Eaton earns his first win in 15 months


SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Adam Eaton knew he'd win again, he just wasn't
sure when.

Eaton allowed two hits over seven innings for his first win in nearly 15 months since elbow surgery, leading the San Diego Padres over the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 Tuesday night.

Eaton (1-1), making the fourth start of his comeback, looked like the promising pitcher the club envisioned as a No. 1 or 2 starter before he hurt an elbow ligament in July 2001.

"That's how I used to pitch,'' Eaton said. "I was able to
throw all my pitches and throw them all for strikes.''

Following ligament replacement surgery in August 2001, Eaton
made his first major league start in more than a year on Sept. 1.
He had lasted five innings or less in all three of his prior

But against Arizona, Eaton kept the defending World Series
champions in check. The Diamondbacks' magic number to clinch their
second straight NL West title and third in four seasons remained at

Arizona is 92-58 overall but just 39-45 when Randy Johnson and
Curt Schilling don't start.

"It feels good to get that quality start, especially
considering who it came against,'' Eaton said.

Eaton allowed one run -- on a solo homer by Luis Gonzalez in the
fourth -- with six strikeouts and two walks. Mike Holtz and Brandon
Villafuerte followed, and Trevor Hoffman pitched a perfect ninth
for his 38th save in 41 chances to finish the combined four-hitter.

"I just think he's getting into his groove,'' Padres manager
Bruce Bochy said. "He could throw any pitch at any time. That was
a big game for him to put together.''

David Dellucci had the other hit off Eaton, a one-out double in
the fifth, but was stranded after taking third on a wild pitch.

"He had much better command of his breaking stuff,'' Arizona
manager Bob Brenly said. "He was able to throw his curveball for

Miguel Batista (7-9) gave up three runs -- two earned -- and four
hits in seven innings.

San Diego scored three runs on an unusual play in the first
inning. After one-out singles by Mark Kotsay and Ryan Klesko, Ray
Lankford hit a hard grounder down the first-base line past a diving
Erubiel Durazo.

When Dellucci, the right fielder, tried to backhand the ball
near the pitcher's mound in the visiting bullpen in foul territory,
the ball rolled under his glove into the corner.

Kotsay and Klesko scored easily, and Lankford came all the way
around, scoring standing up without a throw.

Lankford was credited with a double and Dellucci was charged
with a two-base error.

"That was a weird play because you don't expect to score three
runs on a ground ball down the first base line,'' Lankford said.

"I tried to get to the ball before it got to the mound, but I
butchered it,'' Dellucci said.

After the first inning, the Padres failed to get runner past
first base.

Arizona added a run in the eighth against Holtz on Steve
Finley's RBI single.

Game notes
Arizona has lost six of seven games at San Diego this season. ... Eaton walked two batters after giving up 13 walks in 12 1/3 innings during his first three starts. ... Gonzalez, who walked
once, has walked 20 times in his last 24 games.