SAN DIEGO (AP)—The San Diego Padres seem to thrive on late-inning rallies.
Aaron Cunningham(notes) doubled leading off the eighth inning and scored on reliever Gustavo Chacin’s(notes) throwing error to give the San Diego Padres their second straight shutout over the Houston Astros, 1-0 on Saturday night.
“A lot of it is the fact we’ve played in so many close games, we’re just comfortable,” said Tony Gwynn(notes) Jr., whose bunt single contributed to the winning rally. “As long as the pitching staff, which they pretty much do every single time, keep the game within reach, there’s no panic. We know eventually if it comes down to some execution, we like our chances.”
San Diego’s Kevin Correia(notes) had his best start in more than a month but didn’t get the decision because the Padres’ offense didn’t show up until he was out of the game. Houston had six hits and San Diego five.
Correia did contribute to San Diego’s major league-leading 12th shutout. He and Houston’s Bud Norris(notes) each threw seven scoreless innings a night after Mat Latos(notes) and Roy Oswalt(notes) matched up in a 3-0 Padres win that wasn’t decided until the bottom of the eighth.
“I think it has a lot to do with our hitters being able to come up with that run or two when we need it,” Correia said. “If you’re out there thinking, ‘These guys aren’t going to score no matter what I do,’ it’s tough, but you know these guys are going to come through in the clutch and we’ve done it time and time again.”
Correia held the Astros to five hits while striking out four and walking two. He hasn’t won since May 31 against the New York Mets, a span that includes four no-decisions and two losses. Norris allowed only three singles and three walks while striking out five.
Cunningham, recalled from Triple-A Portland earlier in the day after right fielder Will Venable(notes) was placed on the disabled list, hit a bloop double to left leading off the eighth. Gwynn beat out a bunt for an infield single as the throw by Chacin (1-1) bounced past first baseman Lance Berkman(notes) for an error, allowing Cunningham to score the unearned run and putting Gwynn on second.
“Fortunately I was able to get one and put it in a spot to where it was going to be a difficult play for whoever fielded it,” Gwynn said.
“Those bunts are pretty hard to get to because they’re right between the pitcher and the third baseman,” Chacin said. “My mind was to go to the ball and to try to make a play. I tried to keep the ball down when I threw to first base.”
It was the 10th time the Padres have won in their final at-bat at home.
Norris also lost 7-0 to the Padres on May 7 at Houston, lasting only four innings in a game won by Latos.
“I felt good,” Norris said. “I pitched deep into the ballgame and gave my team a chance to win.”
The Astros got runners to third base with two outs in the fourth and fifth innings but couldn’t get them in.
“When you’re not getting a lot of scoring opportunities, the opportunities you do get stick out,” Mills said.
NOTES: The Padres’ 12 shutouts are the fifth-most in franchise history and the most since they had a team-record 20 in 2007. Prior to 2007, the last Padres team to have 12 shutouts was in 1990. … The Padres also had consecutive shutouts against Milwaukee on April 29-30. … Houston’s Hunter Pence(notes) was ejected in the seventh after saying something to umpire Ed Rapuano after taking a called third strike. It was his first career ejection. … Padres 1B Adrian Gonzalez(notes) was a late scratch due to a stiff neck. Oscar Salazar(notes) started in his place. … Latos, who threw eight innings Friday night, has pitched at least seven shutout innings in five starts this season, tied with Colorado ace Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) for the highest total in the major leagues, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.