Thursday, April 11, 2002

Padres 2, Diamondbacks 1

The Associated Press

        SAN DIEGO - It wasn't a great sign when the San Diego Padres staggered back from their season-opening trip with a 1-5 record. Then they turned around and swept three games from the defending World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks.

        Deivi Cruz homered leading off the sixth inning and the Padres won 2-1 Wednesday night, their fourth straight win against the Diamondbacks.

        “It's early, but that's a great series for us,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We had a rough road trip. To come back and take three from these guys, they're the world champs, they've got a great ballclub, we just played great ball here. It's nice to get a sweep. It does a lot for our team.”

        And it left the Diamondbacks 0-5 in games started by anyone other than Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling. The Padres lost their first two games of the season to Johnson and Schilling.

        “You just want to play good ball whoever it is, but it's especially nice against these guys,” Ryan Klesko said.

        This was San Diego's first sweep of Arizona since taking four straight April 10-13, 1998, the Diamondbacks' expansion season.

        “All these things go in cycles,” Mark Grace said. “It's no time to panic.”

        Wednesday's loser was Rick Helling (0-2), who allowed Cruz's homer to left on an 0-1 hanging curve. It was Cruz's first this season.

        “He's one of those guys who's a free swinger,” Helling said of Cruz. “It's hard to pitch to him. I don't know where the pitch was, but obviously it wasn't good enough.”

        In the top of the sixth, Alan Embree (1-0) relieved starter Brett Tomko with the bases loaded and two outs, and promptly walked Mark Grace on four pitches to tie the game at 1.

        Tomko had loaded the bases by walking Luis Gonzalez with one out and then, with two outs, allowing a single to Steve Finley and a walk to Damian Miller.

        It was the second time in three innings that Grace came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. In the fourth, he hit a soft liner that left fielder Bubba Trammell ran down to end the threat.

        Tomko, making his home debut, allowed four hits and one run in 5 2-3 innings, struck out three and walked three. He allowed just one run for the second straight start but still has yet to win.

        Helling allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings, struck out five and walked one.

        Trevor Hoffman pitched a perfect ninth, needing just seven pitches for his third save in as many chances.

        The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Ramon Vazquez singled in Ryan Klesko, who reached on a leadoff single and advanced on Trammell's base hit.

        Notes: Johnson is scheduled to pitch Thursday at Colorado. ... Padres rookie 3B Sean Burroughs sat out after tweaking an ankle in Tuesday night's win over the Diamondbacks. Bochy said Burroughs could miss 3 to 5 days. “He had quite a bit of swelling,” Bochy said. Ramon Vazquez started in his place. ... Tony Gwynn was back at Qualcomm Stadium to work the game, which was a backup ESPN game. Gwynn held court in the dugout before the game like he used to as a player. Early in the game, a foul ball bounced off a ledge in the press box just in front of Gwynn, but the former right fielder didn't attempt to catch it. Gwynn is a volunteer assistant baseball coach at San Diego State and will replace retiring head coach Jim Dietz at the end of the season. ... LF Ray Lankford sat even though right-hander Rick Helling was pitching for Arizona. Lankford, a lefty, is hitting just .133. Bubba Trammell, a right-handed hitter, started instead. ... The Diamondbacks placed INF Danny Klassen on the 15-day disabled list with an inflamed toe and activated INF Greg Colbrunn, who started the season on the DL while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow.


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