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Hoffman crumbles in ninth, gives up four runs

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Trevor Hoffman simply doesn't pitch well in
non-save situations.

Rookie Ryan Howard's go-ahead RBI single was the third straight
Philadelphia hit off the Padres' closer opening the ninth inning as
the Phillies beat San Diego 5-2 on Saturday night.

The NL West-leading Padres dropped to .500 (58-58) but kept
their three-game lead over Arizona, which lost 9-5 at Atlanta. The
Padres have lost two straight to the Phillies and three of five
overall.

The Phillies have won five of seven and are 1½ games behind
Houston in the wild-card race.

Vicente Padilla, Ugueth Urbina, Aaron Fultz and Billy Wagner
combined to six-hit the Padres. Wagner got the final two outs for
his 27th save in 29 chances.

Hoffman allowed four runs on four hits while getting only two
outs.

With the game tied at 1, Hoffman (1-5) started the ninth by
allowing Bobby Abreu's single to center and Pat Burrell's one-hop
single that bounced off the left-field fence, which moved Abreu to
third. Howard then singled to right to bring in Abreu.

"He's one of the best closers in the game, and to be able to
come up in that situation and come through with a hit is definitely
big," Howard said.

Getting three straight hits off Hoffman is "just one of those
things that happens," Howard said. "Everybody went up and tried
to have good at-bats and tried to work him a little bit and tried
to wait for a good pitch."

Hoffman's streak of 13 2/3 scoreless innings ended.

"Pretty simple equation: You fall behind good hitters and they
are going to hurt you," Hoffman said. "It was a well-played
ballgame. To come in and stink up the joint isn't what the team
needed right there."

Hoffman has a history of not pitching well in non-save
situations. When a save's on the line, things are different. He has
27 straight saves dating to April 30, and 30 overall this year, in
32 chances. His next one will tie John Franco for second on the
career list with 424.

"He's the guy you want out there," manager Bruce Bochy said.
"They beat our closer tonight. There is really no other time
you're going to use him once you're in the ninth in a tie ballgame.

"Whether you get superstitious with that or whatever, it's not
going to change," Bochy said. "He's been doing an unbelievable
job all year for us. He's going to have his moments."

The Phillies added runs on Mike Lieberthal's sacrifice fly and
pinch-hitter Jason Michaels' triple to chase Hoffman. Michaels
scored on a wild pitch by Rudy Seanez.

Urbina (3-0) pitched the eighth for the victory.

San Diego's Miguel Olivo homered off Fultz on a 1-0 count
leading off the ninth.

Khalil Greene tied it at 1 with a two-out RBI double in the
bottom of the eighth off Urbina to score pinch-runner Damian
Jackson from second. Mark Loretta tried to score from first but was
thrown out at the plate on shortstop Jimmy Rollins' relay throw to
end the inning.

Offense was hard to come by even though both starters came in
with losing records.

Philadelphia's Vicente Padilla allowed four hits in seven
shutout innings, struck out five and walked five.

He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by striking out
Loretta. In the seventh, with runners on first and third and two
outs, Padilla struck out Joe Randa on a 94 mph fastball. He allowed
four hits, struck out five and walked five to end a three-game
losing streak.

Pedro Astacio held the Phillies to two hits in six scoreless
innings before they broke through in the seventh. After Astacio
retired the first two batters, Burrell singled to left. Howard
walked and Burrell scored on David Bell's single to left. Ryan
Klesko's throw home was off line and hit Burrell on the leg as he
came in to score.

The Padres had the bases loaded in the sixth and failed to
score.

Dave Roberts laid down a perfect drag bunt for a leadoff single
and Joe Randa reached when Bell, the Phillies' third baseman,
booted his grounder. Both runners advanced on Lieberthal's passed
ball before Klesko grounded weakly to second. Brian Giles was
intentionally walked to load the bases, but Mark Sweeney popped up
to Bell and Loretta struck out.

Astacio allowed one run and four hits in seven innings, struck
out five and walked two.

Game notes
After grounding out to first in the third inning, Roberts
asked plate umpire Larry Vanover to check the ball, contending that
it hit off his right cleat and should have been called a foul ball.
Vanover checked the ball, but didn't change the call. ... Klesko
had a cortisone shot for muscle spasms in his neck.