Padres 5, Expos 2

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MONTREAL (AP)—Phil Nevin and the San Diego Padres look forward to seeing Jake Peavy’s turn come up in the rotation.

Peavy won his sixth straight decision, and Nevin homered and drove in three runs in San Diego’s 5-2 victory over the Montreal Expos on Saturday night.

Peavy (11-3), unbeaten in nine starts since the All-Star break, held Montreal to five hits and two runs in 6 2-3 innings. It was the 18th time in 20 starts he’s allowed two earned runs or less.

“Any team that’s been at the head of the pack or been a playoff-type team, you have a stopper in your rotation, and that’s what (Peavy) has been,” said Nevin, whose two-run homer in the third tied it at 2. “It’s nice to have that type of pitcher in your rotation.”

Ramon Hernandez also homered for the Padres, who pulled one game behind Chicago in the NL wild-card race.

Trevor Hoffman struck out the side in the ninth for his 33rd save.

“It was an outstanding job tonight by everybody,” Peavy said. “We had good defense, we had timely hitting, good bullpen and good starting. It was a good all-around win. We just have to keep putting these wins together.”

Hernandez hit a leadoff homer off John Patterson (3-3) in the fourth to put San Diego up 3-2. Nevin and Ryan Klesko hit consecutive two-out singles later in the inning to chase Patterson.

Peavy, who has a 2.25 ERA, retired 16 in a row during one stretch after allowing both Montreal runs in the first.

“(Peavy) was confident with every pitch,” said Tony Batista, who hit an RBI double to drive in one of the Expos’ two first-inning runs. “He put his mind clear after that first inning, and right away he threw first-pitch fastballs to everybody. He got ahead of everybody and threw a lot of breaking pitches down, too. He mixed his pitches and won the game.”

Brad Wilkerson hit a leadoff single and, one out later, scored when Batista doubled off center fielder Freddy Guzman’s glove. Peavy struck out Juan Rivera before Terrmel Sledge walked and Brian Schneider’s grounder hit first base and scooted past Nevin for a run-scoring single to put the Expos up 2-0.

“He didn’t get any breaks that first inning,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “The ball hit the bag, but he settled down. He gave us a chance to come back and the long ball helped us tonight.”

Nevin tied it at 2 in the third with a two-run homer off Patterson.

Montreal rookie Maicer Izturis hit a leadoff double in the second, and was the Expos’ last baserunner until Carroll reached on shortstop Khalil Greene’s throwing error with one out in the seventh.

Peavy got Izturis swinging for his sixth strikeout before pinch-hitter Henry Mateo’s single brought Bochy out of the dugout to end Peavy’s outing.

With runners at first and third, left-hander Scott Linebrink got Wilkerson to fly to left to maintain San Diego’s three-run lead.

Originally scheduled to start Friday, Patterson had his start moved back a day as he recovered from the flu earlier this week. He allowed nine hits and five runs while throwing 96 pitches in just 3 2-3 innings.

“I felt all right through three, in the fourth my legs went kind of weak,” Patterson said. “I definitely didn’t feel sick, just a little weak.”

Notes

Peavy, who missed six weeks earlier this season with a strained muscle in his right forearm, hasn’t pitched enough innings to qualify for the NL ERA lead. … Wilkerson’s first-inning single was the 12th time in 19 games he has reached on a hit or a walk to begin a game. … The Expos have scored in the first inning in 10 of their last 13 games.

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