Hoffman Gets Record Save in Padres Win

Monday, September 25th 2006, 5:17 am
By: News On 6

Trevor Hoffman got the final out and the celebration was on.

Hoffman pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning in front of a roaring crowd to become baseball's career saves leader, and the NL West leading San Diego Padres beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 Sunday.

Hoffman, known for his menacing glare, high leg kick and nasty changeup, opened the 9th by striking out Ryan Doumit on a changeup, then struck out Jose Bautista on a fastball. NL batting leader Freddy Sanchez grounded out and Hoffman had his 479th career save, one more than Lee Smith.

Hoffman had just enough time to pump his fist after the final play before catcher Josh Bard jumped into his arms. Hoffman was soon mobbed by his teammates.

Even the Pirates stuck around, applauding from the dugout. Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy, who managed Hoffman the year he was converted from shortstop to reliever in the minor leagues, stood on the top step and clapped.

``It's overwhelming,'' Hoffman said. ``It becomes a very humbling experience. It's hard to put into words what it truly feels like.''

Clay Hensley (11-11), backed by impressive home runs from Russell Branyan and Bard, struck out a career high 9 in winning his third straight start for San Diego, which retained its 1 1/2-game lead over the 2nd place Los Angeles Dodgers.

In other NL games, it was: Philadelphia 10, Florida 7; Los Angeles 5, Arizona 1; Colorado 9, Atlanta 8; Houston 7, St. Louis 3; Milwaukee 5, San Francisco 3; Cincinnati 3, Chicago 2; and Washington 5, New York 1.

After the final out in San Diego, fireworks went off and streamers came shooting off the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse, where a banner proclaiming Hoffman's saves total was changed to 479.

``It's a credit to him because he's one of the finest people in the game,'' said Tracy, who managed the rival Dodgers the previous 5 seasons. ``It's a tribute to his resiliency. It's a tribute to his work ethic. It's a tribute to his moxie because a not a lot of people can do what he does.''

Bard put the Padres ahead 2-1 when he homered against Juan Perez (0-1) in the 6th inning.

Phillies 10, Marlins 7

Chase Utley homered twice and drove in 4 runs, and the surging Phillies overcame a 4 run deficit to get their fifth straight win and remain a 1/2 game ahead of Los Angeles in the wild card race.

Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer (4-2) gave up 5 runs and 8 hits in 6 innings.

Scott Olsen (12-9) allowed 7 runs and 7 hits in 2 2-3 innings for visiting Florida.

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 1

At Los Angeles, Nomar Garciaparra hit a grand slam off Luis Vizcaino (4-6) with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Dodgers the win.

The Dodgers are 1 1/2 games behind the NL West leading Padres and a 1/2 game behind Philadelphia in the wild card race.

Takashi Saito (6-2) pitched a perfect 9th to earn the win.

Rockies 9, Braves 8

The Braves' streak of 14 straight postseason appearances ended with a loss to the Rockies, who got a grand slam from Matt Holliday.

Atlanta had won 14 straight division titles heading into this season but the Mets won the NL East title. The loss to the host Rockies combined with the Phillies' 10-7 win over Florida eliminated Atlanta from the wild card race with 6 games left.

Pinch-hitter Brad Hawpe hit a 2 run homer off Tyler Yates (2-5) in the 8th inning for the Rockies, who trailed 7-0 in the 4th inning.

Jeremy Affeldt (4-1) got the win and Brian Fuentes pitched the 9th for his 29th save in 34 chances.

Astros 7, Cardinals 3

At Houston, Roger Clemens struck out 6 in his final home start of the season and Aubrey Huff hit a 3 run homer as the Astros completed a 4 game sweep of the Cardinals.

Clemens got a no decision in his 689th career start. He left before the Cardinals batted in the 6th inning, with the Astros leading 3-1.

Clemens tipped his cap and waved to the cheering crowd in what may have been the second to last start of the season, and his 23 year career. The 44 year-old Clemens has not said whether he'll return next season.

The Astros have won 5 in a row and closed to within 3 1/2 games of the Cardinals in the division. The Astros remain 5 behind Philadelphia in the NL wild card race.

Chad Qualls (7-3) struck out 2 in 1 1-3 scoreless innings to earn the win.

Josh Hancock (3-3) took the loss.

Brewers 5, Giants 3

Ben Sheets (6-7) pitched 8 solid innings, Mike Rivera hit a bases-clearing double in the 6th and the host Brewers completed a 4 game sweep.

The loss coupled with San Diego's 2-1 win over the Pirates eliminated San Francisco from the NL West race. The Giants trail the Phillies by 7 for the wild card with 7 to go.

Francisco Cordero worked the 9th for his 16th save in 16 chances since joining the Brewers on July 28.

Matt Cain (13-11) gave up 5 runs and 7 hits in 7 innings and Giants right fielder Moises Alou picked up his 2,000th career hit with a bloop double in the 2nd inning.

Nationals 5, Mets 1

Tony Armas Jr. (9-12) won for the first time in 7 starts to lead the visiting Nationals to the victory.

Trying to secure a spot in New York's postseason rotation, Steve Trachsel (15-8) allowed 3 runs in 5 plus innings.

Reds 3, Cubs 2

Royce Clayton's pinch hit single in the 9th inning drove in Chris Denorfia with the winning run.

The Cubs led 2-1 in the 9th but Ryan Dempster (1-9) had his 9th blown save of the season.

Aaron Harang (15-11) allowed 6 hits in his 5th complete game of the season, tied for the most in the National League.

Aramis Ramirez and Buck Coats homered for the visiting Cubs.