San Diego’s relievers are giving the team’s hitters plenty of time to find their stroke at the plate.
Buoyed by a strong bullpen, the Padres hope to earn a series victory Sunday when they wrap up their three-game set with the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park.
San Diego’s bullpen has thrown 15 2-3 scoreless innings so far this season, including 2 1-3 in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Colorado. The relievers held off the Rockies’ hitters until Adrian Gonzalez drove in the game-winning run on a double with one out in the ninth.
“We know our pitching staff is going to pitch to expectations, and our guys have high expectations,” said Bud Black, who got his first home win as Padres (3-2) manager on Saturday.
Closer Trevor Hoffman, baseball’s career saves leader with 483, pitched the ninth for his first win since July 27, 2005. The victory was the first in three games for the Padres, who have scored five of their nine runs over that span in the ninth inning.
“I think it’s a good sign,” Black said of his team’s late-inning scoring. “I think it’s a great sign. Our guys, as the game goes on, make some adjustments. I think at the end of the game everybody’s focus heightens, whether it’s offense, defense or on the mound.”
Russell Branyan added an opposite-field solo homer Saturday for the Padres, who took two of three at San Francisco in their first series of the season.
Jamey Carroll drove in both runs for the Rockies (3-2), who saw their three-game winning streak snapped.
The Rockies’ bullpen has been far less effective than the Padres’, allowing nine runs in 14 1-3 innings. Manny Corpas was charged with the game-winning run on Saturday.
Starter Aaron Cook (0-0, 7.50 ERA) will look to take some of the pressure of his relievers in Sunday’s series finale. The right-handed sinkerballer gave up five runs and nine hits in six innings in the Rockies’ 8-6 opening-day loss to Colorado.
Cook, who was named Colorado’s opening day starter nearly 2 1/2 years after life-threatening blood clots were discovered in his lungs, is 7-3 with a 2.94 ERA in 14 career appearances, including 12 starts, against the Padres. He is 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA in four starts at Petco Park, although the loss came in his only outing there last season.
San Diego will counter with ace Jake Peavy (1-0, 0.00), who is coming off a strong opening-day start in which he threw six innings of a 7-0 win over Barry Zito and the San Francisco Giants, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out six.
“That’s the way you draw it up. Put some zeros on the board and make it hold up,” said Peavy, who battled shoulder tendinitis last season. “That’s a good day. I feel healthy. That’s the biggest thing for me.”
Peavy lost both of his starts against the Rockies last season, earning a 14.04 ERA in those outings - his worst against any team. He is 4-4 with a 4.74 ERA in 10 career starts against Colorado.