Pads' Hairston stays hot at plate, helps Peavy to win

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Pitching at home sure has its benefits for Jake Peavy.

The San Diego Padres' ace made quick work of the Atlanta Braves on Friday night, then hustled out as quickly as possible to catch a Toby Keith concert.

"I should have been a cowboy," quipped Peavy, a good ol' boy from Alabama. "If I get there in time, I get to see Toby sing a little bit."

Backed by a triple and double by hot-hitting Scott Hairston, Peavy led the Padres to a 4-0 win over the Braves. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner held Atlanta to four hits and struck out seven in seven innings. He won his second straight start and for the third time in six starts since coming off a monthlong stay on the disabled list due to a swollen right elbow.

Peavy (7-5) lowered his home ERA to 1.45, the lowest in the NL and second-lowest in the majors. It was the fourth time this year he didn't allow an earned run in a home start.

"You know what? It was a good night," Peavy said.

The right-hander then praised rookie catcher Luke Carlin.

"The amount of work that he puts into it and the amount of pride he takes catching me every fifth day, I'm going to give him some props because he has sure done a nice job," Peavy said.

Manager Bud Black was impressed with Peavy.

"When he's pitching here, there's just a little different feeling," said Black, who was impressed with the life on Peavy's fastball and the curveballs he threw, including a few to Chipper Jones. "I think that you find he sets the tone on his day. You know from the time he goes out there that he's pitching with a lot of emotion. I think our guys feed off that."

Hairston agreed.

"Obviously he comes out and does his thing," Hairston said. "He's been pitching great lately. He adds fire to the game. I would say guys get motivated from that. It's encouraging to see a guy just lay it out there. I think all our pitchers do that. But there's just something about Jake.

"I'm just glad we were able to get him the run support tonight."

Atlanta's best scoring chance was in the fifth, when it had runners on second and third with one. But Brent Lillibridge grounded out and pinch-hitter Greg Norton flied out to end the threat.

"Peavy's tough," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "You're not going to get a lot of runs off him, especially in this ballpark."

Said Jones: "He threw me one pitch over the middle of the plate and I fouled it off. Otherwise, everything I saw was on the black. I can't complain about the calls."

Hairston is 17-for-34 (.500) with six doubles, five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs scored in his last 11 games since June 25, hitting safely in nine of the 11 games.

Trevor Hoffman came on with runners on first and second and two outs in the ninth and struck out Lillibridge to earn his 17th save in 20 chances. He extended his big league career record to 541.

Hairston tripled into the gap in right-center off Jo-Jo Reyes leading off the first and scored on Edgar Gonzalez's groundout. He doubled with one out in the third and advanced courtesy of the Gonzalez brothers -- taking third on Edgar's single to right and scoring on Adrian's single up the middle.

The Padres added two runs in the sixth. Pinch-hitter Jody Gerut singled in Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff came around on a two-base error by left fielder Gregor Blanco.

Reyes (3-8) lost his fourth straight decision. He lasted only four innings, allowing two runs and five hits. He made his major league debut against the Padres at Petco Park just more than a year earlier.

The Braves have scored only nine runs in Reyes' eight losses.

Atlanta's Brian McCann had three hits.

Game notes
Braves SS Yunel Escobar was scratched from the starting lineup due to a strained left shoulder. ... Kouzmanoff, San Diego's 3B, managed to catch Mark Teixeira's foul ball in the second even as he tumbled over the short wall down the left-field line. ... Padres right-hander Chris Young threw his second simulated game as he continues to work his way back from getting his nose broken when he was hit in the face by an Albert Pujols line drive on May 21. He'll begin a rehab assignment Wednesday night at Class-A Lake Elsinore and is still hoping to be back by late July or early August. "Physically I felt good, stuff was all right," Young said. "Overall, I was happy with the way things went. Hopefully it will keep going that way." ... The Padres will hold a ceremony prior to Saturday night's game to honor 20 players and coaches from the 1998 team that beat the Braves to reach the World Series. Among them will be Kevin Brown, the ace of that team. Brown was savagely booed when he returned to San Diego with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in April 1999 after leaving the Padres to become baseball's first $100 million player. Brown might get a different reception Saturday night, considering that Petco Park probably wouldn't exist if the Padres hadn't reached the '98 World Series, where they were swept by the New York Yankees.