Hairston, Wolf lead Padres to win
Outfielder has three hits; left-hander makes impressive debut
SAN DIEGO -- As soon as Saturday, the Padres will make a roster move that will allow them to activate center fielder Jim Edmonds from the disabled list, meaning that one of their outfielders will likely be headed to Triple-A Portland.
That outfielder won't be Scott Hairston who, if anything, has not only cemented a place for himself on the Padres active roster moving forward this season but, in all probability, has earned a frequent place on manager Bud Black's starting lineup card.
"It might be his time," Black said of Hairston on Thursday, "to show what he can do."
Hairston had three hits on Thursday, including a critical triple in the seventh inning that set up the go-ahead run as San Diego knocked off Houston, 3-2, in front of a crowd of 24,432.
Hairston's triple off Astros reliever Oscar Villarreal (0-1) preceded teammate Tadahito Iguchi's RBI single through a drawn-in infield, allowing the Padres (3-1) to capture the series against the Astros (1-3).
That hit by Hairston, who has filled in more than admirably for Edmonds in center field, raised his average to .400 thus far with six hits over the first four games, with two home runs, three RBIs and a total of six extra-base hits.
With Edmonds set to rejoin the Padres, a roster move -- that, according to Black, is still in the works -- will have to be made. The likely candidate to get sent to Portland is Jody Gerut, only because he has Minor League options.
As for Hairston, he'll continue to play, Black said. That likely means a lot of at-bats in left field, his primary position, as well as spelling Edmonds in center field. All of this suits Hairston just fine.
"It's always good to get off to a good start," Hairston said. "The more I'm out there, the more comfortable I get. Hitting is about timing. The more I'm in there, the better that my timing is."
Hairston's timing on Thursday was certainly impeccable, as was his leadoff double to begin the first inning off Astros starting pitcher Shawn Chacon. Three batters later, Hairston trotted home as Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a long home run to left-center field.
That home run gave the Padres an early 2-0 lead and, with the way No. 4 starter Randy Wolf was pitching, it appeared to be enough to give the left-hander a victory in his first start with his new team.
But Wolf allowed a run in the third inning on Mark Loretta's RBI double that allowed Hunter Pence to score from first base. Loretta's hit was on the eighth pitch that he saw from Wolf, including five pitches he fouled off.
That wasn't the worst of it, though, as Wolf threw 10 pitches to J.R. Towles before walking him to start the inning.
"There were tough at-bats and I threw a lot of pitches in those two at-bats," said Wolf, who was making his first start since July 3, his final start with the Dodgers before having season-ending shoulder surgery.
"It was fun to be out there healthy and compete again. I think that you always want to make a good first impression."
Wolf did just that, allowing just the one run over six innings with two walks and five strikeouts. The Astros scored their second run on Towles' RBI double in the seventh inning off reliever Enrique Gonzalez (1-0).
Heath Bell tossed a scoreless eighth inning and Trevor Hoffman, a day removed from a four-run ninth inning in a loss to the Astros, bounced back with a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save.
Corey brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.