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Street is thriving despite close calls

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SAN DIEGO -- Padres right-hander Huston Street is 7-for-7 in save situations.

That's the good news and, in the end, that's all that really matters to a closer. But there are some troubling trends just beneath the surface.

Street has a 4.50 ERA. He's given up 14 hits in 12 innings and walked four more. He's given up four home runs, including a three-run shot that made Friday night's 7-6 win over Arizona a close call.

The numbers offer stark contrast to last season's performance, when opponents hit .130 against Street and hit just two home runs in 39 innings.

Street acknowledges the spike in opposing production. He just doesn't care.

"The home runs and the hits bother everybody else. As a closer, I care about saves," Street said. "When you're 7-for-7, how much have the big hits really affected things? If you get the save, that other stuff effects nothing but your ego, and that's only if you let it. I don't. I ask myself one question: Did you get the save or not? I'll be worried about that one thing for the next five months."

Street understands that he's made some mistakes with location. He has left some pitches up in the zone and been punished for it, but counters that there's no cause for panic.

"You're always trying to get better, and I'm definitely working on things and refining some others," Street said. "I feel like I've been unlucky in that my mistakes have gone over the fence. Mistakes can go for doubles or get fouled off or get hit right to someone and my ERA looks a lot different.

I'm not going to frown over 12 innings or four mistakes that went over the fence, not when the job's getting done."

Padres manager Bud Black would like his closer to stay out of dangerous situations, and believes Street can do so with more consistent mechanics. That will keep the ball down in the zone and out of harm's way, as it was when Street converted 23 saves in 24 chances last season.

"We know why this is happening," Black said. "The bad pitches are elevated, and he's been forced into throwing attractive pitches after getting into bad counts.

"The internal numbers are a little off, but I don't worry about Huston one bit. It's a little bit mechanics, a little bit confidence. It's nothing that won't get fixed."

Scott Bair is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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