07/06/2003 8:56 PM ET
Lawrence's effort for naught in loss
By Mike Scarr / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- All the Padres needed was a clutch hit on Sunday, one base hit to break open a close game.
They're still looking.
After leaving the bases loaded in the third and fifth innings and two on in the seventh and eighth innings, they stranded a total of 12 runners with eight of those in scoring position.
And with the bats quiet at the wrong times, the Padres lost, 3-2, blowing a golden opportunity to win their third straight series and fourth in their last five, all while playing some of the better teams in baseball.
"We had runners on third there with less than two out and we just couldn't get them in," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "We had them on the ropes there. We felt we got ourselves out a few too many times, chasing bad pitches."
One key change in the Padres' recent surge, winning nine of their last 14 games, was getting the clutch hit.
"That's why we've been winning more games is because we've been getting that hit and today we just couldn't do it," Bochy said. "There is something to be said about a pitcher being effectively wild. It worked in their favor at times. We were close a couple of times to blowing that game wide open and we just couldn't get it done."
The Padres played the Giants straight up Sunday afternoon, taking a 2-2 tie into the ninth inning before the National League West division leader pushed a run across to win it.
J.T. Snow's ninth-inning, RBI single up the middle off Padres reliever Mike Matthews gave the Giants the victory and also the series, two games to one. A crowd of 24,365 was in attendance.
"I've had success against him before," Matthews said of facing Snow. "Today he was the hero and I was the goat."
Luther Hackman had started the ninth and allowed a pair of one-out singles to Yorvit Torrealba and pinch-hitter Neifi Perez. But the right-hander came back to strike out Ray Durham before giving way to left-hander Matthews for the lefty-lefty matchup.
"He's seen a lot of left-handers and he's hitting just over .100 off left-handers," Bochy said of Snow, who was hitting .111 against lefties coming into Sunday's game. "He just got enough of that ball, and it's a tough loss for us because we had so many chances there."
Torrealba scored what proved to be the winning run.
Giants reliever Felix Rodriguez (5-0) pitched just a third of an inning, allowing one walk to pick up the win. Tim Worrell pitched the ninth for his 20th save.
Hackman (2-2) was charged with the loss.
Brian Lawrence started for the Padres and contributed seven solid innings, allowing just two runs on six hits. The right-hander also walked two and struck out three for a no-decision.
"I think I've kinda gotten back into a groove as the rest of the starters have, too," Lawrence said of his improved pitching of late. "That's led to our bullpen being fresh and those guys have been coming in and doing the job also."
Damian Moss got the call to start for the Giants and did not exactly impress. The left-hander went just 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits but he also walked six and hit a batter. Moss fanned four while taking a no-decision.
"We let Moss off the hook there many times," Bochy said. "You'd like to think you're going to score more than two runs but we didn't. We just couldn't get a key hit there."
The Padres and Giants traded runs in the third inning.
In the top half, Marquis Grissom drove in Ray Durham on a ground ball to second. Durham had gotten aboard on a fielder's choice, made it to second on a throwing error by shortstop Donaldo Mendez on a force play and then advanced to third on a passed ball by Miguel Ojeda. The run was unearned and the Giants led, 1-0.
In the bottom half, Mendez led off the inning with a walk and after Lawrence struck out on a bunt attempt and Gary Matthews Jr. flew out to right, Mark Loretta walked. Rondell White followed with an RBI single to center off Moss, scoring Mendez to knot the game at a run apiece.
White was named to his first All-Star team on Sunday when he was added to the list of reserve outfielders by NL manager Dusty Baker.
"I was planning to go to Vegas because I didn't know if I was going to make it or not, but I'd rather go to Chicago," White said of his selection to the game that will be played July 15 at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox. "I'm just glad to be over here with a chance to play every day and represent San Diego."
The Padres took the lead in the fifth without the benefit of a base hit. Lawrence led off the inning with a walk, and after Matthews popped out to catcher Torrealba in foul ground, Loretta walked and White was hit by a pitch from Moss to load the bases. Buchanan then struck out but Sean Burroughs walked on four pitches to force in Lawrence for a 2-1 Padres lead.
Rich Aurilia got the Giants even in the top of the sixth when he hit his eighth homer of the year, a solo shot over the short fence in left-center off Lawrence.
"You can't throw a pitch they can hit out of the ballpark, that's for sure," Lawrence said. "If they hit a good pitch, you just tip your hat. That definitely was not a good pitch."
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.