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This day in 1998: Andy Sheets has himself a day, Padres win seventh straight

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Joey Hamilton got the win, and Trevor Hoffman collected his third save of the young season

Andy Sheets

The 1998 Padres bumped their record up to 10-2 with a series-clinching win over the inaugural Diamondbacks on this day 20 years ago. The 4-2 victory was San Diego’s seventh consecutive win; they remained three games up on the Giants for the division lead, as San Francisco also won that evening.

In a lineup containing Greg Vaughn, Ken Caminiti, Steve Finley, and Wally Joyner, the last guy you’d expect to beat you would be Andy Sheets, even considering that Tony Gwynn’s usual spot in right field was being manned by Mark Sweeney, who was hitting .077 at the time. Proving an expression that may not yet have existed at the time, Sheets demonstrated that you can’t predict ball by recording the Friars’ only multi-hit showing and having a hand in three of the Padres’ four runs. He scored two and drove in two; that adds up to four, but there’s overlap thanks to his home run. His other hit was Friars’ lone double of the day.

Caminiti was responsible for San Diego’s other run; he led off the bottom of the fifth inning with his sixth homer of the year, extending the Padres’ lead at the time to 3-1. In a Sunday afternoon game that saw Sheets starting in place of Chris Gomez, and Sweeney in lieu of Gwynn, Greg Myers gave catcher Carlos Hernandez the day off and singled once in three trips to the plate. The Padres’ only other hit was Steve Finley’s first-inning single.

San Diego was able to win on five hits thanks in part to their pitching, which held Arizona to only four of their own, and allowed just a pair of Diamondbacks to cross the plate. Joey Hamilton pitched eight strong innings to move to 2-0. Of the four hits he allowed, two left the field of play; Travis Lee and Yamil Benitez got to him for solo shots in the first and seventh innings, respectively. As was the case in San Diego for a decade and a half, eight was enough, and the bells tolled for a perfect ninth inning from Trevor Hoffman.