SAN DIEGO (AP)—Jake Peavy might need to stub a toe more often down the stretch.
Pitching yet again with a freak injury, San Diego’s ace was brilliant in throwing a two-hitter, matching his career-best, and striking out 14 Saturday night in a 7-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds that kept the Padres in the lead in the NL wild-card race.
Peavy accidentally kicked the leg of a sofa at home on Friday night, injuring a toe on his left foot. He received painkilling injections before the game. X-rays afterward showed no break.
“I’ve pitched some of my better games when a little something nagging has been wrong with me,” Peavy said. “I’ve had some stubbed fingers and toes and cut hands, and I’ve seemed to do pretty well.”
Boosted by a two-run homer from rookie Josh Barfield and three hits from Mike Cameron, the Padres opened a one-game lead over Philadelphia. The Phillies split a doubleheader against Atlanta. Cincinnati fell 1 1/2 games back in the wild-card race after losing for the seventh time in eight games.
“We had to have this win,” Peavy said. “There was no way. These guys are chasing us, L.A.’s playing the kind of ball that they’re playing, but we’ve got to start winning series. We had to win tonight to have a chance to win the series. Hopefully the big lefty will do his magic tomorrow.”
Peavy (8-13) was brilliant in blowing through the Reds’ lineup, surrendering only Adam Dunn’s shot into the home-run porch down the right-field line with one out in the fourth and Rich Aurilia’s single to left leading off the eighth. It was Dunn’s 39th.
“I think Dunner hit a changeup or something,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “If he doesn’t hit that ball, we might have had a no-hitter against us. Richie got a hit, but I don’t remember another ball hit hard.”
The right-hander looked liked his old self as he pitched his fifth career complete game. He had a complete game June 17, allowing four hits in a 3-2 loss at Anaheim. Peavy also threw a two-hitter May 25, 2005, at Arizona.
Peavy walked two. After giving up Dunn’s homer, he retired 10 straight before walking Edwin Encarnacion with two outs in the seventh.
“He challenged us from the first pitch,” David Ross said. “He’s the best pitcher I’ve faced this year. No one has made our team look like that all year.”
It was the fourth time this season Peavy reached double-digits in strikeouts, and the 14th time in his career. He set the franchise record with 16 strikeouts against Atlanta on May 22, but lost 3-1.
Peavy has struggled this season due to shoulder tendinitis and lack of run support. His 13 losses are the most in his career, and he’s had an uncharacteristically high ERA—it was 4.51 coming in. Peavy led the majors with a 2.27 ERA in 2004 and topped the NL with 216 strikeouts last year. His career ERA coming into this season was 3.33.
Peavy was bothered by a sinus infection in his last start, when he went only 4 1-3 innings in a 6-3 loss at Colorado.
Last year, Peavy cut his non-throwing left hand while taking out the trash a day before a start, had two wisdom teeth removed, was bothered by an upper respiratory infection and jammed his right middle finger when he was hit by a ball while shagging flies during batting practice. Two days after that mishap, he threw a five-hitter.
Cameron singled to left with one out in the second off Kyle Lohse (1-2). Barfield, the son of former AL home run champ Jesse Barfield, connected on the first pitch he saw with two outs, his 11th.
Lohse thinks the Padres had a hit-and-run on, and Barfield “had to swing at that and it came back over the middle. I wasn’t just laying them in there. I just made one mistake and he capitalized on it.”
Todd Walker walked with two outs in the third and scored on Mike Piazza’s double into the gap in left-center. Brian Giles hit an RBI double and Walker an RBI single in the seventh, and Dave Roberts hit a two-run single in the eighth.
Lohse allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, struck out three and walked two.
Cameron had his 250th career stolen base. … Ryan Freel was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.