- 142 wins
- 110 wins
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres had no hits or walks in the fourth inning, but Jesus Guzman still made his way around the bases and scored the game-winning run in the Padres' 4-3 victory over the Royals on Monday night before 23,635 at PETCO Park.
How? The Royals (33-46) had two errors in the inning, and Guzman took advantage of them both.
"Their young player tried to make a play and threw an errant throw to third and we capitalized on it," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It was a good heads-up play by Guzzi. You know, he's been around a little bit. He knows that on that type of play you can advance, and he did."
The errant throw Black referred to was first baseman Eric Hosmer's throw to third base to try to turn a double play. But that was the second error.
With a 3-1 San Diego lead, Guzman led off the fourth inning with a ground ball to Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar, who fielded it and threw over the head of Hosmer at first base, advancing Guzman to second.
Two batters later, Orlando Hudson grounded out to third baseman Mike Moustakas, but when Hosmer threw the ball back to third to beat Guzman to the bag, it bounced past the base and Guzman raced home.
"It was not a smart play," Hosmer said. "It's two outs and whatever happens, we're late in the order and it's just not very smart to throw that. Next time, maybe [I need to] just hold onto it."
But even though Guzman's baserunning produced the winning run for the Padres (35-45), Orlando Hudson may have produced the game-winning play in the sixth inning.
Starting pitcher Mat Latos had gotten himself into some trouble in the sixth. The Royals tallied two singles of Latos (5-8) to start the frame, and a double by Brayan Pena knocked both runners in.
With Pena on third base after advancing on a flyout by Escobar, the Royals pinch-hit Billy Butler, who Black said might be the Royals' best hitter and is hitting .303 this season. Butler hit a ground ball up the middle and Hudson ran to his right to field it and made the throw to preserve the 4-3 lead.
"Played that grounder up the middle, [Hudson] ranged to his right and made a very nice play," Black said. "That was big. It kept the game on our side."
Latos, who pitched six innings and allowed three runs on seven hits, appreciated the timely stop by his second baseman.
"I think there hasn't been a minute that's gone by where I haven't said, 'Good job,' to him tonight," Latos said. "Unbelievable play from a veteran guy. That's what we got him for and he's going to swing the bat and make good plays like that."
Kansas City starting pitcher Jeff Francis, whom the Padres are familiar with from his days with the Rockies, threw five innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits.
Black said before the game that he thought a familiarity with Francis (3-9) would play in the Padres' favor, and they got to Francis first with a two-run homer by Ryan Ludwick.
The home run was his first since June 17 and his second of the month.
"Huge, man. Huge," Hudson said. "Luddy's been huge for us all year. He's been clutch the whole year and that's what he's been doing the whole time. So that was definitely a big blow for them, and a big spark for us."
Latos gave up two hits to start the third inning, which led to the Royals' first run, which was knocked in on a sacrifice fly by Hosmer.
The Padres starter gave up leadoff hits in four of his six innings of work, including one that came around to score in the Royals' sixth.
"Not as sharp as we've seen him the last five outings or so," Black said. "You know, he was a little bit under the weather today, but battled through it. Had a good slider at times, really got on top of a couple of good sliders, good hard break.
"I thought just the sharpness to Mat's overall pitching was not like we've seen it, but ... he didn't feel all that great physically."
Latos, however, said he felt fine before the game. Either way, he did enough to win with the help of his bullpen and Heath Bell, who picked up his 21st save. Latos even doubled and scored a run in the third inning on a wild pitch.
Third baseman Chase Headley was 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and a walk. Headley is hitting .357 in June, and with his performance on Monday, he's now hitting .300 on the season.
That's an 89-point rise in his average since April 29.
Mark Thompson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.