SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The San Diego Padres are finally getting the hang of one-run games.
Randy Wolf pitched seven strong innings and Kevin Kouzmanoff drove in the go-ahead run as the Padres beat the New York Mets 2-1 on Friday night, their third straight victory by the same score.It was the first time in San Diego's 40-year history that it won three straight games 2-1, according to the Elias Sports Bureau."I think we are getting some of our confidence back," said San Diego's Scott Hairston. "Everything has come together for us the past few days."San Diego beat the Mets on Thursday night in the series opener when Scott Schoeneweis hit Paul McAnulty with a pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to give San Diego the win. The Padres beat the Cubs 2-1 on Wednesday."These three games are what we look for in close games," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "Our starting pitching does a good job, our bullpen does a good job, and we prevail."The Padres had lost 13 of 19 one-run games this season before winning these last three.Wolf (4-4) provided the strong starting pitching as he worked out of bases loaded jams in the sixth and seventh. Heath Bell threw the eighth and Trevor Hoffman pitched a perfect ninth for his 13th save in 16 chances and increased his major league-record career total to 537.On a day when San Diego placed second baseman Tadahito Iguchi on the disabled list with a separated right shoulder, the Padres did just enough right to defeat New York ace Johan Santana (7-4).San Diego got consecutive run-scoring singles from Adrian Gonzalez and Kouzmanoff in the sixth after New York had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning. Hairston saved at least one run when he made a diving catch to rob David Wright of an extra base hit in the sixth.The Mets got a scare in the sixth when the left-handed Santana was hit on his throwing shoulder when he missed on a bunt attempt."I tried to square around to bunt too early and he threw a fastball inside and I went too far inside," Santana said. "I didn't feel anything. I was OK."Black showed confidence in Wolf when he allowed his left-hander to stay in the game after a conference at the mound in the seventh inning and San Diego ahead 2-1. The Mets had runners at second and third and two outs."It was great," Wolf said. "I thought he was taking me out. He yelled at me about halfway there that he wasn't taking me out. I was happy about that because I wanted to stay in there and get out of the inning."Wolf limited the Mets to one run and seven hits in seven innings.Santana gave up two runs -- one earned -- and seven hits in six innings. He lost for the second time in his last eight decisions. Santana walked one and struck out five.The Mets came into the series having won seven of 10.Endy Chavez led off the New York sixth with a double. Santana twice failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt, including the pitch that hit him in the left shoulder when he missed. He then grounded to Gonzalez at first base, who threw out Chavez going to third.Consecutive singles by Jose Reyes and Luis Castillo loaded the bases. Wright then lifted a fly ball to left-center that Hairston made a diving catch on as Reyes scored."On that catch by [Hairston], we could have broken the game open," Mets manager Willie Randolph said.After Carlos Beltran walked to load the bases, Wolf escaped by getting Damion Easley on a grounder.The Mets loaded the bases in the seventh on one-out singles by Brian Schneider and Chavez and a two-out walk to Reyes. But Wolf got Castillo to ground out to end the inning.The Padres came right back in the sixth to score on consecutive RBI singles by Gonzalez and Kouzmanoff.Hairston started the rally with a leadoff double down the right-field line, the second of his three hits. Edgar Gonzalez attempted to move Hairston over with a bunt to the right of the mound. Santana fielded the ball and tried to get Hairston at third but his throw to Wright was in the dirt for an error."I tried to throw the ball as quick as I can and it wasn't a perfect throw," Santana said. "They took advantage of it."Brian Giles then grounded a ball toward Castillo at second base, when the ball struck Edgar Gonzalez. Giles was credited with a hit, Gonzalez was out, and for the second straight night, the Padres made an out on a play that seldom occurs.On Thursday night, Iguchi was struck by a grounder to the left side of the infield off Kouzmanoff's bat. When Iguchi attempted to avoid the ball, it hit his leg and sent him sprawling onto his right shoulder. Gonzalez replaced Iguchi at second base on Friday night.Adrian Gonzalez and Kouzmanoff each drove in a run with singles as the Padres went ahead 2-1.
The last team to win three consecutive 2-1 decisions was the Houston Astros on Aug. 3-5, 1991, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... New York lost for just the second time in Santana's last 10 starts. ... The Padres recalled INF Craig Stansberry from Triple-A Portland on Friday. San Diego also reinstated RHP Clay Hensley from the 15-day DL and optioned him to Portland.