SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The only number that was going through Trevor
Hoffman's mind as he jogged to the mound to start the ninth inning
was the number of discouraging losses that had piled up for the San
Hoffman earned his 367th career save to tie Jeff Reardon for
fourth on the career list, and the Padres rallied to beat the
Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 Saturday night to end their season-high
six-game losing streak."We were aware of the kind of funk we were in," Hoffman said.
"Any win's important, but to come back in the fashion we did
tonight and even up the series, was big."Brian Giles had a tying single and Ryan Klesko a go-ahead double
for the Padres in the eighth inning.Hoffman was pitching in his first save opportunity since last
Sunday, when he blew a 2-0 lead at Yankee Stadium by allowing
consecutive home runs to Hideki Matsui and pinch-hitter Kenny
Lofton with two outs in the ninth. The Yankees went on to win 6-5
in the 12th."Sunday it was two outs before you knew it, then all hell
breaks loose," Hoffman said. "That's an indication that you can
never let up and you always have to focus in on the pitch at hand.
That's something I've been thinking about."Hopefully you have short-term memory where you file it away
and be done with it and get out there and get on a roll."Against the Blue Jays, Hoffman allowed a leadoff single in the
ninth before retiring the side for his 15th save in 17 chances this
year. It was his first since May 30 against Milwaukee.Hoffman's first two career saves came with the Florida Marlins
and the rest have been with the Padres.Hoffman said he wasn't thinking about his spot on the career
list."Not to discredit it at all, but after six losses in a row, our
focus and my focus was definitely on getting us a win. Ultimately,
good things individually will happen, but for me personally there's
more of a grind in, 'Let's get this victory for the club."Scott Linebrink (3-1) pitched the eighth for the win.After being frustrated through seven innings by journeyman Josh
Towers, the Padres finally broke through against reliever Justin
Speier (1-5) in the eighth.With the Padres trailing 2-1, Sean Burroughs hit a leadoff
double to left, then alertly advanced on Mark Loretta's groundout
to third. Noticing that the second baseman was running to back up
the play at first, Burroughs broke just after Eric Hinske threw to
first.Burroughs scored the tying run on Giles' single to left, and
Giles scored the winning run on Klesko's double to right. Second
baseman Orlando Hudson's relay throw from short right short-hopped
Gregg Zaun and the catcher dropped the ball, allowing Giles to
score standing up."I let the ball play me instead of attacking it," Zaun said.
"It's a tough way to lose a ballgame."Giles was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.Opponents had been hitting .370 against Towers, who spent five
weeks in the minors this season, but the right-hander held the
Padres to five hits and one run in seven innings.Towers, who hadn't pitched in nine days, asked to come out."I felt kind of tired," he said. "I hung a couple of sliders
in the seventh and I just felt like I shouldn't have been out
there" for the eighth. I feel bad saying that but I wanted to win
the game."The Blue Jays scored two runs on three straight hits off Dennis
Tankersley in the fifth. Alex Rios hit a leadoff single to center
and scored on Chris Woodward's triple to medium left field.
Woodward's fly ball sliced toward the line and Klesko tried to make
a sliding catch but missed it. Woodward then scored on Dave Berg's
single to left.Tankersley lasted just five innings, allowing two runs and four
hits, with one strikeout and two walks.San Diego threatened in the fourth, but wasn't able to sustain a
rally. Giles singled and eventually scored on Jay Payton's two-out
double, which bounced over the left-field wall. With runners on
second and third, Ramon Hernandez grounded out to end the inning.
The Padres' Loretta had nine assists, one off the club
record for second basemen. ... RH reliever Michael Nakamura joined
the Blue Jays after being recalled Friday from Triple-A Syracuse.
... San Diego optioned OF Jon Knott to Triple-A Portland to make
room on the 25-man roster for right-handed reliever Ricky Stone,
who was claimed off waivers from the Houston Astros on Friday. ...
The Padres plan to activate INF Ramon Vazquez from the DL on Sunday
and have him start against the Blue Jays, giving rookie Khalil
Greene the day off.