Maddux pitches well, denied 350th win
Hairston hits two home runs to snap out of batting slump
PHILADELPHIA -- A year ago, a ninth-inning home run by Scott Hairston usually meant nothing but good things for the Padres, who welcomed his uncanny knack for getting big hits when the team needed them the most.
On Tuesday, though, Hairston's second home run of the game, a two-run shot in the ninth inning at Citizens Bank Park, proved to be a mere footnote in a game that was settled before Hairston hit his towering home run down the left-field line.
This time, this season, no late-game heroics could prevent the Padres from sliding down further in the National League West, as the Phillies posted a 7-4 victory over the Padres, who started their nine-game road trip with a thud.
Aside from Hairston's big night -- three hits, two home runs and three RBIs -- the offense couldn't do much against Cole Hamels (3-3), the latest in a line of top-tier pitchers who have tamed the Padres this season.
Hamels allowed two runs on five hits over 7 1/3 innings on Tuesday, though is biggest success might have been a base hit -- that's right, a base hit -- he got off Padres starting pitcher Greg Maddux (2-2) in the seventh inning.
With the Phillies (15-12) leading, 2-1, Maddux allowed a one-out single to No. 8 hitter Carlos Ruiz. That brought up Hamels, who isn't a bad hitter in his own right. Maddux tried to get a ball up in the strike zone to Hamels, but instead left one down.
"Throw the ball up higher where he has a hard time hitting it on the ground," Maddux said of the location of where he wanted to throw the pitch. "It was kind of weird. ... I missed down [in the strike zone]."
Hamels went down and lined the ball to right field, allowing Ruiz to race to third base. That hit would prove pivotal, not only because it was the last pitch Maddux threw but because Ruiz would score on Jayson Werth's sacrifice fly off reliever Cla Meredith.
"That was a key hit," Padres manager Bud Black said of Hamels' single. "That got them first and third."
As Hamels' hit found the outfield grass, Maddux removed his glove from his left hand and looked as if he was about ready to spike it to the ground. He didn't. Instead, he left the field, grabbed his coat and headed to the clubhouse, where he probably missed the four runs the Phillies scored off Glendon Rusch and Kevin Cameron in the eighth inning.
"He hung in there, he regrouped in the middle innings of the game," Black said. "He's pitched well enough to win."
For the third consecutive time, Maddux was unable to win career game No. 350, though he certainly pitched well enough to deserve a better fate, as he mostly kept his well-intended pitches away from the powerful swings of the Phillies' sluggers, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
No, it wasn't so much Howard and Utley who hurt him -- Howard did have an RBI single in the first inning, oddly enough, where Khalil Greene would have been standing had the Padres not shifted their infielders.
It was Werth, who tripled and scored a run in the third inning, when Eric Bruntlett, filling in for an injured Jimmy Rollins, singled. In the seventh inning, it was the hit to Ruiz and Hamels that cost Maddux a chance at another historical milestone.
Not that Maddux has had his sights set on career victory No. 350. He would much rather help the Padres (10-17) snap out of a month-long funk that has seen them lose 11 of their last 13 games.
"It doesn't matter. I'm just trying to see how good I can be when I got out there," he said. "For me, I'm just trying to see how good I can be that night."
Hamels was plenty good on Tuesday. The left-hander from the San Diego suburb of Rancho Bernardo retired 13 of the first 15 batters he faced before Hairston hit his first home run to left-center field in the fifth inning.
Hairston later had a double in the eighth inning and then a two-run home run in the ninth inning off Ryan Madson. The home runs were eerily reminiscent of last season when he had two walk-off home runs -- eight home runs in just 87 total at-bats -- after the Padres acquired him from the Diamondbacks.
"It was nice to get at-bats like that and good to be out there and feel like you're making a difference," said Hairston, who was in a 2-for-37 slump before his first home run. "As a team, we're going through our ups and downs. I think everything will change. The season is too long to get down."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.