San Diego (77-77) at Arizona (71-84)

Fair Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 58° F
  • Game info: 4:40 pm EDT Sun Sep 25, 2005
  • TV: Ch4, KTVK
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Veteran right-hander Woody Williams looks to help the Padres inch closer to the NL West title when he faces the Arizona Diamondbacks in the deciding game of their series at Chase Field.

The first-place Padres lost at Arizona 8-5 on Saturday, dropping them back to .500 at 77-77—the same record as the last-place New York Mets in the NL East.

With San Francisco’s 6-0 loss at Colorado, the Padres lead second-place San Francisco by five games with eight to play.

Williams hopes to atone for his worst start of the season.

Against Colorado on Tuesday, he lasted one inning, allowing nine runs and nine hits in a 20-1 defeat at Coors Field.

“I’m fine,” Williams said. “I’m not worried about me. That’s one bad start out of the last four or five. If I get judged by one start over what I’ve done, that is kind of silly. I feel I’ve been a lot better lately. My confidence is a lot better.”

Williams has historically been very good late in the season with a 25-13 record and a 3.50 ERA in September in his career—his best totals of any month. He had allowed only one earned run in each of his four previous starts before unraveling at Colorado.

“Everybody’s taking every at-bat together, throwing every pitch together,” Williams said. “It’s so important to finish strong. We’ve been playing better as of late. It’s been a crazy season for a lot of us, and now we’ve got the last little push.”

Padres shortstop Khalil Greene left Saturday’s game with a bruised left shin after fouling a ball off his leg in the third inning. San Diego said Greene’s availability was day-to-day.

Right-hander Javier Vazquez, who has just one win in his last five starts, will start Sunday’s finale for Arizona.

Vazquez earned the victory in his last start, a 4-1 over the Dodgers on Tuesday, allowing one run and four hits over 7 2-3 innings. He struck out seven and walked one in his first victory in a month and second in his last 10 starts.

“This year I’ve lost a lot of games that I’ve pitched all right,” he said. “Sometimes you get one of those years, you know.”

“His velocity was up again today,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. “I saw 96 (mph) up there once, a few 95s. There are very few guys in the National League that will tell you they enjoy facing him.”

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Starting Pitchers

W. Williams Hou vs. J. Vazquez Mia
9-12 Record 11-15
4.85 ERA 4.42
106 K 192
51 BB 46
1.41 WHIP 1.25