Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Padres-Dodgers: Pitching, timely hitting sends Padres past Dodgers

After sprinting in from the bullpen Padres' closer Heath Bell knew he had to calm down and be in control as he stepped onto the mound in the ninth inning. His team had just handed him a 4-2 lead and it was up to him to shut the door, and shut the door he did as he struck out the side to end the game.

There was a different feeling in the air as Bell came out of the bullpen, no longer was there the sound of AC/DC's "Hells Bells" blaring from Petco Park's sound system, no longer was there the slow methodical jog and no longer was there the familiar announcement of #51 Trevor Hoffman.

A new era has started in San Diego and it couldn't have started on a better note than Bell closing out a 4-2 win over the rival Dodgers. Not only that but doing it as only Bell can do, throwing heat and striking out the side.

The Padres also got great work from their bullpen, new Padres Edwin Moreno and Duaner Sanchez pitched scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth innings before turning the ball over the Bell.

On the offensive side, the Padres got the run support for starter Chris Young that they didn't get for ace Jake Peavy a night earlier. It looked like it might be the same story from the night before as the Padres trailed 2-1 going into the sixth inning.

Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff led off the inning with back-to-back singles, then Chase Headley laced a liner just inside the third base line, scoring both Gonzalez and Kouzmanoff to give the Padres a 3-2 lead. Headley would eventually score an insurance run on a Luis Gonzalez sacrifice fly, giving Bell all the breathing room he needed.

The Padres and Dodgers will continue their four game series with game three tonight at Petco Park. Right-hander Walter Silva will make his San Diego Padres debut tonight against Dodgers' right-hander Chad Billingsley.

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