Hoffman's milestone backs Peavy's gem
Right-hander wins 10th as Hoffman ties all-time saves record
SAN DIEGO -- In Jake Peavy's previous start, he took the mound at Dodger Stadium, starting a game that would go down in baseball history with four consecutive home runs in the ninth and a walk-off homer in the 10th sinking the Padres.Five days later, Peavy took the mound again with that dramatic loss seeming like ancient history. The Padres made it four wins out of their last five games on Saturday night with a 2-1 win behind Peavy's eight innings and 11 strikeouts.
Trevor Hoffman made his own history on Saturday night, notching his 478th career save, tying him for the most saves all time."It's a tough one, when you go back to L.A., but they've showed how resilient they are," said Padres manager Bruce Bochy about his team, who now lead the Dodgers by 1 1/2 games in the National League West. "We're back playing good ball." The San Diego pitching staff has been maybe the most important factor to the team playing good ball. The 25-year-old Peavy was charged with following Chris Young's Friday night performance, where he was two outs shy of throwing a no-hitter. Peavy's night started off shaky in the opening frame, giving up a lead off single to Chris Duffy and then walking the next batter, Jack Wilson. Freddy Sanchez grounded into a 1-6-3 double play, but Duffy scored on former Padre Xavier Nady's single. Peavy had little trouble after the first, with only two runners advancing past first base the rest of his outing, one due to his own throwing error when fielding a bunt by Duffy. The Pirates starter Zach Duke held onto that 1-0 lead until the bottom of the fifth, when Mike Cameron hit a ball off the left-field wall to score Brian Giles from first base. Giles hit a single up the middle with two outs in the inning. "That's about the 10th one I've hit here that I thought was out," said Cameron, who now has 13 RBIs in his last 14 games. "Good thing somebody was on base." Peavy, who's been plagued by a lack of run support all season, couldn't agree more. "I'm not sure how how that ball didn't get out of the ballpark," Peavy said about Cameron's double. "That was huge, tying that game back up for me, because I felt like I had good stuff. I was a little frustrated in the first inning when I gave up that hit there after getting that big double-play ball." Bochy obviously thought Peavy's stuff was too good to pull him early, despite the Padres having two on and two out with Peavy due up next. Bochy left him in to hit and Peavy's grounder to shortstop ended the inning. The Pirates went down in order in the sixth, but not taking Peavy out in the name of offense seemed like a curious move at the time. The Padres were absolved an inning later by rookie second baseman Josh Barfield, who blasted a solo home run to left field to lead off the bottom of the seventh. The rookie second baseman's shot to left field on a 2-2 pitch was his 13th homer of the season. His previous home run was also a game-winner -- a three-run walk-off homer on Sept. 4 at home against Colorado. While Peavy finished off the eighth despite his throwing error putting a runner at second base with one out, he then gave way to Hoffman. The 38-year-old went through the inning in order, ending the game and a historic evening fittingly -- with a strikeout. "I guess until you get into the moment and you're out there on the mound, you aren't really sure what you're going to feel," said Hoffman, who has been shutting the door on wins for the Padres since 1993. "You've done it so many times, and the routine's there, but you understand the magnitude of the situation. You just try to stay locked into the moment and preserve a 2-1 win after a great job by Peavy and the rest of the guys. "I think I kind of find some solitude in that." With eight games left in the regular season, Hoffman may soon find himself with more solitude. If he gets one more save this season he will find his name alone atop the all-time saves list.
Amanda Branam is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.