Saturday, April 11, 2009

Padres-Giants: Padres jump on Zito early, beat Giants 7-3

The San Diego Padres wasted no time getting their offense going against Giants' left-hander Barry Zito, scoring three runs in the home half of the first inning including an RBI double from right-fielder Brian Giles and an RBI single from third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.

Zito would only last four innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out four as the Padres outlasted the Giants, and a 51-minute rain delay, for a 7-3 win at Petco Park.

The two teams were in the sixth inning with a light rain already falling, but that light rain turned into a downpour and the teams were ordered off the field with the Padres leading 4-2.

In the eighth inning, against Giants' reliever Merkin Valdez, Scott Hairston provided the knockout punch as he hammered a hanging slider for a three-run homer to dead center. Hairston would be responsible for four of the teams seven runs in their victory.

Another new Padre pitcher would impress as well. Shawn Hill, who the Padres signed after being released by the Washington Nationals, pitched five strong innings giving up two runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out three. After Hill departed after the fifth inning, the Padres' bullpen would shut down the Giants through the remaining four innings. They would allow just one hit and one run (unearned), walking two and striking out two.

In 2008, the Padres' bullpen was shaky at best, you never knew what you might see from them. That has all changed in 2009 with new additions like Duaner Sanchez, who's yet to give up a hit in his two relief appearances. It has given manager Bud Black a whole lot more confidence in going to his bullpen in tight situations and close leads. He knows they'll get the job done.

The two teams will be back at it tonight from Petco Park. The Giants will have left-hander Jonathan Sanchez on the hill, the Padres will counter with their ace Jake Peavy. Jake will be looking for the kind of run support they didn't give him in his first start against the Dodgers. Look for him to have a big game tonight and look for the Padres to carry their confidence over and keep their momentum.

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