Padres Look to Ludwick for Protection in Lineup

Darren Feeney@DFEEN15_SDCorrespondent IAugust 12, 2010

Take a glance around the league and you will likely see most successful teams have a solid cleanup hitter penciled in behind the player batting third to prevent the four-finger salute.

Mark Teixeira enjoys the services of Alex Rodriguez. Albert Pujols has Matt Holiday. Chase Utley knows opposing teams would prefer him not be on base with Ryan Howard coming to the plate. 

In long search of a right-handed bat to protect All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez the Padres (65-46) hope to have found their power source and security blanket in Ryan Ludwick.

Ludwick, acquired from St. Louis in a three-team trade on July 31, hit his first two homers with San Diego Tuesday night, reaching 100 for his career and leading the Padres to a 4-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It was the best offensive showing from Ludwick in a San Diego uniform so far. 

In his first eight games, Ludwick was 5-for-28 and admitted he was putting pressure on himself to perform.

"I think anytime you come to a new team, you want to impress," Ludwick told MLB.com. "You don't want to mess anything up. They've had a good thing all year long. I'm just trying to fit in and be a good teammate."

The win, coupled with the Giants loss to the Chicago Cubs, widened the Padres lead in the National League West to two and a half games over San Francisco as the division frontrunners gear up for a weekend showdown in San Francisco.

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