Odd ending works for Padres
McAnulty hit-by-pitch to force in winning run in ninth inning
SAN DIEGO -- The redness on Paul McAnulty's arm marked the spot where the Padres left fielder was plunked with a pitch Thursday. Come Friday, he might even have a welt or an unsightly bruise.
Ah, the price of victory.
McAnulty found it easy enough to live with the pain of being hit mostly because it led to the Padres' 2-1 victory over the Mets at PETCO Park when he took a Scott Schoeneweis fastball to the shoulder with the bases loaded.
"Good eye," Padres manager Bud Black quipped.
McAnulty's plunking allowed Scott Hairston to walk home from third base as the Padres (25-37) took the first game of the series against the Mets (30-29) by the most peculiar of ways.
"Anyway you can get a run or win a game in the big leagues ... you take it," McAnulty said. "I'm not going to complain."
Certainly not after the Padres, who have struggled mightily with getting hits with runners in scoring position, left 15 runners on base and missed several opportunities to break the game open.
Look at it this way: The Padres had 12 hits and scored two runs.
"The good thing is we're starting to apply more pressure," Black said. "Now it's taking that next step and getting that key hit."
Or, in McAnulty's case, taking a hit in the shoulder.
That Schoeneweis had trouble locating his pitches Thursday wasn't entirely surprising as he walked Hairston and Brian Giles to start the inning before getting the Adrian Gonzalez on a comebacker that allowed the runners to advance.
Schoeneweis then intentionally walked Kevin Kouzmanoff to get to McAnulty, who was sitting on a breaking ball all the way, thinking Schoeneweis would try to get a strike right away. Instead, he took one for the game-winner.
"That's the game of baseball," McAnulty said.
Think that's strange? Consider the case of San Diego pitcher Josh Banks. Claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays last month, Banks extended his consecutive innings streak without yielding an earned run to 22 before allowing a David Wright RBI single in the sixth inning.
That streak also is the longest in franchise history for a pitcher to start his Padres career.
"Getting strikes, taking it pitch by pitch. Taking it one pitch at a time. It sounds cliché." Banks said. "As long as I keep the team in the game, that's all I care about."
Banks allowed just the one run over six innings with no walks and three strikeouts. The bullpen took care of the rest as Justin Hampson, Heath Bell and Trevor Hoffman (1-4) combined for three scoreless innings.
"Josh pitched well, had good use of his fastball, up, down, in and out," Black said. "... I thought his change was good tonight. He's got a good feel for his pitches."
There was some bad news for the Padres Thursday as second baseman Tadahito Iguchi left the game after the seventh inning with a separated right shoulder. Iguchi injured the shoulder when he landed on it trying to go from second to third base on a ground ball.
Black said Iguchi could miss "a minimum of four weeks." Iguchi joins the disabled list that already includes pitchers Jake Peavy, Shawn Estes, Kevin Cameron, Chris Young and catcher Josh Bard.
New York starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey allowed one run over six innings like Banks, though he allowed eight hits. The Padres had at least one runner on base in each of his six innings but managed just one run, coming on an Iguchi double in the third inning.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.