6/15/2013 3:15 A.M. ET
Vincent leans on history vs. Upton to record first save
By Scott Bair / Special to MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Nick Vincent had little time to process his first save opportunity. The right-hander knew that Justin Upton would be his responsibility should Atlanta's powerful outfielder hit in the ninth inning Wednesday, but that at-bat was no certainty.
The Padres were an out away from a three-game sweep when Vincent indeed was called upon to face Upton, who represented the go-ahead run with runners at first and third.
Vincent flashed back to July 3, 2012, when he gave up a grand slam to Arizona's Jason Kubel and allowed three inherited runners to score. As he thought about that outing, Vincent remembered striking out Upton that day, just before Kubel's slam.
He knew he could do it again. Vincent started 2-0 but came back with two cut fastballs that Upton couldn't handle.
"The crowd started to get into it at that point, which really got the adrenaline going," Vincent said. "the pressure was on, but I rared back and threw a fastball as hard as I could."
Upton never moved. Called strike three.
It was a big moment for Vincent and certainly helped further his quest to become a mainstay in the Major Leagues. As was the three shutout innings he pitched in a 17-inning victory over Toronto on May 31.
With those 4 1/3 big league innings this season, Vincent is on the right track. He had a 1.71 ERA in 26 1/3 innings with the Padres last year, but a forearm strain sent him off track this spring.
Recent outings suggest Vincent's back, pitching to his potential.
"I think he's stuff plays in the big leagues," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He doesn't scare off in any situation, which is a good thing. Hopefully he continues to perform well and can establish himself at this level."
Street returns from DL back into closer's role
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres got their closer back.
Huston Street was activated off the 15-day disabled list Friday, which put the Padres' bullpen back in order.
The right-hander deemed himself fully recovered from a calf injury that sidelined him on May 29, when he blew his first save of the season.
While the downtime healed Street's strained left calf, it also allowed him to get steady work for the first time this season. Street threw several bullpen sessions, a simulated game and a one-inning Minor League rehab assignment for Class A Lake Elsinore on Wednesday.
"I got a ton of work in over the last two weeks, which was beneficial considering how little I was pitching in games before the injury," Street said. "It was more maintenance than anything else, and it helped me stay sharp and ready.
"It's tough to get your work in when you're just waiting to pitch. There isn't a work schedule that works for a reliever who could be called upon any day. I'm healthy. I'm confident in what I'm doing. I'm ready to go."
Street had a disjointed start to the season. He converted his first 11 save opportunities, but was 0-3 with a 4.43 ERA due in large part to the long ball. Street allowed seven home runs in 20 1/3 innings.
Street was elevating pitches too often, and opponents have punished his mistakes.
Padres manager Bud Black said Street worked out some kinks, and his location will be better for it.
"To be quite frank, I think his slider needed some work and he got that work in on the side," Black said. "We'll see how it goes when he pitches in games, but we're happy he was able to throw so much. Based on how he has thrown the ball recently, he seems to be on target with location."
Street's presence allows the bullpen to regain form.
Left-handed reliever Tommy Layne was optioned to Triple-A Tucson to make room for Street.
Luke Gregerson falls back into a setup role, which allows Dale Thayer to enter in crucial situations earlier in games. Gregerson had three saves in four opportunities while Street was out. Thayer had a save Monday.
"Luke and Dale are great players and they did a great job stepping in and closing games out," Street said. "But they told me if there was a save situation tonight, I'd be in there. That's what you want when you come back, to get the next out and secure a victory right away."
Red Sox manager praises Ciriaco to Padres
SAN DIEGO -- Padres skipper Bud Black received a text message from Red Sox manager John Farrell early Friday afternoon, and it was an encouraging one.
Farrell's sentiment: Pedro Ciriaco is going to fit right in.
The Padres acquired the utility infielder for a player to be named later earlier in the day, and Farrell's kind words bolstered the team's excitement about the trade.
"John had a lot of nice things to say about Pedro," Black said. "We're happy to have him here. We'll get him acclimated as quickly as possible, but he's going to be available right away."
Jaff Decker was optioned to Triple-A Tucson in a corresponding move, and third baseman James Darnell was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Ciriaco adds speed and defensive versatility to a team with plenty of both.
"We're excited about Pedro," Black said. "He comes in with a lot of high marks from people throughout the game. He'll be a versatile player for us. He can play every infield spot and we can move him to the outfield if we need to."
Ciriaco said he is ready for anything. The 27-year-old's whirlwind day brought him across the country in time for Friday's game against Arizona.
Ciriaco was happy with the trade, especially after being designated for assignment by the Red Sox on June 10.
"It's been a crazy day, but I'm happy to be here and I'm excited to join a team like this," Ciriaco said. "My goal right now is to introduce myself to new teammates and get on board with what they do and how they work.
"The National League game is a bit different because you have to be ready all the time. I like that. It keeps you in the game and keeps you focused at all times. I'm going to work hard and play any position they want me to."
Ciriaco has big league experience at third base, second base, shortstop and each outfield post. Ciriaco hit .216 in 28 games for the Red Sox this season and .287 in a big league career that began in 2010 with Pittsburgh.
• The Padres have switched up their starting rotation for the rest of the series. Jason Marquis, scheduled to start Sunday, will pitch Saturday night on normal rest. Clayton Richard was pushed from Saturday to Sunday.
• D-backs pitcher Ian Kennedy has appealed the 10-game suspension levied by Major League Baseball for his role in a benches-clearing brawl Tuesday night with the Dodgers and is still scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Padres at Petco Park.
Scott Bair is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.