zone and throwing pitches right down the middle or hitting your spots," Balsley said. "Although he was getting ahead of everyone he faced, he was doing it with quality pitches."

Balsley recalled a conversation he had during the game with catcher John Baker, who relayed to Balsley that Werner essentially had pinpoint control the entire game.

"I was talking to Baker about pitch selection and the certain things you can do to this lineup. John said all he [Werner] had to do was put his glove to one side or the other and he would hit it," Balsley said.

And Werner did so against a team with a lineup that includes Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez. That he did so with an average fastball but a good grasp on his changeup and slider make his performance even more notable.

Werner backed up a 90 mph sinker to Ethier with a 72 mph curveball in a second inning at-bat and then followed with two sliders for a strikeout. Then, two innings later, he struck out Kemp on three pitches -- changeup, slider and changeup.

"I don't think there's much fear there," Balsley said.