video thumbnail

ARI@SD: Headley draws a walk-off walk in the 11th

SAN DIEGO -- It was probably fitting that Chase Headley got a second chance to ensure a Padres victory Friday, though it was probably a little bit unusual that he didn't need his glove or bat to pull it off.

It was Headley's throwing error with two outs in the ninth inning on a routine ground ball that allowed two runs to score to force extra innings in what would have been a milestone save for closer Heath Bell.

But it was Headley's discerning eye in the 11th inning that alleviated some of his pain as the walk he took with the bases loaded helped the Padres to a 4-3 victory over the D-backs before a crowd of 30,878 at PETCO Park.

"Even Heath came up and said, 'Hey, we got the win,'" Headley said.

That was clearly the highlight of the night for Headley, who reached base on five occasions, though even in victory he couldn't let go of his errant throw, which should have ended the game.

With Bell on the mound looking for outright ownership of the franchise record for most consecutive saves -- it would have been 42, snapping a record Bell and Trevor Hoffman have shared since Tuesday -- Kelly Johnson squibbed a ball to Headley, who threw it in the dirt to first baseman Brad Hawpe.

Staked to a 3-0 lead, Bell had already allowed a run earlier in the inning. When Hawpe couldn't corral the ball in the dirt, two runs scored to tie the game.

"It stinks ... when it comes down to it, it just stinks," Headley said. "You want to go and stick your head in the sand."

There was no time for that, as Headley got a chance to win the game in the 11th inning -- but only after Arizona's Miguel Montero was called for catcher's interference, meaning that Ryan Ludwick was given a free pass to first base.

That set the stage for Headley, who watched a fastball sail wide on the eighth pitch of a long at-bat against Sam Demel. He no sooner had reached first base when he was mobbed by his teammates, who celebrated about as unusual a victory as the Padres (13-19) have had in 2011.

"I was proud of the way I bounced back and I was glad we had the opportunity to win the game," Headley said.

One of the main reasons Bell was in a position to earn a milestone save in the first place was another strong performance from starting pitcher Tim Stauffer, who did his part in taming the D-backs (14-17) but was denied his first victory.

"I thought he was sharp again tonight," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I thought the fastball gained life as the game went on."

Stauffer tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing four hits with six strikeouts and one walk. He nearly got out of the seventh inning, but his two-out walk to Juan Miranda on a slider that missed on his 109th pitch of the game was hit last offering of the night.

Still, that didn't take the shine off another strong outing by Stauffer, who this season has allowed more than two runs once in his first seven starts, lowering his ERA to 2.61 while looking very much like the pitcher he was last season.

"He had everything going," Padres catcher Rob Johnson said. "His sinker was really good. He was throwing his changeup down in the zone for strikes. His curveball was a little bit off, but we kept on working it in.

"He's just really locating with his fastball. He's got the hitters off-balance with his off-speed stuff and then he was dotting his fastball."

Stauffer even did his part to help the Padres' scuffling offense along. With runners on the corners and no outs in the third inning, Stauffer dropped down a bunt with Eric Patterson scoring from third base on a safety squeeze.

On that play, D-backs second baseman Kelly Johnson, covering first base on a bunt, was charged with an error as he couldn't get a handle on pitcher Armando Galarraga's throw. That error proved big when Will Venable hit a fly ball to left field for a sacrifice fly and another run.

Venable finished with his first three-hit game of the season. After getting two extra-base hits in the first 31 games of the season, Venable had two doubles on Friday and robbed Chris Young of extra bases with a diving catch in the right-center-field gap in the first inning.

"We saw Will do what Will can do," Black said.

That said, there wasn't much offense for the Padres, who had six hits, just one coming with runners in scoring position.

They couldn't break through much with Galarraga issuing six walks in 4 1/3 innings. And they couldn't do much against five relievers, either, except for Demel, who allowed two hits and a walk in the 11th inning.

The walk, of course, is what ended the game and allowed for Headley to breathe a little easier. Not much, mind you, but a little.

"The thing is you've got to have great defense, you've got to have everything behind you, you've got to be lucky a lot," Bell said. "You know, I walked people. If I hadn't have walked people, we wouldn't have been in that situation at all. I blame myself tonight, not anybody else. I mean Chase basically won the game for us tonight, so that error right there is not even crossing my mind." Comments