Less than a week ago Mat Latos was three outs away from his first career shutout in Houston. It did not take long for him to get another shot at it.
Latos came within one hit of a perfect game Thursday, yielding only an infield single in the sixth inning to Eli Whiteside while overshadowing Jonathan Sanchez yet again as the first-place Padres won 1-0 to complete a three-game sweep at AT&T Park.
Latos, who was perfect through five innings, faced 28 batters—one over the minimum—struck out five and did not issue a walk. The 22-year-old has thrown 16 scoreless innings against San Francisco this year, both times outshining Sanchez. In two starts, Sanchez has allowed two runs and four hits to the Padres in 15 innings. Yet, thanks to Latos, he has two losses on his record.
And guess what? Sanchez and Latos are slated as probable starters yet again Tuesday at Petco Park.
San Diego (22-12) has won all six contests against the Giants this season. Four of those decisions have been by one run.
It is difficult to point to anything more significant than the Padres pitching this season, with a major league-best 2.66 ERA. But one could make the case for their hitting—the Padres pitchers' hitting.
Latos accounted for the Padres only run Thursday, with a single in the fifth inning that scored Lance Zawadzki.
In eight shutout innings against the Astros in his last start, Latos—now batting .308 at the plate—knocked two doubles in the 7-0 rout. In the series finale, despite the Friars falling 4-3 in extra innings, Tim Stauffer got the party started with a two-run double.
One can also not discount Clayton Richard's 3 RBI's in clutch situations this season.
In football, players who can "go both ways" refer to their versatility and ability to play on both offense and defense.
If the trend continues, Padres manager Bud Black may want to consider a few pinch-hit cameos from his pitching staff.