LOS ANGELES (AP)—The San Diego Padres came out swinging against Dodgers ace Jason Schmidt, who surrendered first-pitch home runs to Brian Giles and rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff. That made things easy for Jake Peavy.
Peavy allowed a run and three hits over seven innings and the Padres beat Los Angeles 7-2 on Saturday night. The right-hander struck out three, walked two and gave up his only run on Jeff Kent’s sacrifice fly in the sixth.
“With Schmidt out there and our ace going for us, we wanted to get runs early, let Jake pitch his game and not let Schmidt get any confidence,” Giles said.
Peavy (2-0) has yielded two runs in 20 innings over his first three starts, after going 11-14 last season with a 4.09 ERA.
“I’m just going to take this thing start by start and just keep concentrating more than I have been doing in the past,” Peavy said. “With my shoulder and my body not feeling 100 percent last year, I think I could have taken it to another level mentally and maybe done a little bit better than I did. A 4.00 ERA is unacceptable, with my standards. I know I’m better than that.”
Peavy is 5-0 in his last six outings against the Dodgers—including a 10-3 win last July at Chavez Ravine in which he homered and drove in four runs.
“He’s won an ERA title and a strikeout title, so that tells you that his stuff is good,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “He knows how to pitch. He’s got great makeup and he’s very competitive. I think we’re close to seeing Jake put it all together and really have a big year.”
Schmidt (1-2) allowed six runs—five earned—and seven hits in two-plus innings, retiring only six of the 16 batters he faced. He walked two and struck out two. Middle reliever Mark Hendrickson saved the bullpen extra work by eating up five innings.
In Schmidt’s previous start, the three-time All-Star pitched four-plus innings against Colorado and allowed four runs before he was forced out by a cramp in his right hamstring that was caused by dehydration.
“My legs are fine. That’s not an issue,” Schmidt said. “It was just one of those games that you want to put in the past, but no doubt you take it hard. My changeup wasn’t changing and my fastball wasn’t being located real well. I just didn’t settle in. I didn’t catch a rhythm in time to make a big pitch to get out of the inning. It definitely wasn’t one of my finest moments.”
“You want to be aggressive against Schmidt,” Giles said. “You don’t want to fall behind because he’s got too good of a changeup and he can locate, so we wanted to get our pitches early on and see if we couldn’t do something with them. He probably struggled a little bit more tonight with his changeup, so you could certainly eliminate pitches off of that. Certainly you want to make sure he gets the ball up.”
The Padres, who hadn’t scored a second-inning run in any of their previous 10 games this season, broke through for five against Schmidt to build a 6-0 lead. The first six batters reached base against the right-hander during his 37-pitch inning.
“I think 1-through-8, we’re pretty solid and we have the capability of putting up big innings,” Kouzmanoff said. “We went into this game pretty confident that we were going to get the sticks going and we came out ready to swing.”
Kouzmanoff hit his first NL home run and fourth of his career after a leadoff double by Khalil Greene and an RBI single by Terrmel Sledge. Giles and his brother Marcus capped the rally with RBI singles.
Peavy and Schmidt each had a 16-strikeout game last season, tying for the major league high. … Dodgers CF Juan Pierre, who came in batting .186 through the first 10 games and was 2-for-18 lifetime against Peavy, didn’t start for the first time this season. But he did extend his consecutive game playing streak to 508 games when he took over in center field in the eighth inning. Pierre played in all 162 games in each of the previous four seasons. … Dodgers 3B Wilson Betemit was 0-for-4 and is off to a 1-for-24 start. … Saturday marked exactly 21 years since incoming Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn struck out three times in a game for the only time in his 20 seasons with the Padres.