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Resilient Padres rally past Brewers

Resilient Padres rally past Brewers

SAN DIEGO -- A pendulum of swinging emotions might serve as an appropriate analogy to describe the Padres' timeline of events on Friday.

There was a trade that dealt ace Jake Peavy to the White Sox, the dismissal of the team's hitting coach and the homecoming of former Padres legendary closer Trevor Hoffman, who now wears a Brewers jersey.

The pendulum kept swinging during Friday's series opener against the Brewers, with the Padres rallying from a six-run deficit en route to an 11-7 victory in front of 32,588 fans.

The 11 runs and 17 hits were both season highs for the Padres, proving that perhaps simply playing good baseball is the best medicine for dealing with off-field distractions.

"As much on a personal level, you feel for players and coaches, ultimately the game goes on," Padres manager Bud Black said. "That's sort of the callous part of this game. Players, even though we're a young group, are conditioned to play and focus on the game, and they did."

Pitcher Chad Gaudin gave up seven runs, three earned, in a disastrous second inning that set the Padres back, 7-1. Gaudin allowed six hits, struck out two and walked two in just 1 2/3 innings.

Gaudin was one out away in the second inning from escaping a bases-loaded situation without allowing any runs. But the floodgates opened when Gaudin allowed two runs on pitcher Braden Looper's single to right field. After Gaudin allowed another run, followed by a coaching visit to the mound, left fielder Ryan Braun reached base on a throwing error by third baseman Chase Headley to send Looper in for the fourth run of the inning.

After three more runs, Black had seen enough and went to the bullpen for reliever Edward Mujica. Mujica was scheduled to start Saturday but lost his spot to lefty Clayton Richard, whom the Padres acquired from the White Sox as part of the Peavy trade.

Mujica danced out of Gaudin's trouble to end the second inning without further damage. He tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, to help spur the Padres' comeback.

"Mujica ... that's where it started," Black said.

But it certainly wasn't where it ended for San Diego.

"It seemed like the intensity level never changed," center fielder Tony Gwynn said. "Even when we were down, 7-1, nobody got down, which was kind of a change. It seemed like for a while there, if we got too far down ... I don't want to say that we let up, but the energy level wasn't there.

"But today, it certainly wasn't like that. Everybody stayed in that game."

The Padres scored four runs in the fourth inning, including right fielder Will Venable's two-run homer to left field.

"No one put their heads down and was moping around," Venable said. I think it was one of those things where we had even more of a sense of urgency."

Left fielder Kyle Blanks added one run in the fifth with a solo home run to center field.

"Everyone along the way did [his] part," Black said. "All the way down the line."

Pinch-hitter Oscar Salazar doubled in the sixth inning to score shortstop Everth Cabrera for the tying run. Second baseman David Eckstein hit a sacrifice fly to center field, sending Salazar in for the go-ahead run. Blanks then singled to score Gwynn, who went 3-for-5 and scored three runs.

"I don't know how many hits we had," Gwynn said. "But it was a lot of hits. That's the biggest thing that shows you that it was everybody swinging the bat."

Milwaukee center fielder Mike Cameron said the Padres' comeback sends a message that the Brewers shouldn't feel at ease despite playing a club with a poor record.

"Nobody over there is going to lay down because of what their record is," Cameron said of the Padres, who are now 42-62. "They've got a lot of young guys over there who are hungry. We need to match that a little bit."

Venable said the comeback, which extended the team's winning streak to four games, is an encouraging sign of a young club's ability to dismiss the day's distractions.

"The way to respond was to put it behind us quickly and continue to do our jobs," Venable said. "We were able to do that tonight."

Black reiterated during his postgame comments that Friday's happenings, which included the dismissal of hitting coach Jim Lefebvre, should serve as a reminder that baseball is a business.

"Once the game starts, you're competing. And that takes over," he said. "I'm sure tonight, there are a number of guys who will think about what happened today, reflect on it, and as time goes on, it will wear off.

"Guys realize that they're primary responsibility is to play baseball and do what they're paid to do."

Amy Brittain is an associate reporter with MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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