SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Trevor Hoffman is back, even if the theatrics
Hoffman pitched a perfect seventh inning in his first appearance
of the season, and Phil Nevin and Mark Loretta homered as the San
Diego Padres beat the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks 6-3 on Tuesday
Hoffman, fifth on the career list with 352 saves, was activated
from the disabled list after missing the first five months
following two offseason surgeries on his right shoulder.
With the Padres leading 5-1 and the crowd cheering, Hoffman came
jogging in to start the seventh. He retired the side on eight
pitches, then Nevin, the first baseman, shook his hand as they
headed to the dugout.
"He said, `Welcome back,' and gave me the ball," Hoffman said.
"And he said, `That ball was hit a little bit too hard, so don't
let them hit it that hard next time.' "
Hoffman keeps the game ball from each of his saves, and will
save the ball Nevin handed him.
"It's a little token of another step in this whole journey,"
The only thing missing was AC/DC's "Hells Bells" blaring from
the loudspeakers to announce Hoffman's arrival on the mound. With
the right-hander likely to throw in non-save situations for his
first three appearances, Hoffman felt it best not to play the song.
"I think some of the theatrics should be saved for the ninth
inning," he said. "We weren't real sure what type of situation I
might be coming into, 10 runs down or 10 runs up. I felt a little
remiss that it wasn't played, but at the same time I'm glad they
respected our wishes about not trying to make a big deal of it."
Hoffman threw seven fastballs -- all clocked at 86 mph -- and one
curveball. He didn't throw his trademark changeup because catcher
Gary Bennett didn't call for it.
"I tried to locate my pitches and have some composure out
there," Hoffman said. "My heart was racing and I'm trying to
fight those type of emotions.I just wanted to go out there and be
normal and get in and get out."
His first pitch was a strike to Rod Barajas, who flied out to
center. Hoffman made the putout on pinch-hitter Mark Grace's
grounder to first baseman Nevin, then got Craig Counsell to ground
out to end the inning.
"He looked sharp," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's only going
to make us better."
In Hoffman's absence, Rod Beck has converted all 20 save
situations for the last-place Padres.
After the game, Beck handed Hoffman a beer.
Brian Giles went 0-for-3 with a walk and one RBI in his home
debut with the Padres a week after they acquired him from
The Diamondbacks, who started the day four games out in the
wild-card race, lost their fourth straight and were defeated for
the 13th time in 19 games.
Shea Hillenbrand homered off Ben Howard (1-0), who earned his
first major league win, with one out in the second. That lead was
quickly erased when Nevin hit a leadoff homer -- his seventh -- off
Chris Capuano (1-3) in the bottom of the inning and Gary Bennett
added an RBI single.
Loretta hit a disputed shot in the seventh, his 10th. Loretta's
fly ball down the left-field line was at first called foul by
third-base umpire Jim Reynolds. But after the crew conferred, plate
ump Laz Diaz ruled it a homer, giving the Padres a 6-1 lead.
"It felt good to contribute," the 38-year-old journeyman said.
"It's been a long time. At my age, you wonder. I know I can still
play, but you have to produce when you are given the chance and I
Loretta, who had three hits and two RBI, hit an RBI single in
the fourth. Nevin also drove in two runs.
Howard allowed one run and six hits in six innings, struck out
three and walked one. Capuano lasted only 3 2-3 innings, giving up
five runs and nine hits. He struck out two and walked one.
Padres 1B Ryan Klesko had an MRI on his sore right shoulder
Tuesday that showed damage to the AC joint. The team will decide
whether he should have surgery soon or wait until the season's
over. Klesko said his rotator cuff is OK. ... Howard got his first
career hit, a single to left in the third. ... Following an
afternoon game in San Diego on Wednesday, the Diamondbacks will fly
to Kansas City to play a makeup game Thursday, then fly back to San
Francisco to open a three-game series Friday. ... Diamondbacks RF
Raul Mondesi left with a mild right groin strain and is listed as
day to day.
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