Eaton and Padres' success linked as one

Adam Eaton returned to the starting rotation for the first time since June 15 and threw 94 pitches over five innings.

He allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits over five innings and threw all of his pitches -- including the curve and slider that had been the biggest threats to the well-being of the flexor tendon he strained between the top two knuckles on his right middle finger more than 10 weeks ago in Detroit.

"I'm glad to be back out there," said Eaton. "Somebody asked me how I felt. I said it was kind of like a spring training game. You're trying to analyze every pitch. Things just aren't in that groove yet. I'm just a little off. Physically, I was able to throw all my pitches. Mechanically, I was off a little bit. I'm disappointed with the way I threw the ball, but a good bullpen session should take care of that."

Adam Eaton was 9-1 with a 3.18 ERA and an eight-game winning streak when he suffered the finger injury June 15 in Detroit. He made two relief appearances with the Padres during the first week of August, then returned to the disabled list so that he could go back out on a rehab assignment (two starts at Triple-A Portland after one with Single-A Lake Elsinore) to stretch out his innings and pitch count in anticipation to last night's return to the rotation.

Most managers in pennant races at this time of the season are contemplating going to four-man rotations looking for that extra push.

Not Bruce Bochy.

The Padres boss shifted to a six-man rotation for a short time when right-hander Adam Eaton came off the disabled list.

Eaton's return did not mean an immediate demotion for any of the present starters but the injury bug has hit again, knocking the six down to five.

Pedro Astacio was placed on the disabled list on Monday, ending any further talk of the six-man rotation.

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