Padres 3, Brewers 0
SAN DIEGO (AP)—A double and a double play stood out on a day when Jake Peavy was lights out again.
The Padres’ ace held the Brewers to two hits in seven scoreless innings and hit an RBI double off Jeff Suppan to lead San Diego to a 3-0 win Sunday and a three-game sweep of the NL Central-leading Brewers.
“I did take a nice deep breath after I got lucky and ran into that ball and we scored a few extra runs,” said Peavy (7-1), whose hit came in the two-run sixth. “It’s always nice to sweep somebody.
“I tell you, probably the biggest play was that double, simply because it gave us some breathing room,” said Peavy, who allowed only three baserunners in seven innings while lowering his major league-leading ERA to 1.47. “The Brewers are a good team. I know they’re scuffling right now. Suppan kept his team right there all day.”
Still, Peavy was the last guy the Brewers wanted to be facing as they lost their fifth straight and for the 12th time in 16 games.
“He didn’t throw many center cuts, as we like to call it,” said Tony Gwynn Jr., who went 0-for-3 against Peavy but singled off closer Trevor Hoffman, who was a teammate of Hall of Famer-elect Tony Gwynn. “If he caught the plate, he was splitting black. He was either just off the corner or he was on the corner.”
Adrian Gonzalez had another big game for the two-time defending NL West champion Padres, who earned their first sweep this season and won for the 10th time in 13 games. Gonzalez hit a solo homer and started a 3-4-6 double play in the sixth that came with the Padres leading 1-0.
The Padres lauded Gonzalez’s aggressiveness. After Craig Counsell reached on a leadoff flare single to right, Suppan bunted. Gonzalez fielded it and threw to shortstop Geoff Blum for the force at second before Blum threw to second baseman Marcus Giles covering first.
“Let’s crash it and get the double play,” Peavy told Gonzalez before the bunt.
“Obviously that was a huge play in the game and it took the wind out of their sails,” Giles said.
“It’s a bunt and you’ve got to take a chance,” Gonzalez said. “If he’s safe at second we’re probably going to get the guy at first anyway, so it’s worth it. All you’ve got to do is not throw it into center field. Most of the time I’m going to take that chance.”
Said manager Bud Black: “He likes to make plays. He’s like a left-handed shortstop playing first base.”
Peavy, who turns 26 on Thursday, struck out eight and walked one. He tied Atlanta’s John Smoltz and Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels for the NL lead in victories. It was the third time he allowed two or fewer hits while pitching seven innings.
It was the fifth start this year in which the right-hander didn’t allow an earned run. He’s allowed only three earned runs in his last 34 innings over five starts, and hasn’t surrendered a homer in his last seven starts. The Brewers came into the day tied with Cincinnati for the NL lead with 65 homers.
Two of the three baserunners allowed by Peavy were erased by double plays.
“You have to scratch and claw for whatever you get,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “You know you’re not going to get much.”
After leading the majors with a 2.27 ERA in 2004 and the NL with 216 strikeouts in 2005, Peavy struggled last year due to shoulder tendinitis and a lack of run support, finishing 11-14 with a 4.09 ERA.
“If we can score two runs, four runs, we have a real good chance of winning,” Gonzalez said. “Last year, he was pitching the same he is right now, except we weren’t getting him runs and he would give up late runs because he was probably putting pressure on himself to keep throwing zeros out there.”
It was the first time the Brewers were swept this season. Milwaukee, which opened the season at 24-10, lost its fifth straight game and was defeated for the 12th time in 16 games.
Heath Bell and Hoffman finished up the combined three-hitter, with Hoffman picking up his 15th save in 17 chances and extending his career record to 497.
Suppan (6-5) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings, walked six and struck out three.
Gonzalez homered to right leading off the fourth to break a scoreless tie. It was his team-leading 12th.
The Padres added two runs in the sixth. Blum doubled off Gwynn’s glove in the right-center gap with one out and scored on Peavy’s two-out double to left. Peavy scored on Marcus Giles’ single to center.
The Padres remained tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the NL West.
“This is about the type of ball that we expect to play as a team,” Peavy said. “We’re not going to come out and blow anybody away, for the most part. We’ve got to scratch and claw for everything we can get. We’re scoring enough runs to win; we’ve got to ride these streaks out when we’re pitching well.”
Padres SS Khalil Greene, hitting just .217, sat for the second straight game. … The Brewers finished this West Coast trip at 1-5. … Hoffman has converted 11 straight save chances.