Eaton threw seven shutout innings and drove in a run as the Padres beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 Thursday to snap their four-game losing streak.
San Diego won despite getting just three hits, including Brian Giles’ solo homer with two outs in the sixth.
“Eaton did just a great job of helping us stop this little skid that we’ve been in,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “No getting around it, that’s a good one to get, the way things have been going.”
Eaton (9-1) won his career-best eighth straight decision and kept the Padres from being swept. They won for just the second time in eight games in June after going 22-6 in May, a club record for victories in a month.
In Eaton’s last start, on Friday night, he beat the Chicago Cubs 6-2 and hit his first career triple to end a two-game losing streak.
A day after ace Jake Peavy allowed three of Cleveland’s four homers in a 6-1 loss, Eaton held the Indians to six hits, struck out nine and walked one.
“He’s been throwing the ball well and he’s a very good pitcher and he did a very good job,” Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook said.
Eaton said he normally doesn’t put pressure on himself to stop a losing streak, but this was a little different because the NL West-leading Padres are about to host a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox, who lead the AL Central.
“I think it’s big for us to get a win before the White Sox come in,” Eaton said. “Obviously, they’re probably a better team than what’s over there right now. That’s nothing against Cleveland, but obviously they’re a .500 team and Chicago’s got one of the best records in the game and is in first place. We definitely need to bear down and play some good baseball.”
It took Eaton 26 starts last year to get his ninth win, and he finished 11-14, his second straight losing season. Thursday was his 13th start this year.
“Anytime you can go 9-1 in 13 starts, it’s definitely a dream,” Eaton said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had this kind of run.”
Eaton said he’s making pitches when he has to, is staying away from big innings “and just being fortunate and lucky enough to have the run support I’ve had when I pitched. It’s just one of those times of the year when you’re getting lucky.”
That, and a strong bullpen.
“Trevor’s a luxury that a lot of starting pitchers don’t have,” Eaton said. “I definitely appreciate him back there.”
Giles said Eaton is much more sure of himself these days.
“He started off really hot and has confidence,” Giles said. “That’s what this game’s about. He has so much confidence out there, I think every fifth day he expects to win. Maybe you couldn’t say that a year ago.”
Giles’ 413-foot homer to straightaway center in the sixth gave the Padres a 3-0 lead.
Westbrook (2-9) allowed just three hits and three runs—one earned—in six innings, walked two and struck out two.
The Padres scored two unearned runs off Westbrook in the second.
Giles drew a leadoff walk and was forced at second on Phil Nevin’s potential double-play ball to shortstop. But Nevin reached second when first baseman Ben Broussard let second baseman Ronnie Belliard’s relay throw glance off the end of his glove for an error. Robert Fick drew a two-out walk and Khalil Greene singled just past the diving Belliard to score Nevin. Eaton then singled up the middle to score Fick.
“Obviously, a big mistake cost us,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “Ronnie made a hell of a play. Benny has to finish off the play right there.”
John Drennen of San Diego’s Rancho Bernardo High School, drafted by Cleveland with a sandwich pick at No. 33, met with the Indians before the game. He said he’s eager to sign. “It is what it is, you get slot money and take it and go play. Your payday is on the big league field,” said Drennen, who likely will begin playing rookie ball in Burlington, N.C. … Padres CF Dave Roberts missed his third straight game with a sore right shoulder. … Giles moved over from RF to make his first start of the season in CF. Fick started in RF. … Nevin was back at 1B after missing Tuesday night’s game with an illness. … Belliard and Crisp each had three hits.