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04/12/08 9:55 PM ET

Peavy finding different ways to win

Padres ace guts out third victory Friday against Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- Statistically speaking, Jake Peavy was nowhere near as dominant on Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers as he was six days earlier, when he allowed one run on two hits in a complete-game victory.

In Friday's 7-5 victory over the Dodgers, Peavy allowed seven hits before he got seven outs, and without his best command, gutted his way through six innings to earn his third victory in as many starts this season.

Yet if you ask Peavy or pitching coach Darren Balsley, they'll point to Friday's game as a start that, in their eyes at least, was every bit as impressive as any shutout performance by the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner.

"I'm as happy with this one as I am the first two of the season," Peavy said. "This is what it's all about -- finding ways to win. You're not going to have what I had five days ago every time out."

Balsley said while Peavy's command was amiss at times -- he allowed nine hits, three runs, two walks and had four strikeouts -- Peavy was able to find his way as the game rolled on with a patient approach instead of forcing things.

"It is impressive," Balsley said. "He has learned how to back off a little bit and slow things down and make big pitches instead of just a ton of good ones. He's taking it one pitch at a time ...

"He's learned how to make pitches when he needs to, against a bunch of guys who have seen him a lot of times. They know where he throws, but he was able to bear down and still make his pitch."

That was partly because Peavy has used his changeup more this season, even though it's a pitch he occasionally mixed in according to Balsley, though mostly only to left-handed hitters.

"He has more confidence in it now. He got away from it because his slider got so good he didn't need to throw it as often," Balsley said. "But guys know him. Right-handed hitters can't sit on his slider. They might see that changeup."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.