Another dramatic win for Padres
Clark's homer gives San Diego a four-game sweep
SAN DIEGO -- There was no need for history on Sunday afternoon -- just a little bit of late-inning magic.
A day after the Padres set a Major League record by recording their fourth straight 2-1 victory, they used four eighth-inning runs to sweep the Mets in the four-game series.
Tony Clark dialed up his first home run in a Padres uniform at an opportune time, drilling a two-out, pinch-hit three-run shot to dead center to produce a come-from-behind 8-6 victory over the Mets.
"It means I finally made a contribution other than shaking hands at the end of the game," Clark said of the 3-2 pitch he hit off Mets closer Billy Wagner. "Over the course of 162 games, you're going to need contributions from a lot of guys."
The sweep was the Padres' first of the year and extended their season-high winning streak to five games.
With the Diamondbacks losing in Pittsburgh, the Padres were able to pull within seven games of the division leaders, but at nine games under the break-even mark, the club is aware that the victory was one of many steps in returning to contention.
"It will be a nice off-day," said Trevor Hoffman, who earned his 14th save. "I think we understand that getting a sweep of the New York Mets hasn't been done in 20 years. It's a feather in your cap but it isn't something that you can hang your hat on. We have to be ready for the Dodgers on Tuesday and understand that until you get to .500, you have to keep working."
It wasn't quite that long ago that the Padres swept the Mets as they took four games at Shea Stadium, Aug. 23-26 in 2004, but getting it done at home is a different story.
The Padres last swept a four-game series against the Mets in San Diego from Sept. 4-7, 1980, when their home was Qualcomm Stadium.
A sweep seemed unlikely Sunday as the Mets equaled their scoring output in the series by putting three runs on the board in the top of the first, which the Padres answered in the bottom half. But they needed a rally late in the game and a decisive homer for the second straight game to keep their recently generated momentum going.
"Any time you win, it builds confidence," said Brian Giles, who went 3-for-5. "It seemed that during this series with the Mets that somebody was going to come up with a play to beat you. It was a tough first six weeks of the season, but we expect to win."
Giles walked and scored in the bottom of the first, when Mets starter Pedro Martinez committed a balk with the bases loaded. Giles added two more singles on the afternoon and is hitting .389 in his last 24 games with a .505 on-base percentage that is buoyed by 19 walks.
Carlos Guevara (1-0) picked up his first Major League win by pitching a perfect eighth inning, while Wagner (0-1) suffered his third blown save of the year and took the loss.
"This gives us confidence and this gives us momentum," manager Bud Black said. "This is the way we expected to play and I think this reinforces what this team and what these guys are about. We haven't seen it over the course of the first two months. We've seen it in smaller sample sizes, but I think this is more indicative of the types of games that we play."
The Padres spotted the Mets a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Damion Easley hit an RBI single and Carlos Delgado added a two-run triple off starter Wil Ledezma. But with three of their own in the bottom half of the inning, the Padres tied the game as Giles scored on the balk and Paul McAnulty added a two-run flared single to shallow left.
The Mets got single runs in the second, fourth and seventh innings while the Padres were able to score just one more in that span on Jody Gerut's RBI single in the fourth.
The Padres turned the game to their advantage in the eighth when Craig Stansberry, who entered the game in the top of the inning as part of a double switch, hit a lead-off double just out of the reach of Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, who could not track down the popup to shallow left.
Khalil Greene struck out but Luke Carlin walked. Saturday night's hero, Scott Hairston, also struck out, but Gerut yanked a single just past Delgado at first. Clark then hit for Edgar Gonzalez and after working the count full, the veteran took Wagner deep to center.
"He's one of the best in the business for a reason," Clark said. "He is not someone you step in the box [against] and ever feel comfortable. You don't try to do too much. He's throwing mid-to-high 90s. You simply try to put the bat head on the ball."
It was Clark's 11th pinch-hit home run of his career and the first by a Padre this season.
"Pinch-hitting can humble you very quickly," Clark said. "You try to keep it in perspective and know that one swing can make the difference."
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.