Padres 3, Diamondbacks 1
“It’s nice to be mentioned with the guys who are revered in this game, but more importantly, we’re trying to win ballgames and that’s my focus,” Hoffman said. “There’ll be time later to reflect and I’ll be awfully excited.”
Hoffman earned his 16th save in 18 chances this year. He had been tied for fourth all-time with Jeff Reardon. Next up on the career list is Dennis Eckersley, who’s going into the Hall of Fame on July 25, with 390.
It was just the fourth win in 13 games for the Padres, who had been roughed up by AL East teams in interleague play.
Hoffman tied Reardon on Saturday night. Six days earlier, he blew a save at Yankee Stadium by allowing consecutive home runs with two outs in the ninth in a game the Yankees won 6-5 in 12 innings.
“A week ago, I was humbled pretty good,” he said.
Nevin’s two-run shot off left-hander Casey Fossum with two outs in the third gave the Padres a 2-1 lead. Nevin drove a 2-0 pitch an estimated 325 feet into the home run porch down the right-field line.
It was just the 18th homer for the Padres in 35 home games at their new downtown ballpark. Nevin and fellow slugger Ryan Klesko have complained that the ball doesn’t carry well to right and right-center at the $458 million ballpark. The gap in right-center is the deepest part of the park at 411 feet.
Nevin caught some grief from him teammates.
“Hey, it’s a bandbox,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’d been kidding him: ‘325 feet and he got a home run.’ “We needed a shot in the arm and we got it.”
Nevin said this was the first time he was happy with the design of the ballpark.
“I think we just beat on what this park is too much,” Nevin said. “The more you talk about it, the more maybe you do think about it when you are up there. The bottom line is you’ve got to take good at-bats and hit the ball hard. So what if it does take a home run or two away? I still believe we’re going to win more games than we lose here, because it is a home-field advantage.”
Nevin has homered just four times and driven in 13 runs at Petco. Overall, he’s got 10 homers and 43 RBIs.
The Padres’ 44 homers are the fewest in the majors.
Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly wasn’t amused.
“Casey was damn good,” Brenly said. “He had all of his pitches working. Save for a pop-up hit into a tricked-up corner of a ballpark, he probably would have had a better result. It’s not for me to talk about ballpark design, but they put that short porch out there and Nevin found it.”
Fossum thought Nevin’s ball was going to be caught.
“It just looked like a fly ball,” Fossum said. “It barely got out. It’s 322 down the line. Bad luck, I guess. I made one mistake and it cost us.”
Nevin’s defense helped bail out Ismael Valdez (6-3) after the right-hander loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth by allowing infield singles to Finley and Bautista, and a walk to Luis Gonzalez. Shea Hillenbrand hit a grounder to Nevin, who threw home to get Finley and start a 3-2-3 double play.
With runners on second and third, Chad Tracy grounded out to end the inning.
Valdez went seven innings, allowing one run and seven hit while walking three and striking out two.
Fossum (1-6) allowed two runs and six hits with striking out five in sixinnings, with one walk.
Matt Bush, the top pick by the Padres in the draft two weeks ago, was suspended indefinitely by the team a day after he was arrested at a bar in Peoria, Ariz., for investigation of trespass, disorderly conduct and assault, said a spokeswoman for the Peoria Police Department. … Finley started even though he had a .102 lifetime average against Valdez coming in. Finley got two infield singles. … The Padres and Diamondbacks were both swept in three-game series by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays during the last week. … The Diamondbacks(27-43) dropped a season-low 16 games below .500.