SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Trevor Hoffman still has one of the nastiest
changeups in baseball. It's his fastball that's getting him into
Bobby Abreu hit a two-run double in the ninth inning on an 88
mph fastball from the suddenly vulnerable Hoffman, and the
Philadelphia Phillies rallied past the San Diego Padres 5-4
Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Hoffman has two blown saves in his last three chances, plus one
in the All-Star game last week. He remains 18 shy of breaking Lee
Smith's career record of 478.
Hoffman said there's no lingering effect from the blown save in
the All-Star game, when Michael Young hit an 86 mph fastball for a
two-run triple, and that his arm feels fine.
"I'm just making some bad pitches out over the plate in some
tough situations," Hoffman said.
Padres manager Bruce Bochy came out to get the relief ace after
he allowed Abreu's hit to right-center with none out -- Hoffman's
third blown save in 28 chances. Bochy also pulled Hoffman (0-2) on
Friday night after he blew the save in a game the Atlanta Braves
won 15-12 in 11 innings.
Hoffman said he's taking the blown saves personally.
"I don't think there is any other way to look at it," he said.
"You saw how the guys battled in the game Friday against the
Braves and what it can do to a ballclub to finish teams off. That's
the frustrating part. In this role, that's part of the territory."
Shane Victorino started the winning rally when he was hit on the
right biceps on Hoffman's first pitch.
"You can't hit a guy to lead off an inning," Hoffman said.
"Something I haven't done for a while, but I have to overcome
Chase Utley walked ahead of Abreu. Hoffman started 0-2 against
Abreu, who worked the count to 1-2 before fouling off a changeup.
Then he smacked a fastball into the gap.
"I mean, I'm facing one of the best closers in the game right
now and a guy who has one of the best changeups," Abreu said. "He
threw me two fastballs in a row, after that he threw me two
changeups, then I saw another fastball middle-in, so I just made
pretty good contact on it."
Abreu "fouled off two pretty good changeups and got a pitch out
over the plate that was a fastball," Hoffman said. "He's shown
over the course of his career that he'll give you a good at-bat.
"I don't like to keep coming out on the short end of the
deal," the 38-year-old closer said.
After he finished speaking with reporters, Hoffman slammed his
chair into his locker.
Abreu also had an RBI single in the first.
The Phillies won for the fifth time in 11 games, a stretch in
which they've yielded second place in the NL East to the Braves.
Atlanta swept the Padres before the Phillies came to town.
After a day off, the Phillies open a four-game series at home
against the Braves on Friday.
Geoff Geary (6-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win and Tom
Gordon worked a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 24 chances.
Two more homers were hit at Petco Park, making it 26 in six
games. Padres backup Josh Bard hit a three-run shot in the first
inning and Phillies backup catcher Chris Coste -- who made his big
league debut this year at age 33 -- hit his first career homer, a
solo shot in the fourth.
Coste added an RBI double as the Phillies came back from a 3-1
deficit to tie it at three in the sixth.
The Padres regained the lead, 4-3, with two outs in the seventh
when Brian Giles' opposite-field double landed on the left-field
line, kicking up a cloud of chalk dust and scoring Rob Bowen from
second. Bowen had a pinch-hit leadoff single to right off Jon
Lieber and was sacrificed to second by Dave Roberts.
Bard's homer to right with one out in the first, his sixth, gave
the Padres a 3-1 lead. Dave Roberts was aboard on a leadoff walk
and Giles with a one-out walk.
Coste homered into the balcony on the second level of the
Western Metal Supply Co. Building beyond the left-field corner with
one out in the fourth to pull the Phillies to 3-2. David Bell
singled with one out in the sixth and scored on Coste's double to
tie it at three.
Coste spent 11 seasons in the minors, including the first five
with independent teams, before making his big league debut on May
Utley doubled with one out in the third to extend his hitting
streak to 21 games, the longest current streak in the majors.
Lieber allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, struck
out two and walked four.
Mike Thompson was called up from Triple-A Portland to make the
spot start for Chris Young, who has a stress reaction in his foot.
Thompson allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings, struck
out three and walked two.
To make room for Thompson, the Padres released 3B Vinny
Castilla. ... In the last 30 games, Phillies starters have allowed
33 first-inning earned runs.