New pitch suits Williams

Woody Williams has a new pitch, and he's not afraid to use it.

The pitch is a knuckleball.

On Sunday, the Padres won a second straight game started by the 39-year-old right-hander, who opened the season in the San Diego bullpen.

Williams is not using the knuckleball with any regularity yet, but he is using it enough to give hitters something else to think about. He got one strikeout with it Sunday.

"I hope word gets around," Williams joked recently about his knuckleball. "I'd like hitters to think it's a great pitch."

Right now, the knuckleball is a small part of Williams repertoire. But he's still working on it with the idea of using it more the better it gets. For a fastball pitcher, a knuckleball could be a potent change of pace.

Williams is 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA in two starts since replacing the injured Shawn Estes in the Padres rotation.

REPLAY: Finally, it went according to plan for Padres manager Bruce Bochy on Sunday in Atlanta. The Padres rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Braves 4-3. And the first time this season, Trevor Hoffman pitched in a save situation. Hoffman converted, but not before giving up two hits to the Braves. The save left him 42 shy of becoming the all-time leader. At this rate -- one save in 11 games -- Hoffman would surpass Lee Smith late in the 2008 season.

Sunday also marked the first time that Scott Linebrink and Hoffman worked back-to-back in the last two innings the way the Padres had planned. Linebrink, who took the loss Friday as the Padres lost the first two games of the series, picked up the win in relief Sunday.


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