Rangers' ninth-inning error opens door for Padres

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- An aggressive play on the base paths by
pinch-runner Ben Johnson gave the San Diego Padres a hard-earned

Johnson raced home from third base with the go-ahead run in the
ninth inning as the Padres took advantage of an error by Texas
third baseman Hank Blalock in a 3-2 win over the Rangers on
Wednesday night.

The score was tied at 2 and San Diego had runners on first and
second on singles by former Ranger Adrian Gonzalez and Khalil
Greene against ex-Padre Akinori Otsuka (2-3).

With Vinny Castilla batting, Otsuka threw a wild pitch that
bounced off catcher Gerald Laird, who retrieved the ball up the
third base line and fired to third trying to get Johnson, who was
running for Gonzalez. But Blalock couldn't come up with the throw
and was charged with an error.

"Aggressive base-running got us a run," Padres manager Bruce
Bochy said. "(Johnson) hesitated at first, then it was just his
speed that got him there."

Johnson wanted to make sure he had a good chance at advancing to
third before he took off from second. Once he got there, third base
coach Glenn Hoffman told him to sprint for the plate.

"I saw the ball right underneath (Laird)," Johnson said.
"Then when I saw he was looking around for it, I decided to go."

Blalock was on the move to cover third, making it a tough play.

"He is a good third baseman," Texas manager Buck Showalter
said of Blalock. "But he's on the run and tried to make a quick

Laird didn't think Johnson would try to advance to third on the
wild pitch.

"When I saw he was going, I thought we had a good chance to get
him," Laird said. "Hank tried to catch it and get his glove down
and make a tag but the ball got away."

Scott Linebrink (4-2) threw a scoreless eighth for San Diego and
Trevor Hoffman got three outs for his 18th save in 19 chances.

Kevin Millwood turned in another strong start for the Rangers,
allowing two runs and six hits over eight innings. Millwood, who
has won his last five decisions, struck out three and walked two.

"It stinks to waste a good start like that," Texas' Michael
Young said. "He was great."

Padres starter Chris Young threw a season-high 127 pitches in 5
2/3 innings before he was relieved by Alan Embree with runners on
first and second and the score tied at 2. After the Rangers pulled
off a double steal, Embree got out of the inning by getting Brad
Wilkerson to pop up.

Young, 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his previous four starts, allowed
two runs and four hits, struck out seven and walked two. But the
high pitch count meant he was unable to go deeper into the game.

"I had nine full counts but I walked two batters so that was
good," Young said. "The pitch count was the result of all the
foul balls they hit."

A Dallas native, Young was 12-7 for the Rangers last season
before he was traded to the Padres in a six-player deal in January.

Mike Piazza homered for the Padres, who have won four of five.

San Diego took a 1-0 lead in the first on Brian Giles' RBI

The Rangers, who were still seething over Tuesday night's foul
ball call on what would have been Mark Teixeira's walk-off homer in
the ninth inning of a 6-5 loss to the Padres, had another call go
against them in the first.

Young was attempting to score from second base on Blalock's
two-out single, and he slid in ahead of second baseman Josh
Barfield's throw to Piazza.

Replays showed Young sweeping his hand across a corner of the
plate as he slid past, but home plate umpire Bill Welke, who called
Teixeira's blast foul as the first base umpire on Tuesday night,
ruled that Young missed the plate.

Young nodded his head as he trotted to the dugout, indicating he
thought he was safe, but Piazza tagged Young and Welke made the out

Young was surprised when Welke did not make an immediate safe
call, then was stunned when he was tagged out.

"He told me I missed the plate, but I know my hand was all over
it," Young said. "I was definitely safe."

Texas tied it at 1 in the fourth when Mark DeRosa doubled and
scored on Kevin Mench's single.

The Rangers took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on Gary Matthews'
sacrifice fly. Piazza's solo homer in the sixth -- his ninth -- tied
it at 2.

Game notes
Gusty winds made fly balls an adventure, including Giles'
misjudged fly ball in the fifth before Matthews' sacrifice fly.
Padres 1B Gonzalez seemed to have Laird's second-inning pop-up
measured, but the ball fell near the first base coaches' box 15
feet from Gonzalez. No error was ruled on the play. ... The Rangers
and Padres are both 4-4 in interleague competition.