The Padres have now played seven series at PETCO Park this year. Amazingly, their 4-3 win over the Diamondbacks on Sunday gave them their first series win. The question is, what took them so long?"I think we're maybe putting a little too much pressure on ourselves," said starting pitcher Aaron Harang. 3rd baseman Chase Headley was a bit more blunt.
"We just haven't played very well, that's all there is to it," said Headley. "We haven't put three games together, or even two out of three games together, since we've been here. You know, you've gotta start somewhere and hopefully we can build on this."
The first building block may have been Jorge Cantu's first inning homer, the first 3-run homer the Padres have hit all season. Cantu hopes his blast could be the start of the Padres' return to offensive respectability.
"Including myself, there's a lot of guys who are sometimes trying too hard," said Cantu, who also singled on Sunday. "We are forgetting what we are capable of doing. You know, we have the talent. That's why we're here, that's why we're Major Leaguers. So we're just trying to pace ourselves. Hopefully everybody gets over this hump and hopefully gets that offensive burst."
The Padres are now 6 and 3 in games when they score first. An early cushion does wonders for a pitcher's psyche.
"You can go out and make pitches," said Harang. "If you make a mistake here and there it's not going to hurt you as bad."
Harang proved that, allowing eight hits but only two runs in seven innings. The Patrick Henry H.S. alum is tied for the National League lead with five wins.
Aaron's win was preserved by another highlight reel catch by centerfielder Cameron Maybin. Reliever Mike Adams, who entered the game with a streak of 15 straight scoreless innings, put runners at the corners with one out. Former Padre Xavier Nady hit a blast to left-center that could have tied the game. Maybin made a running catch at the warning track that turned a 2-run double into a sacrifice fly to preserve the one-run lead.
"You know, the range is still there," joked the 24-year-old Maybin, "so it felt good to know I can still go get it."
Last year the Padres won the majority of games decided by one run. This year they started 2-6 in one-run games, but this week won three straight.
On Monday they start a 3-game series in Milwaukee. The Padres are 7-6 in road games.