The San Diego Padres have vaulted into first place in the NL West, thanks to their play at Petco Park.
Greg Maddux is enjoying his first season pitching at the spacious park, and he’ll look to win his fifth straight start there when he takes the ball for the Padres on Wednesday night in the middle game of a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
San Diego (34-23) re-claimed first place in the NL West with a 1-0 win over the rival Dodgers in Tuesday’s series opener.
The Padres mustered just two hits, but that was enough as Marcus Giles singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
San Diego has won eight of 10, and is now percentage points ahead of Arizona, and one-half game in front of Los Angeles (34-24) in the division.
While the pitching staff recorded their big league-best ninth shutout, the Padres won for the second time this season while getting just two hits at Petco. They also did it April 9, beating San Francisco 1-0.
“We won another ballgame with less than three hits,” said Russell Branyan, who scored the winning run.
“There’s no better place to play in. Here, it’s refreshing to see a pitchers’ duel six out of seven nights.”
San Diego is 18-9 at Petco - tied for the best home record in the NL with Milwaukee - and Maddux (4-3, 3.92 ERA) has become quite comfortable pitching in his new home.
After losing to Colorado in his home debut on April 6, Maddux has allowed just six runs in 27 2-3 innings during his four-game home winning streak.
Maddux, who made 12 starts for the Dodgers last season, allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings of a 3-2 win over his former team on April 28 at Petco. The 41-year-old right-hander has won his last three starts over Los Angeles, posting a 1.71 ERA in those games. He is 14-7 with a 2.75 ERA in 32 career starts against the Dodgers.
Maddux is coming off a solid outing, but was denied his 338th career victory. He allowed two runs - one earned - and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-2, 11-inning win over Pittsburgh on Thursday, and has given up one earned run or less in three of his last five starts.
The Dodgers counter with Randy Wolf (7-3, 3.68), who tries to win his fifth straight decision.
Wolf has posted a 2.40 ERA in the five games during his streak, but he was a little shaky in winning his last time out. The left-hander gave up four runs and seven hits while throwing 95 pitches in just five innings of a 5-4 victory over Pittsburgh on Friday.
“I’ll take them any way I can get them,” said Wolf, who pitched six shutout innings in his previous start but didn’t get the decision. “You’d much rather pitch well, pitch a complete game shutout - it wasn’t pretty.”
In his only start against the Padres this season, he gave up three runs and six hits in six innings of a 9-3 win on April 15. He is 5-2 with a 5.63 ERA in eight career starts against San Diego, and this will be his first career start at Petco.
The Dodgers had only five hits on Tuesday, and were shut out for the first time since May 10 at Florida. It was just their fourth loss in 13 games.