|San Diego (14-13) «||0||0||0||1||0||0||2||0||x||3||4||0|
Kouzmanoff drove in a run with his first big league triple and Chris Young combined with Trevor Hoffman on a three-hitter, leading the Padres to a 3-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
It was another night when hits were hard to come by at spacious Petco Park. While Young and Hoffman were shutting down the Nationals for San Diego's major league-leading fourth shutout, Washington's Shawn Hill and Micah Bowie held the Padres to four hits.
"It's nice to see the guys made the most of four hits," manager Bud Black said. "Our guys had some good at-bats."
Kouzmanoff was batting just .110 (8-for-73) before tripling off the out-of-town scoreboard on the right-field wall to bring in Mike Cameron with one out in the seventh. Kouzmanoff then scored on a suicide squeeze by Oscar Robles.
Right fielder Austin Kearns leaped for Kouzmanoff's fly ball but couldn't reach it.
"When that ball went up in the air, we knew he hit it well," Black said. "The visual we all had was Kearns making the play, because that's how it's going for this guy. But he hit it to the opposite field. He squared up.
"We're all behind this fella," Black said. "He's worked hard in batting practice, and hopefully there's more of that to come."
Kouzmanoff was in a 1-for-23 slump coming into his key at-bat. Obtained in the offseason from Cleveland for popular second baseman Josh Barfield, Kouzmanoff has struggled offensively all season. His claim to fame, of course, is that he's the only major leaguer to hit a grand slam on his first pitch, on Sept. 2 at Texas.
Kouzmanoff wasn't in the clubhouse when it was opened to the media.
"He deserved it," Giles said. "I mean, the at-bat before, he almost knocked the second baseman over. He hit a bullet. That's the tough part of this game and we're trying to make sure he realizes it. Even though you're not getting results, he's taking some pretty good swings.
"He's got too good of a swing. It's not going to last all year. He'll start hitting. Us veteran guys need to take a little pressure off of him," Giles said.
Cameron drew a one-out walk and stole second before Kouzmanoff tripled to chase Hill.
Hill said he let a fastball come back over the middle.
"I'm probably fine if I don't fall behind there 3-1 on the guy," Hill said.
"He made a mistake there on 3-1," catcher Brian Schneider said. "Now that I think about it, it's easy to say we should have thrown him a breaking ball. In that situation, we wanted to challenge him."
Young (3-2), who had two rough outings among his previous three starts, allowed three hits, struck out eight and walked three. He's thrown 15 scoreless innings in two home starts.
"He comes at you with his fastball; it's no secret," Schneider said. "He pitches down in the zone and mixes them in and out. Then he throws a high fastball that is hard to lay off."
Hoffman pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save in eight chances, extending his big league record to 488.
Hill (2-3) allowed three runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings, struck out five and walked three. He was a 33rd-round pick by the Padres in the 1999 amateur draft but chose not to sign.
Gonzalez doubled in Giles with San Diego's first run in the fourth.
Hill had to be checked by a trainer after he fell awkwardly while trying to field first baseman Dmitri Young's off-mark throw on Jose Cruz Jr.'s infield single in the third. Hill, who appeared to be favoring his left shoulder, stayed in the game.
|Chris Young tosses eight scoreless innings, yielding just three hits and three walks while fanning eight. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Felipe Lopez, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.257|
|Ronnie Belliard, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||2||2||.298|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.230|
|Ryan Church, CF||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.272|
|Austin Kearns, RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.282|
|Dmitri Young, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.245|
|Kory Casto, LF||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.167|
|Micah Bowie, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brian Schneider, C||3||0||2||0||0||0||0||.203|
|Shawn Hill, P||1||0||0||0||1||0||1||.200|
|Chris Snelling, LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.204|
|2B - Brian Schneider (3, C. Young)|
|SB - Ronnie Belliard (1, 2nd base off C. Young/Bard)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Shawn Hill (L,2-3)||6.1||4||3||3||3||5||0||3.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Shawn Hill 74-41, Micah Bowie 5-4|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shawn Hill 8-5, Micah Bowie 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Shawn Hill 25, Micah Bowie 5|
|San Diego Padres|
|Jose Cruz Jr., LF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.348|
|Brian Giles, RF||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.288|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||3||0||1||1||1||1||0||.310|
|Josh Bard, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.267|
|Khalil Greene, SS||3||0||0||0||0||3||1||.257|
|Mike Cameron, CF||2||1||0||0||1||0||1||.189|
|Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B||3||1||1||1||0||0||0||.122|
|Oscar Robles, 2B||2||0||0||1||0||0||0||.143|
|Chris Young, P||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||.083|
|Trevor Hoffman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|2B - Adrian Gonzalez (6, Hill)|
|3B - Kevin Kouzmanoff (1, Hill)|
|SH - Oscar Robles (2)|
|RBI - Adrian Gonzalez (26), Kevin Kouzmanoff (5), Oscar Robles (1)|
|SB - Mike Cameron (3, 2nd base off Hill/Schneider)|
|CS - Jose Cruz Jr. (1, 2nd base by Hill/Schneider)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|DP - Gonzalez|
|San Diego Padres|
|Chris Young (W,3-2)||8||3||0||0||3||8||0||3.34|
|Trevor Hoffman (S,6)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||5.59|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chris Young 106-64, Trevor Hoffman 10-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Young 3-12|
|Batters Faced - Chris Young 29, Trevor Hoffman 3|
|Attendance - 19438|
|Game Time - 2:11|
|Temperature - 66|
|Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Marty Foster|