Nevin silences the critics

It was just over two weeks ago that Phil Nevin appeared on a local radio station to air it out. He knew he wasn't performing but asked for fans to give him a break since the team was winning. The best part about his stats on the year are not what you would expect.

Padres 1B Phil Nevin ranks among the National League leaders in two unexpected categories.

He is first among first basemen in fielding percentage.

And he ranks second in the fewest grounded-into-double plays stat. Nevin has grounded into one double play in 210 at-bats. The only player in the league with a better mark is fleet St. Louis center fielder Jim Edmonds, who has yet to hit into a double play in 169 at-bats.

Nevin also hit safely in his 12th straight game Sunday. He earlier had a 13-game hitting streak. Those are the two longest hitting streaks of his career.

Nevin is 18-for-46 during his present streak with a double, a triple, two home runs and 14 RBIs -- although he twice stranded runners in scoring position with one out Sunday against the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano.

"You have to give him some credit," Nevin said of Zambrano. "He struggled, then stepped it up when he got into trouble."

Zambrano had walked three straight hitters (leadoff man Dave Roberts was thrown out on a steal attempt) in the first when Nevin got his chance and popped out.

"I thought it was a pitch I could have driven ... a slider up ... and I just missed it," said Nevin. "It wasn't exactly a slider. It broke flat, like a sweeper."

In the sixth, Nevin had a chance to tie the game with runners at second and third with one out. Zambrano struck him out.

"He threw me two unhittable pitches in the sixth," Nevin said. "He had a lot of movement. All game, he made pitches when he had to."

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