Padres Turn To Peavy

The Arizona Diamondbacks are enjoying one of their best stretches of the season, but to continue that run they'll have to get past San Diego All-Star Jake Peavy.

The Diamondbacks try to complete a three-game sweep of the Padres when the NL West rivals meet on Thursday at Petco Park.

Arizona (60-49) has won 10 of its last 11 games, including a 9-5, 11-inning victory over San Diego (56-50) on Wednesday. Eric Byrnes singled home the go-ahead run in the 11th and Chad Tracy added a three-run homer to help the Diamondbacks maintain a one-game division lead over Los Angeles and a 2 1/2-game edge over the third-place Padres.

The Diamondbacks won despite closer Jose Valverde blowing his second straight save when he gave up a two-run homer to Milton Bradley in the bottom of the ninth.

"For us to come back and do what we did speaks volumes," said Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin, whose team allowed four runs in the ninth. "I'm very proud of the guys."

Arizona had 15 hits, its most since recording that same number in an 8-3 win over San Diego on July 13. The Diamondbacks have won six of the last seven meetings with the Padres.

Oddsmakers from have made San Diego -210 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 7.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 50% of bets for this game have been placed on San Diego -210 (View MLB Bet Percentages)

Peavy (10-5, 2.41 ERA) tries to stifle those bats when he takes the mound. The right-hander had gone 0-4 over his previous five starts before beating Houston 9-4 on Friday, allowing just one run and four hits over seven innings.

He walked two and struck out eight for his first victory since June 19.

Peavy had been working with pitching coach Darren Balsley on some mechanical adjustments.

"He stayed a little taller over the rubber and his arm had a higher slot. That resulted in a better angle and created more of a downhill plane for his pitches," Padres manager Bud Black said.

Peavy leads the NL with 144 strikeouts and his ERA ranks second. The NL All-Star starter is now trying to match his win total from last season, when he went 11-14 with a 4.09 ERA.

He is 8-8 with a 5.20 ERA in 19 career starts versus the Diamondbacks, including a no-decision on April 25 when he threw seven scoreless innings and scattered just two hits in San Diego's 3-2 win. Peavy struck out a career high-tying 16 in that contest.

He'll try to help the Padres snap their season-high five-game home losing streak during which they've been outscored 41-12 and posted a 7.85 ERA.

"We're going through a bad spell, not playing good ball," Wednesday starter David Wells said. "But what goes around comes around. We've got to fight our way through it. We're not out of it. We're still in the hunt."

San Diego has lost nine of its last 12 overall and will face Yusmeiro Petit (2-2, 3.44), who is trying to bounce back from a shaky start.

Despite retiring 13 of the first 14 hitters he faced, the Arizona right-hander gave up five runs and six hits over 5 2-3 innings in an 8-7, 11-inning win over Atlanta on Friday. He had allowed threw or fewer runs in his first five starts of 2007.

Petit, who has never faced the Padres, will likely remain in the rotation after Randy Johnson announced that he will have season-ending back surgery.

He may not have to face San Diego right fielder Brian Giles, who left Wednesday's game with a sprained right ankle.

by: Michael Cash - – Email Us

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