Padres give Latos just enough for win

Padres give Latos just enough for win

SAN DIEGO -- Never one for style points, Chase Headley happily resisted the chance to nitpick the not-so-finer points about the Padres' offensive efforts Tuesday at PETCO Park against the Giants.

Really, he had no other choice.

After all, there are only so many ways one can analyze and scrutinize getting one hit as a team -- even when that one hit is actually good enough for a victory, as was the case on a chilled night at the ballpark.

"It wasn't a typical win," Headley said. "... But it's just as valuable as scoring 17."

For the first time since 1975, the Padres won a game with one hit, as Headley's single in the fourth inning helped pave the way for their lone run in a 1-0 victory over the Giants, which gave San Diego its fifth consecutive win.

Albeit a pretty strange victory.

The truth is, there wasn't much offense to talk about Tuesday because the pitching was so good on both sides.

San Diego pitcher Mat Latos (1-1) tossed seven scoreless innings, using a combination of a fastball and slider to get 14 ground-ball outs as the Giants (8-6) jumped on pitches early in the count against the 22-year-old.

On the other side, San Francisco's Jonathan Sanchez (1-1) -- who tossed a no-hitter a year ago against the Padres -- allowed a fourth-inning single to Headley and little else. He had 10 strikeouts and three walks.

"It was his day," Sanchez said of Latos.

That was debatable.

The Padres, thanks in part to that one hit of Headley's and one of his career-high three stolen bases, took a 1-0 lead in that fourth inning on Scott Hairston's sacrifice fly. The Padres (8-6) didn't get a sniff of a hit thereafter, as their final 15 hitters went down in order.

The game didn't so much turn on any pitch Latos or Sanchez made during the game but the ones Padres relievers Mike Adams and closer Heath Bell threw in the eighth and the ninth innings, respectively.

In the eighth inning, the Giants' Nate Schierholtz tripled to the wall in center field to put immediate pressure on Adams. With the potential tying run 90 feet away, Adams buckled down, getting Eli Whiteside on a ground ball to third base for the first out of the inning.

"That's probably as difficult a position you can get in," Padres manager Bud Black said.

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy went to his bench for veteran Bengie Molina, who popped out to Adrian Gonzalez. Finally, Adams threw three nasty changeups to leadoff hitter Eugenio Velez, the last one he took for a called third strike to end the inning.

"It was one of the most fun innings I've participated in," Adams said, before he corrected himself. "It was the most fun I've had at the end of an inning. With that last strike ... that was maybe the most excited I've ever been on the mound."

One inning later, against Bell, who was working for the fourth time in the last five games, the Giants threatened again.

With one out, Bell walked Pablo Sandoval. Aubrey Huff then lined a single into center field, which allowed pinch-runner Andres Torres to go to third base. But Bell got some revenge on Juan Uribe -- who hit a home run off Bell in the ninth inning Monday -- by getting him to fly out to right fielder Jerry Hairston with Torres remaining at third base.

Bell then struck out John Bowker on an 83 mph curveball, the same pitch he was hurt by Monday against Uribe. That ended the game and set off a celebration that probably was not befitting a game played on April 20, but one that wasn't a normal 1-0 victory by any means.

"We had great defense, Eck [second baseman David Eckstein] made play after play ... it was a great night," Latos said.

With a runner at second base and two outs in the fourth inning, Bowker lifted a soft liner that seemed destined for short center field. Eckstein ran to his right, dove and caught the ball for the final out, keeping the game scoreless.

"It seems like he's in the right spot at the right time a lot," Bowker said.

This marked the first time since 1958 the Giants, who have dropped the first two games of a three-game series, have lost even though they allowed one hit.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.