Starting Fresh

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Bud Black.

    The San Diego Padres' lead in the National League West is down to one percentage point over San Francisco, a little more than two weeks after it was 6 1/2 games.

    The Giants blanked the Padres 1-0 Friday night to pull into a tie for the division lead. Jonathan Sanchez walked seven over five innings but allowed just one hit as the Giants won for the ninth time in their last 12 games.

    Aubrey Huff manufactured the game's lone run by getting hit by a pitch leading off the seventh, stealing second and moving to third on a fielder's choice before scoring on Juan Uribe's (yoo-REE'-bayz) grounder.

    Padres starter Clayton Richard was the hard-luck loser, limiting the Giants to a run and two hits in six-plus innings.

    Colorado made it eight straight wins to climb within 2 1/2 games of the NL West lead. Troy Tulowitzki (too-loh-WITS'-kee) was 3-for-3 with two homers, three RBIs and four runs scored as the Rockies blasted Arizona 13-4. Tulowitzki has hit eight home runs during the Rockies' winning streak.

    Philadelphia still tops the NL East by a game over Atlanta after Roy Halladay hit a two-run single and pitched into the eighth inning of the Phillies' 8-4 win over the New York Mets. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley homered to support Halladay, who allowed four runs over 7 2/3 innings to become the NL's third 18-game winner of the season. Halladay is the team's first 18-game winner since John Denny won 19 in 1983.

    The Braves used a six-run sixth to erase a 4-2 deficit and beat St. Louis 8-6. Brian McCann drove in two runs and Nate McLouth homered as the Braves won for only the third time in nine games. The loss drops the Cardinals six games behind the Central-leading Cincinnati Reds.

    The Reds pulled out a 4-3, 12-inning victory against Pittsburgh after Francisco Cordero blew a 3-1 lead in the ninth. Chris Heisey opened the winning rally with a bunt single before beating a throw to the plate for the final margin.

    In other National League action, Jay Gibbons hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning to push Los Angeles past Houston 4-2, ending the Dodgers' six-game losing streak. Gibbons also had a pinch-hit RBI single that gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead in the sixth.

    Florida was a 3-1 winner at Washington as Alex Sanabia (sah-NAH'-bee-ah) allowed three hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Dan Uggla had three hits as Florida stopped a three-game losing streak and avoided falling to .500.

    Carlos Zambrano pitched three-hit ball into the ninth inning of the Chicago Cubs' 4-0 shutout of Milwaukee. Zambrano also had three hits, including an RBI single that put the Cubs ahead 3-0 in the fifth.

    Over to the American League, where the Tampa Bay Rays pulled out a victory after coughing up an 8-1 lead.

    Evan Longoria scored the tiebreaking run on a throwing error by shortstop Yunel Escobar in the ninth inning, allowing the Rays to beat the Blue Jays 9-8 in Toronto. Ben Zobrist (ZOH'-brist) and B.J. Upton hit solo homers, and Rocco Baldelli collected two RBIs while the Rays built a seven-run cushion. The Jays eventually tied it when Jose Bautista launched his major league-leading 45th home run, a two-run blast in the seventh.

    Longoria drove in two runs and scored twice for the Rays, who began the game 2 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East.

    Nelson Cruz delivered the big blows as the Texas Rangers beat the Yankees 6-5 in 13 innings to maintain their 7 1/2-game lead in the AL West. Cruz led off the bottom of tThe San Diego Padres' lead in the NL West is all but gone.

    San Francisco pulled into a virtual tie with San Diego atop the NL West with a 1-0 victory on Friday night when Aubrey Huff hustled his way to the game's only run in the seventh inning.

    The Padres (79-61) hold the slimmest possible lead over the Giants (80-62), .564-.563. San Francisco has won nine of 12 while the Padres have lost 12 of 15. The Padres' recent 10-game losing streak trimmed 5½ games off their lead, which was 6½ games on Aug. 25. They rebounded with a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers but have lost the first two of this four-game series against the Giants.

    "Awesome," said Huff, who scored despite what he called a "dumb play" on his part. "That's what we play all year for, the grind, all the stuff you go through all year long. It's what you wait for, to be within striking distance at the end of the year. That's where we are. We've got a lot of ball left, though. We haven't won anything yet."

    Said Padres shortstop Miguel Tejada: "Now we are tied and it's a 22-game season."

    The Colorado Rockies are just 2½ back after winning their eighth straight, 13-4 against Arizona.

    It was the 14th straight game in which the Padres were held to four or fewer runs.

    "That's tough," losing pitcher Clayton Richard said. "We are fortunate to be where we are at right now with the way we have played the past three weeks. You have to look at it that we are still in first and we have played pretty poorly in the past three weeks."

    Lefty Jonathan Sanchez and five relievers combined on a three-hitter. Brian Wilson finished for a five-out save, his career-high 42nd in 46 chances. He's tied with Tampa Bay's Rafael Soriano for the major league lead.

    Tejada's decision to try to throw out Huff at third base instead of going for the out at first on Jose Guillen's grounder led to the Giants' seventh-inning run.

    Huff was hit in the right elbow by a pitch from Richard leading off the inning and stole second as Pat Burrell struck out. Huff took off for third on Guillen's grounder. Tejada glanced at first before throwing to third, but Huff slid in before Chase Headley could tag him. Huff then scored as pinch-runner Nate Schierholtz was forced on Juan Uribe's grounder to third.

    "It was actually a dumb play on my part," Huff said. "The way he hit it, from the angle I was at, it looked like it was going to go in the hole anyway. I thought he hit it a lot harder than he did. Once you go, you've got to at least try to get it. It was a good call. I was safe. But it's not really the way you'd draw it up. It's not a smart play, but it worked out."

    Tejada was surprised Huff ran.

    "In that situation, when somebody is at second, you never go to third on that ball," Tejada said. "In that situation it's a long throw to go to first. I made the decision to go to third. At that time, I think that's the best play. It is bad baserunning for him. He just got lucky. It was good hustle, too."

    Santiago Casilla (7-2) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the win.

    Sanchez was gone after five scoreless innings, having given up just one hit but walking a season-high seven. He struck out four.

    It was Sanchez's first start against San Diego since a 3-2 loss to the Padres at San Francisco on Aug. 13. A few days before that start, Sanchez guaranteed that the Giants would sweep that series, but the Padres took two of three. Sanchez no-hit the Padres in 2009.

    Richard (12-7) allowed one run and two hits in six-plus innings, struck out three and walked one.

    The Giants had the bases loaded and one out in the ninth when Wilson hit a comebacker to Ryan Webb. Webb threw home to force Uribe, who grabbed catcher Nick Hundley's right calf, causing him to twist and drop the ball as he went to throw to first. Umpire Chris Guccione immediately called Wilson out due to Uribe's interference.

    The Padres failed to take advantage of eight walks.

    "We're going to come out of it with a vengeance at some point," manager Bud Black said of the Padres' offensive slump. "I think we have too good of hitters on this team to stay in this too much longer."