Time on farm served Meredith well
San Diego (54-88) at Milwaukee (82-60), Sunday, 11:05 a.m. PT
MILWAUKEE -- Cla Meredith is back. His three-pitch strikeout of Brewers slugger Ryan Braun on Saturday night is all the proof you need.
By looking at recent results, a humbling couple of weeks in Triple-A Portland must have done the right-hander a lot of good. Meredith, optioned to Portland on Aug. 16, made six appearances in the Pacific Coast League and held his own with a 2.70 ERA.
"He needed to take a step back at that point," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I think he was putting a lot of pressure on himself. He was doing some things, fundamentally, that he needed to get back to, and I think he has."
It was a tough demotion for Meredith, who pitched in 80 games while spending all of 2007 in San Diego.
"Mentally, I know the move that they made, they probably had a lot of reasons behind it," said Meredith, who was brought back to the Majors on Aug. 29. "I definitely processed it all when it happened. I kept my pride, didn't let it hurt me mentally."
The right-hander likely won't be used in Sunday's game, given he's thrown three innings the last two days. Chris Young (4-5) faces Manny Parra (10-6) in the series finale, as San Diego looks to split the four-game set.
Since returning from Portland, Meredith hasn't given up a run in four outings. He tossed two scoreless frames on Friday and backed that up by mowing down the heart of the Milwaukee lineup on Saturday.
After J.J. Hardy singled, Meredith decided to throw Braun all sinkers to try to induce a double play. He didn't get it, but he'll always take a strikeout of one of the league's top young hitters.
"He's pretty good, so I can't expect that every time," joked Meredith, who now has 65 appearances to match Heath Bell for the team lead.
Meredith froze Prince Fielder for a second straight strikeout and got Corey Hart to fly to left on a broken bat to end the eighth. After the game, Black remarked on the improvements he's seen from Meredith since the recall.
"He was padding the strike zone, hitting his spots, which is what all pitchers need to do," Black said. "Cla's keeping the ball down, getting the ball on the ground. He's pitching very well."
SD: RHP Chris Young (4-5, 4.91 ERA)
Young was activated from the disabled list prior to his last start on Monday against the Dodgers. Understandably, Young, who missed 18 games with a strained right forearm, was a little rusty from a command standpoint, walking three over five innings in taking the loss. The Padres have opted to go with a six-man rotation for the time being to get a look at several young pitchers, but also to afford pitchers like Young and Jake Peavy an extra day of rest. Young has walked three or more batters in a game 10 different times this season.
MIL: LHP Manny Parra (10-6, 4.10 ERA)
Parra was fuming after he lasted only five innings in a loss to the Mets at Miller Park in his last outing. His most egregious mistake was a hanging split-fingered fastball on a full count to outfielder Carlos Beltran that was supposed to be in the dirt. Beltran hit it for a three-run home run. "In my opinion, it was another subpar performance," said Parra, who won eight straight decisions from May 20-July 20 but has just one win in eight starts since. "I'm catching too much plate. Five innings is just not going to cut it." Parra did hit a couple of doubles in the game, including one that drove home two runs.
Several Padres, including Black, took in the San Diego State-Notre Dame football game on clubhouse televisions before Saturday's game. The Aztecs lost, 21-13. ... Reliever Brian Falkenborg is the only Padre who has faced Parra, striking out in his one at-bat. ... The Padres are in the midst of a 20-game stretch with no off-days. Their next day off is Sept. 18. ... Brian Giles is tied with Ryan Klesko for second on the club's all-time walks list with 470. Giles would have to play a few more years to catch Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, who walked 790 times. ... Class A Eugene outfielder Dan Robertson earned Northwest League MVP honors. Robertson broke the league's 36-year-old hits record with 114 in 73 games, batting .302. ... Outfielder Jeff Decker was named the Arizona rookie league MVP after hitting .352 with five homers and 34 RBIs in 49 games.
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Monday: Padres (Cha Seung Baek, 4-10, 5.36) vs. Dodgers (Greg Maddux, 7-11, 4.18), 7:05 p.m. PT
Tuesday: Padres (Wade LeBlanc, 0-1, 11.25) vs. Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 8-10, 3.96), 7:05 p.m. PT
Wednesday: Padres (Shawn Estes, 2-1, 2.97) vs. Dodgers (Derek Lowe, 12-11, 3.53), 7:05 p.m. PT
Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.