Marlins 8, Padres 3
Pavano pitched six solid innings, homered and had two RBIs as the Marlins defeated the San Diego Padres 8-3 Sunday to win their third series on a nine-game road trip.
“We have a goal to win every series,” Pavano said. “We know what we have to do to get back into this and get to where we want to be.”
The Marlins, who lost seven of ll games heading into the trip, remained 5 1/2 games behind San Francisco in the NL Wild Card race. Florida is still 7 1/2 games behind Atlanta for the NL East lead, but the defending World Series champions believe they are well positioned for a postseason run.
“We came on the trip with the idea of doing what we had to do to win these series,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said. “We found a way to win these kind of games.”
Luis Castillo also drove in two runs for the Marlins, who won six of nine games away from home.
Pavano (14-5) allowed two runs—one earned—and five hits, struck out three and walked three.
“I thought I was wild,” Pavano said. “I thought I was lucky to get the runs I did. I settled down a little bit and then the pressure was on their team to score runs. With a team like (San Diego), you feel fortunate to get out of some of those jams with one run.”
Pavano also helped himself with his second homer of the season, leading off the second inning. He sent a 413-foot shot off Sterling Hitchcock into the upper deck in left field for a 2-1 lead. Pavano also had an RBI double as part of the Marlins’ four-run sixth inning.
Guillermo Mota worked 2 2-3 hitless innings for his third save.
Hitchcock (0-3) left the game after four innings because of a strained left elbow. Hitchcock, who had ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow in 2000, allowed three runs and six hits before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter. He was making his fourth start after rib and groin injuries sidelined him for the first 107 games.
“It’s a little bit different than it was in 2000 when I blew it out,” Hitchcock said. “But it’s right in the same area and that’s what I’m concerned about.”
Ramon Hernandez homered and drove in two runs for San Diego, which has lost 11 of 15 at home and has lost its last five home series.
“We need to pick it up,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “It doesn’t matter whether we’re here or on the road, we have to play better than that if we think we’re a contending club.”
The Padres remained seven games behind first-place Los Angeles in the NL West and dropped 2 1/2 games behind the Giants in the wild card race.
Castillo put the Marlins ahead to stay with an RBI single in the fourth inning. Damion Easley drew a leadoff walk and went to second on a wild pitch by Hitchcock. One out later, Castillo lined a single to left to drive in Easley and make it 3-2.
Hernandez tied it at 1 with a run-scoring double in the second inning, but Pavano quickly regained the lead with his homer in the bottom of the inning.
Pavano improved to 9-1 on the road. His last road loss was May 1 at San Francisco. … The Marlins have won six straight series against the Padres, including the last four in San Diego. … Hitchcock has allowed five homers in 21 1-3 innings of his four starts. … Right-hander Marty McLeary made his major league debut for the Padres and allowed one run in two innings. … Florida leads the majors with a 23-12 record in day games.