Gaudin allowed one hit over eight scoreless innings, the first opposing pitcher to do that at Rangers Ballpark, and the Padres beat the stumbling Texas Rangers 2-0 on Sunday night to win their first series in a month.
“I’ve seen a lot of games in this park from that dugout,” said Padres manager Bud Black, the pitching coach for the Los Angeles Angels seven seasons before that. “That was one of the best-pitched games I’ve seen.”
After David Murphy(notes) drew a one-out walk in the first and Michael Young(notes) followed with a single, Gaudin retired 23 of the last 25 batters he faced— including the last 13. Murphy was the only Texas runner to touch second base.
“I’ve seen a bunch of balls go out of here,” Gaudin said. “I tried to stay aggressive, let them know you’re going to attack the zone. That makes it tough for them because they know you’re not going to nibble, not going to let them wait for one pitch.”
Only two pitchers can match what Gaudin did in Texas, both for the home team.
Gaudin, with his fifth team in seven years after being released by the Chicago Cubs the first week of this season, struck out nine and walked two.
“He was a different pitcher than I’ve seen in the past,” Murphy said. “He located his fastball a lot better, and he was using his slider more, and more effectively.”
Heath Bell(notes) worked the ninth for his National League-best 21st save, matching Brian Fuentes(notes) of the Los Angeles Angels for the major league lead. Bell walked Young before Andruw Jones(notes) grounded into a game-ending double play.
Scott Hairston(notes) was 2 for 21 since returning from the disabled list until his solo homer in the fourth off rookie Tommy Hunter(notes) (0-1). Two innings later, Hairston had an RBI single for a 2-0 lead, then added a double after that to finish 3 for 4 and push his batting average to .310.
With six right-handers on the disabled list, including starters Jake Peavy(notes) and Chris Young, Gaudin led the Padres to their first series victory since taking two of three from Arizona on May 25-27.
Gaudin threw 101 pitches in a game that started when it was 99 degrees. It was still in the mid-90s when he threw his last pitch to end the eighth and didn’t come back out.
“It was a pretty special game,” Black said. “But there were a number of factors: the heat, for one. … Fourth time through the lineup. There’ll come a time for Chad.”
Plus, Bell hadn’t pitched since Tuesday.
“I wanted the complete game, but I’m not upset,” Gaudin said.
In his previous start Tuesday at Seattle, Gaudin tied a career high with 11 strikeouts and allowed two runs over seven innings. That victory gave up 17 runs over 14 innings while losing his first three June starts.
The Rangers were held scoreless for the fourth time this season, and had only one hit for the second time. Young also had the lone hit when Detroit one-hit them May 19. It was the second shutout for San Diego.
“Throw this night in with all the others. It’s a frustrating one. Hopefully, we can forget it as soon as possible,” Murphy said.
Texas has lost seven of 10 games, and dropped out of first place in the AL West for the first time since May 5 after a 7-3 loss to the Padres on Saturday night. The Rangers are now 1 1/2 games behind the Angels, who open a three-game series in Texas on Monday.
Hunter, the 22-year-old left-hander drafted only two seasons ago, scattered seven hits over 6 1-3 innings, allowing two runs filling in for left-hander Matt Harrison(notes), put on the disabled list Sunday with shoulder inflammation.
NOTES: Before going on the disabled list June 3 because of a strained left biceps, Hairston homered in three consecutive games. He has nine homers. … There were about 300 dogs in the stands as part of a promotion that allowed fans to bring them. Among them was Reveille, a collie who is the official mascot of Texas A&M University.