ARLINGTON, Texas -- An aggressive play on the base paths by pinch-runner Ben Johnson gave the San Diego Padres a hard-earned victory.
Johnson raced home from third base with the go-ahead run in the ninth inning as the Padres took advantage of an error by Texas third baseman Hank Blalock in a 3-2 win over the Rangers on Wednesday night.
The score was tied at 2 and San Diego had runners on first and second on singles by former Ranger Adrian Gonzalez and Khalil Greene against ex-Padre Akinori Otsuka (2-3).
With Vinny Castilla batting, Otsuka threw a wild pitch that bounced off catcher Gerald Laird, who retrieved the ball up the third base line and fired to third trying to get Johnson, who was running for Gonzalez. But Blalock couldn't come up with the throw and was charged with an error.
"Aggressive base-running got us a run," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "(Johnson) hesitated at first, then it was just his speed that got him there."
Johnson wanted to make sure he had a good chance at advancing to third before he took off from second. Once he got there, third base coach Glenn Hoffman told him to sprint for the plate.
"I saw the ball right underneath (Laird)," Johnson said. "Then when I saw he was looking around for it, I decided to go."
Blalock was on the move to cover third, making it a tough play.
"He is a good third baseman," Texas manager Buck Showalter said of Blalock. "But he's on the run and tried to make a quick tag."
Laird didn't think Johnson would try to advance to third on the wild pitch.
"When I saw he was going, I thought we had a good chance to get him," Laird said. "Hank tried to catch it and get his glove down and make a tag but the ball got away."
Scott Linebrink (4-2) threw a scoreless eighth for San Diego and Trevor Hoffman got three outs for his 18th save in 19 chances.
Kevin Millwood turned in another strong start for the Rangers, allowing two runs and six hits over eight innings. Millwood, who has won his last five decisions, struck out three and walked two.
"It stinks to waste a good start like that," Texas' Michael Young said. "He was great."
Padres starter Chris Young threw a season-high 127 pitches in 5 2/3 innings before he was relieved by Alan Embree with runners on first and second and the score tied at 2. After the Rangers pulled off a double steal, Embree got out of the inning by getting Brad Wilkerson to pop up.
Young, 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his previous four starts, allowed two runs and four hits, struck out seven and walked two. But the high pitch count meant he was unable to go deeper into the game.
"I had nine full counts but I walked two batters so that was good," Young said. "The pitch count was the result of all the foul balls they hit."
A Dallas native, Young was 12-7 for the Rangers last season before he was traded to the Padres in a six-player deal in January.
Mike Piazza homered for the Padres, who have won four of five.
San Diego took a 1-0 lead in the first on Brian Giles' RBI double.
The Rangers, who were still seething over Tuesday night's foul ball call on what would have been Mark Teixeira's walk-off homer in the ninth inning of a 6-5 loss to the Padres, had another call go against them in the first.
Young was attempting to score from second base on Blalock's two-out single, and he slid in ahead of second baseman Josh Barfield's throw to Piazza.
Replays showed Young sweeping his hand across a corner of the plate as he slid past, but home plate umpire Bill Welke, who called Teixeira's blast foul as the first base umpire on Tuesday night, ruled that Young missed the plate.
Young nodded his head as he trotted to the dugout, indicating he thought he was safe, but Piazza tagged Young and Welke made the out call.
Young was surprised when Welke did not make an immediate safe call, then was stunned when he was tagged out.
"He told me I missed the plate, but I know my hand was all over it," Young said. "I was definitely safe."
Texas tied it at 1 in the fourth when Mark DeRosa doubled and scored on Kevin Mench's single.
The Rangers took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on Gary Matthews' sacrifice fly. Piazza's solo homer in the sixth -- his ninth -- tied it at 2.
Gusty winds made fly balls an adventure, including Giles' misjudged fly ball in the fifth before Matthews' sacrifice fly. Padres 1B Gonzalez seemed to have Laird's second-inning pop-up measured, but the ball fell near the first base coaches' box 15 feet from Gonzalez. No error was ruled on the play. ... The Rangers and Padres are both 4-4 in interleague competition.