07/12/08 2:02 AM ET
Peavy turns in gem for Padres
Ace turns in seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts
By Ronald P. Clark / MLB.com
Peavy started by saying, "Tonight was a good night." Then he stopped and quickly switched gears.
"You know what? I can't speak highly enough of Luke Carlin. Carlin has done an outstanding job since he's been catching me. The amount of work he puts into it and the amount of pride he takes in catching me every fifth day. I want to give him some props, he's sure done a nice job."
Whatever Carlin is doing to help Peavy will be continuously welcomed by the Padres as long as Peavy continues to perform how he has in his past few starts.
After dealing with his stint on the disabled list, Peavy truly looked like the Peavy of old as he carved through a Braves lineup.
"It was a solid game against what I see as a good offensive team," manager Bud Black said.
Nevertheless, behind a Peavy line of seven shutout innings of four-hit ball with seven strikeouts, the Padres took an early advantage in both teams' last series before the All-Star break.
And it's a series that the Padres want to have.
"It would be great going into the All-Star break winning the series," Scott Hairston said. "That's always good to create momentum for after we come back. Hopefully, we can come back and win tomorrow."
Hairston again did his part and did it early, by leading off the first inning with a triple then trotting across home plate on an RBI groundout by Edgar Gonzalez to put the first run on the board.
Hairston then led off the third inning with a double to left. Edgar Gonzalez followed with a single to right before Adrian Gonzalez brought Hairston home on a single of his own.
"[Hairston's] seeing the ball well, he's taking good swings, he's confident and there's some momentum there," Black said. "When you are swinging at strikes and taking balls, those are signs of a guy who's swinging well."
Peavy continued to dominate as the Braves were kept off balance by his continual changing of speeds. His variation of speeds is what Black viewed as one of the strengths of Peavy's performance.
"He threw some slow curveballs, a couple to Chipper Jones, and that kind of planted the seed for the rest of the guys in the lineup," Black said. "There was a little variation of his 94, all the way down to around 70. That was something we talked about was the variation of the velocity. And I think the more that he can do that, he will be effective."
Offensively, Hairston got some help from Jody Gerut and an unlikely source -- Braves outfielder Gregor Blanco.
Gerut came up in the sixth inning to pinch-hit for Chip Ambres. Gerut hit a crisp ball to left that went through the legs of Blanco. What would have been a RBI single scoring Kevin Kouzmanoff turned into Gerut landing on third and Adrian Gonzalez also crossing the plate as Blanco was called for a two-base error, making the score 4-0.
"I thought it was a good matchup for Jody there," Black said. "Chip is playing well, he's taking good swings but I just felt in that situation, against [Braves' reliever Buddy Carlyle] that Jody was the right matchup for us there."
Black made the right adjustments when he needed to and the bats were awake on Friday. But what made Friday a good thing for the Padres was that it landed on a Peavy start.
"Jake was great tonight," Hairston said, "and that's all we needed really."
Ronald P. Clark is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.