06/06/07 3:30 AM ET
Hoffman one save away from 500
Padres closer nails down victory over rival Dodgers
By Elizabeth M. Botello / MLB.com
"Well, it's more important that we win the game today to be able to go into first place," Hoffman said.
Sure, the Padres defeated the Dodgers, 1-0, to move into in a tie for first in the National League West with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but it should be noted that Hoffman is now just one save away from 500. He already holds the Major League all-time saves record.
"That's what happened tonight and that's great," Hoffman said of his save.
"I feel honored to be able to watch him first-hand," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I know from afar in the other league and not seeing what he's accomplished every day, just in this short period of time, I realize what a professional he is and what a great feat he's approaching."
The ninth inning began with "Hells Bells" playing loudly. The Dodgers' Russell Martin was the first batter to face Hoffman, but was soon sent back to the dugout after he grounded out to short.
Then right fielder Andre Ethier came in and hit a single to right field to get on base.
But that's as far as the Dodgers went against Hoffman, who pitched between loud chants of "Beat L.A.!"
The next two batters -- Tony Abreu and pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz -- didn't reach base. Abreu flied out to center fielder Mike Cameron, and Saenz popped out to second baseman Marcus Giles.
Hoffman's last blown save was, coincidentally, against the Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 27.
But it wasn't in the forefront of Hoffman's mind.
"You've got to move on from those negatives and try and create a streak," Hoffman said. "It's a situation where you have to have short-term memory and go after it the next time out."
And with that, Hoffman reached another milestone while getting his 17th save of the season.
Elizabeth M. Botello is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.