On this day 20 years ago the Padres followed a dramatic come-from-behind win with a no-doubter. Four pitchers combined to shut out the upstart Diamondbacks, and the San Diego offense took turns ruining the day for Arizona’s arms.
James Mouton had the finest day of his Padres career, which consisted of 55 games in just the ‘98 season. Acquired from Houston right before the season started, Mouton served mostly as a pinch-runner when he wasn’t in AAA with the Las Vegas Stars. He started just nine games, finishing only five, and he came to the plate more than once in just 14 games. His three hits gave him his only multi-hit game of the season, and his double represented half of his season total.
Tony Gwynn and Ken Caminiti both had better games in a Padres uniform, but their lines in the box score were indicative of their greatness. Tony went two-for-three to raise his batting average to a typically Gwynnish .349. Before Andy Sheets pinch-ran for him in the bottom of the fifth with a 7-0 lead, Gwynn also scored a run and drove in a pair; those were two of his 69 RBI that season. Cammy went one-for-three, but that one was a big one. His third-inning three-run homer gave the Padres a 5-0 lead. It was the fifth of 29 home runs he hit in 1998.
Greg Vaughn and Carlos Hernandez were the only hitless starting position players, although Vaughn did draw a walk. So did Quilvio Veras, who added a single and a steal, eventually crossing home plate both times he was aboard. Chris Gomez pitched in a single, and Archi Cianfrocco recorded the first of the three doubles he hit in his final season.
Like Mouton, starting pitcher Pete Smith had his most impressive day as a Friar. He allowed just three baserunners, and needed only 59 pitches to complete five innings, a nice bounce-back from his first start of the year in which he allowed four earned runs on 11 baserunners over five innings in a loss to the Cardinals. He was out of the rotation by the end of May, and in an Orioles jersey a couple weeks after that.
With the final score of 7-0 in place after the fifth inning, Smith gave way to Carlos Reyes. In two innings of work Reyes allowed one hit, as did Don Wengert and eventual NLCS MVP Sterling Hitchcock in their single innings. All told, Padres pitching allowed six hits yet faced just five batters over the minimum, thanks to a double play.
The win put the Padres at 9-2 on the season, three games ahead of the second-place Giants, who lost to St. Louis. It was their third win in a four game set against Arizona, giving them their fourth series win in a row after taking two out of three in both Cincinnati and St. Louis, and then sweeping the Reds at home.