Everything was going well for San Diego starter Chris Young in his last start - until he was ejected from the game.
Young hopes to stick around a little longer on Sunday when the Padres continue their three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Petco Park.
Young (6-3, 2.26 ERA) was tossed from his outing last Saturday after he hit Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee with a pitch and the two threw punches at one another that did not land. Both players are appealing five-game suspensions.
“I will say this, I didn’t throw at him, and that’s as far as I’ll go,” said Young, who had thrown three hitless innings before the incident.
Young was originally scheduled to pitch Friday’s series opener, but was bumped back a day. That change could allow the Padres to arrange his schedule around the All-Star break for their benefit even if the suspension is upheld.
“I guess you could look at it that way,” manager Bud Black told the Padres’ official team Web site. “One might write that if they want.”
Young has yielded just six earned runs in 42 2-3 innings over his last seven starts, but only has a 2-1 record to show for it.
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 7.88 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox, whom he last faced in 2005, while he was with Texas.
The Padres (41-31) could use a strong outing from Young, as they have dropped three straight games to fall into a second-place tie with Arizona in the NL West, one-half game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
San Diego loaded the bases on walks with no outs in the first inning of Friday’s series opener against Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, but managed to plate only one run in the frame. Matsuzaka and four relievers held the Padres scoreless the rest of the way, outpitching Greg Maddux as Boston held on for a 2-1 win.
“It looked like almost the game was decided in the first inning,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “He loads the bases and throws a cutter to (Padres catcher Michael) Barrett for the single, then stops them flat right there and let us peck away. That was a well-pitched game all the way around. We scored two and made it hold up.”
The Red Sox (47-25) have allowed just one run over their three-game winning streak.
They hope to continue getting strong pitching Saturday when they hand the ball to Tim Wakefield (7-7, 4.18).
Wakefield is trying to win his third straight start after allowing five runs in 5 2-3 innings of Sunday’s 9-5 win over San Francisco. The 40-year-old knuckleballer won despite allowing at least four runs for the fifth time in seven outings - and becoming the 441st pitcher to give up a homer to slugger Barry Bonds.
Wakefield is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three career appearances against the Padres, with the last coming in 2004. His only start against them came on April 6, 1993, when he allowed three runs in seven innings of a 9-4 win while with Pittsburgh.
Barrett, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, singled in San Diego’s lone run in the first inning for his first hit with his new club. The Padres have managed just five runs during their losing streak after totaling 23 in their previous two games.