The Padres are up to 4-6 on the year, but for most of the night, it looked like a sure loss to Arizona.
Jon Garland, perhaps still getting used to his new style of pitching, struggled with his command, walking five Diamondbacks in as many innings. The Padres offense couldn’t muster any run support, so he left with a 3-0 deficit.
From there, the bullpen took over and dominated. Ed Mujica, Adam Russell, and Heath Bell combined to throw four perfect innings with five strikeouts.
The offense slowly awoke from its slumber as the game progressed. Particularly encouraging was a big game from Kyle Blanks, who went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. David Eckstein also had a nice night, going 3-for-5 with a double; given his offensive output in recent years, you have to take those nights when you can get them.
Finally, Headley sent a Juan Gutierrez pitch soaring deep into the night to break a 3-3 tie with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
We always talk about teams fading down the stretch in September, but each game counts equally. If the D’backs finish one game out of the playoffs, this one counts as much as the ones down the stretch do. Gutierrez might just want that one back.