Padres 11, Diamondbacks 0
SAN DIEGO (AP)—Jake Peavy was back to his All-Star form, Morgan Ensberg looked nothing like the slumping player who was deemed expendable by Houston, and the struggling San Diego Padres got back on their feet—just in time to face Barry Bonds.
Peavy struck out 10 to pass 1,000 for his career and Ensberg hit two two-run homers in his first start with the Padres, helping San Diego to an 11-0 win over first-place Arizona on Thursday.
It was a badly needed lift for the two-time defending NL West champions, who’d lost 12 of 19 games after the All-Star break and endured a clubhouse shakeup during the last week.
“We’re excited to have those guys and hope we’ve got enough,” Peavy said. “We’re going to try to fight and claw our way back to the top and win this thing.”
With Wally Joyner in his first day as the Padres’ hitting coach, San Diego’s anemic offense provided a rare power display. Khalil Greene added a three-run homer and Adrian Gonzalez had a solo shot. Gonzalez, aboard for both of Ensberg’s homers, scored three runs. Joyner replaced Merv Rettenmund, who was fired on Tuesday.
Ensberg homered for the Padres a week after homering against them. Mackowiak, who came over from the White Sox, also made his first San Diego start, filling in for injured right fielder Brian Giles. Batting leadoff, Mackowiak went 2-for-5, stole a base and scored two runs.
Probably the most important performance, though, was by Peavy.
The 26-year-old right-hander ended a four-game losing streak in his previous start, and built on that performance.
He held Arizona to three hits in seven innings, with one walk. Relievers Cla Meredith and Ledezma each pitched a perfect inning to finish San Diego’s 15th shutout, tops in the majors.
After watching Roy Oswalt change speeds in beating the Padres on Saturday, Peavy decided he needed to do the same thing.
“In the last month, everything was hard, hard, hard, 85-plus,” he said. “There was not a whole lot of speed difference. When guys can sit on the hard stuff, they’re going to get one. I didn’t feel like I was getting roughed up in the stretch, but I wasn’t myself.”
With a curveball in the 70s, a changeup in the low 80s and his fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, “I had a good speed differential,” he said. “They can’t sit on one thing.”
With 1,004 strikeouts, Peavy joined Andy Benes (1,036) as the only Padres pitchers to reach the 1,000-strikeout plateau. Peavy (11-5) reached double digits in strikeouts for the fifth time this season and the 20th time in his career. He had gone 13 straight starts without striking out at least 10 after doing so in four straight starts from April 25-May 11. That streak started at Arizona when he struck out 16 to tie his club record.
Peavy, the All-Star starter, leads the NL with 154 punchouts.
Peavy struck out the side in the first inning. He reached 1,000 when he got Jeff DaVanon to look at strike three leading off the fourth. Peavy struck out DaVanon three times and allowed only one baserunner to reach third.
“He’s got great stuff,” Arizona’s Stephen Drew said. “He throws everything at you and uses it as a weapon. You can’t sit on any one pitch. The best thing you can do is look for a pitch up.”
Third-place San Diego avoided a three-game sweep and pulled within 1 1/2 games of the Diamondbacks.
The Padres open a three-game series against Bonds and the San Francisco Giants on Friday night. Bonds went into Thursday night’s game at Los Angeles one home run shy of tying Hank Aaron’s career record of 755.
Bonds has hit 86 home runs against the Padres, his most against any team. He’s hit only three in 73 at-bats at Petco Park, which opened in 2004.
Ensberg started at third in place of rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff. With Gonzalez on board with a leadoff walk in the second, Ensberg hit a two-out homer to left on a 1-1 pitch from Yusmeiro Petit (2-3). He homered into the second deck in left on a full-count pitch from reliever Dustin Nippert with two outs in the seventh, his 10th. Josh Bard was aboard on a walk.
Ensberg said he looked back at his good times and bad times in Houston. “I decided I was most successful when I was aggressive and when I swung as hard as I could. I came here with the idea that if I see the ball, I’m going to absolutely let it fly. If not, I’m going to go down in a huge ball of flames.”
Two batters earlier, Greene hit a three-run shot into the balcony on the third level of the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left-field corner, his 17th.
The slumping Ensberg had been designated for assignment by the Astros on Sunday. He homered off new teammate David Wells last Thursday in the Astros’ 7-1 win over the Padres.
Gonzalez homered with one out in the fourth off Petit, his 17th.
Petit allowed five runs and five hits in 4 1-3 innings, struck out four and walked four.
Arizona’s top prospect, Justin Upton, was called up earlier in the day and made his big league debut when he came in to play right field in the eighth. He fouled out leading off the ninth. … Upton is scheduled to start in RF at Los Angeles on Friday night. … Ensberg has five multihomer games.