First Place San Diego Padres Finding Ways to Beat Well-Armed San Francisco

Darren Feeney@DFEEN15_SDCorrespondent IApril 21, 2010

SAN DIEGO - APRIL 12:    The San Diego Padres celebrate after the game with the Atlanta Braves on April 12, 2010 at Petco Park in San Diego, California.  The Padres won 17-2.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the Bill of Rights that protects a right to keep and bear arms. 

It provides: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy is pushing the envelope on this constitutional right with his current starting pitching staff. 

Riding the wave of a five game win streak, the Padres handed Bochy and his stingy pitching staff two one-run losses in the managers’ first trip back to PETCO Park this season. 

Heading into Tuesday’s match-up, the Friars were tied for third in team ERA (3.10) in all of baseball with San Francisco, quite arguably the best starting rotation west of the Bronx (New York Yankees). 

Yet, it is the Padres pitching crew that finds themselves with the second-best ERA (2.88) behind only St. Louis (2.87).

Over the course of the five-game streak, the Padres have jumped up to a share of first place with the Giants, their first trip back to the top of the NL West since April 18 of last season. Even more surprising, all-star slugger Adrian Gonzalez is just two-for-14 ( .143 avg) with only one RBI during the stretch.

Yet, it is the diverse ways the young and maturing Padres have won that should have manager Bud Black elated.   

It all started with a walk-off home run off the bat of Chase Headley in the first game of the Arizona series.

The Padres scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth for a come-from-behind 6-3 victory.

Kevin Correia and the Padres bullpen were dominant in a game two, 5-0 victory.

Justin Upton’s single in the ninth inning was the only hit surrendered by the Padres bullpen in 22 chances. 

Fueled by a five-run seventh inning courtesy of the Hairston brothers, the Padres clawed out another come-from-behind 5-3 victory to sweep the series.   

Finding yet another way to win, Heath Bell blew his first save of the season, sending Monday’s series opener with the Giants into extra frames. 

David Eckstein, who entered the season averaging a home run in every 136 at-bats in his career, lined a 1-1 fastball from Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt down the left field line and off the Western Metal Supply building, making it walk-off time again at PETCO.

Clayton Richard (6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER) matched all-star Matt Cain (6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER) pitch-for-pitch. 

Even another no-hitter from Jonathan Sanchez, who no-hit the Padres last July, wouldn't have guaranteed a Giants victory on a drizzly Tuesday night.

The Padres squeaked out one single in Sanchez's seven innings and that was enough to beat him. That’s right, Chase Headley’s lead-off single in the fourth inning was the only hit by the Padres. Headley stole his way into scoring position and scored on a sacrifice fly by Scott Hairston.   

Heath Bell closed out the ninth for his fourth save of the year. However, as is frequently the case with closers, there certainly was a draft under the door before it was closed.  He allowed runners to reach first and third with one out before the “Bell man” slammed the door shut. 

Mat Latos was terrific in seven scoreless innings, giving him his first win of the season despite a Padres offense outhit 6-1 by the Giants.

Consider this: since moving to San Francisco, the Giants have had 24 one-hitters pitched and their record in those games is 23-1.  That only loss was Tuesday night.

The hot play of the Friars sets up an early-season showdown for first place in the NL West with the Giants and Bruce Bochy Wednesday night.

There are only three players on the current roster that played in San Diego for Bochy only three years ago (Bell, Gonzalez and Chris Young). The Friars were a veteran group in Bochy's last several years, but have re-tooled to a younger, faster and more athletic group.

Bochy spent five of his nine year career as a catcher with the Padres before managing the team for 12 seasons. He did lead them to the World Series as manager in 1998, the more recent of the Pads' only two trips to October. He was also a part of the 1984 World Series team. 

The Friar Faithful still have a bond and fondness for Bochy for all of his years of service to the Pads—even if he does hang out in the visitor’s dugout.


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