Padres beat Pirates 3-2, will avoid 100 losses
SAN DIEGO (AP)—The San Diego Padres accomplished something, after all, in the final days of a lost season. They made sure they won’t lose 100 games.
Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a two-run home run in the first inning and Chris Young pitched six strong innings to lead the Padres to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night. The Padres are 63-98 with one game remaining.
Although the Padres tried not to think about it, the prospect of triple-digit losses was in the back of everyone’s mind.
“From a pride standpoint, yes, no one wants to lose 100 games,” Young said. “It’s been a disappointing season on the whole. It’s really just a number. We’re all disappointed, especially coming off last year.”
After four straight winning seasons—including NL West titles in 2005-06— the Padres found themselves flirting with a 100-loss season for the first time since 2003, when they finished 64-98. Last year, they played 163 games, losing the wild-card tiebreaker at Colorado in 13 innings.
The Padres have lost 100 games five times, most recently in 1993 when they were 61-101. That was the year of their infamous fire sale, when they dealt Gary Sheffield, Fred McGriff and other high-salaried players.
“When the season started we didn’t think that was a number that we’d think about,” manager Bud Black said. “But it’s not going to happen.”
Facing rookie Jimmy Barthmaier (0-2), who was making his third big league start, the Padres scored three runs with two outs in the first inning.
Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 30th save in 34 chances. It was the 13th time Hoffman saved at least 30 games, extending his own big league record. The 40-year-old Hoffman extended his big league career record to 554.
Young (7-6) held the Pirates to one run and five hits in six innings while striking out five and walking none. The 6-foot-10 right-hander improved to 4-0 lifetime against Pittsburgh.
Young was limited to 18 starts this season. His nose was broken when he was hit by a line drive by Albert Pujols on May 21 and he was on the disabled list for more than two months. He went on the DL again in August with a strained right forearm.
“Chris has pitched well. I’m happy for him, the way he’s bounced back from both setbacks during the season. Obviously the one early in the year was scary on a lot of different levels. Fought through that. Then the forearm strain, which we knew he’d get over that one, then to come in and pitch like he has, it’s a great sign for next year for Chris.”
Barthmaier allowed three runs and four hits in five innings.
“He hung two breaking balls that cost him three runs,” manager John Russell said. “It would have been easy to kind of fold the tent right there. But he pitched pretty well after that. It should be a good note going into the offseason.”
Said Barthmaier: “I felt like I was pitching to their strengths.”
Gonzalez tied Tony Gwynn and Greg Vaughn for third place on the Padres’ single-season list with 119 RBIs. … The Padres honored new Hall of Famers Goose Gossage and Dick Williams before the game. They also threw out ceremonial first pitches, Gossage to ace Jake Peavy and Williams to manager Bud Black. … Before the game, Gossage recalled the fifth game of the 1984 World Series, when he talked Williams out of walking Kirk Gibson, who then hit a three-run home run. “I should have walked Gibson in the World Series,” Gossage said. “I talked him out of walking Gibby, then I pitched to Gibby and before Dick got back to the dugout the ball was in the upper deck.” The Tigers won 8-4 to clinch the World Series. Gossage, who was with San Diego from 1984-87, called Williams “the best manager I ever played for.” Williams managed the Padres from 1982-85.