SAN DIEGO -- There have been no shortage of notable starting-pitching performances by the Padres this season, like when Anthony Bass retired the first 17 hitters he faced against the Giants in April, or the shutout Jason Marquis tossed in Pittsburgh last month, or even the dominant effort that Edinson Volquez had in a one-hit shutout of the Astros in July.
But if you press Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley for his favorite, he might surprise you a little bit.
Balsley said this week that rookie left-hander Andrew Werner -- who gets the start Sunday in the series finale against the D-backs -- just might have topped them all Monday on the road against the Dodgers.
"That might have been the best pitching game all year," Balsley said.
Werner, in his third Major League start, allowed two runs on five hits in six innings of a no-decision, as the Padres topped the Dodgers, 4-3, in 11 innings. Werner struck out a career-high eight and threw 63 strikes in an 85-pitch outing against a very good lineup.
"He was extremely sharp with his command. There's a difference between pounding the strike zone and throwing pitches right down the middle or hitting your spots," Balsley said. "Although he was getting ahead of everyone he faced, he was doing it with quality pitches."
Balsley recalled a conversation he had during the game with catcher John Baker, who relayed to Balsley that Werner essentially had pinpoint control the entire game.
"I was talking to Baker about pitch selection and the certain things you can do to this lineup. John said all he [Werner] had to do was put his glove to one side or the other and he would hit it," Balsley said.
And Werner did so against a team with a lineup that includes Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez. That he did so with an average fastball but a good grasp on his changeup and slider make his performance even more notable.
Werner backed up a 90 mph sinker to Ethier with a 72 mph curveball in a second inning at-bat and then followed with two sliders for a strikeout. Then, two innings later, he struck out Kemp on three pitches -- changeup, slider and changeup.
"I don't think there's much fear there," Balsley said.
Cashner displays changeup command in return
SAN DIEGO -- Padres manager Bud Black said there was a lot to like about the five innings that Andrew Cashner tossed in Friday's victory over the D-backs.
Cashner allowed two runs on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts. He threw 68 pitches -- 47 going for strikes. His fastball, as was the case in his recent Minor League rehab starts, wasn't of the high-octane variety (upper 90s) as it was earlier in the season, but his changeup was a devastating pitch for him.
In fact, 31 percent of the pitches Cashner threw were changeups with 31 percent of them sliders. That start included, Cashner has only thrown changeups 18 percent of the time.
"He felt good with it," Black said. "He has a lot of confidence in it. He even shook to it a couple of times, which is good."
During a second-inning strikeout of Chris Johnson, Cashner used fastballs of 93 and 94 mph followed by an 86 mph changeup and an 84 mph slider before striking out Johnson looking at a 94 mph fastball.
"It was a nice [speed] differential," Black said.
Black and Cashner expressed no concern that his velocity isn't what it was earlier in the season. Cashner, who missed 51 games with a strained right lat, is still working into his velocity.
"I think I have it right now. Why push it? It's there when I need it," Cashner said. "I think velocity is overrated."
Black said Cashner could likely throw 75 or more pitches in his next start, which will come sometime next weekend against the Rockies at Petco Park.
Padres pitcher Clayton Richard and his wife, Ashley, welcomed their first child into the world Saturday at 10:40 p.m. Their son, Cashton Richard, weighed in at 9 pounds and measured 20 inches.
Left fielder Carlos Quentin was out of the lineup for the third time in the last four games on Saturday as his right knee continues to give him fits. Quentin has what the team is calling irritation of the knee, the same knee he had surgery on in March, which delayed the start of his season until May 28.
"We've got to let it quiet down," said Padres manager Bud Black. "But there's no big concern from the medical end."