Valdez Coming Around

Ismael Valdez did a fine impression of the rest of the staff on Tuesday. He went five innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks to get his seventh win of the season. Prior to Tuesday, the San Diego Padres right-hander had struggled.

The Padres are getting some great starting pitching. On Friday (July 2), right-hander Jake Peavy came off the 15-day disabled list (forearm tendinitis) to allow Kansas City one run on three hits over 5 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out six. The following night, right-hander Adam Eaton took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He finished by allowing two runs on two hits in seven innings. He issued one walk and struck out a season-high 10 hitters. Over his last eight starts, Eaton has a 1.83 ERA and has given up only 4.3 hits per nine innings. And on Sunday afternoon (July 4), left-handed veteran David Wells allowed only four hits over six innings of shutout ball. For the sixth time in his last seven starts, Wells did not issue a walk. He was forced to depart sooner than expected after fouling a pitch off his right ankle. Over the last week-plus, the only starter who had been struggling was right-hander Ismael Valdez, who has given up 10 runs on 15 hits over 9 2/3 innings in his two previous starts.

The Padres' other starters, meanwhile, have allowed only 13 runs on 29 hits and 10 walks over 41 1/3 innings in seven starts. That's an ERA of 2.83.

"I thought I was pretty good, and Adam comes out and was absolutely awesome," said Peavy.

Peavy was hitting 93-95 on the radar gun. Eaton topped out at 96.

Of his no-hit bid, the 26-year-old Eaton said he was well aware of what was happening.

"I was trying to enjoy it and think about other stuff," said Eaton. "It was an interesting place to be. I started thinking about everything else going on in the world."

"Talk about exciting," said Padres manager Bruce Bochy. "Honestly, Adam pitched a perfect game. That was the best stuff we've had all year."

Over Eaton's last seven starts, he's allowed an average of only 4.3 hits per nine innings with a 1.83 ERA. He's also gone three starts without allowing a homer after giving up 14 in his first 14 starts.

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