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AZ 7, Padres 10 - The comeback that got away

Record: 44-48. Change on last season: +13

So, which ties your emotions up in a pretzel more? Watching your team score five runs in an innings to tie a game, capped by a three-run pinch hit homer from your embattled slugger(TM)? Or watching your relievers allow five runs in the bottom half of the same innings, putting you right back where you started?

Well, we scored more runs that we did in the opener; I guess that's a plus. And Glaus's third career appearance as a pinch-hitter (or second, depending on your source), and first in over three years, was a roaring success - move over, Tony Clark! However, Brandon Webb had another sub-par outing, and our bullpen slumped back into its old ways. Greg Aquino: 0.1 IP, two earned runs; Lance Cormier: 0.1 IP, three earned runs. Not good.

This started badly too, the Padres pouncing on Webb for two runs in the first, on a rare home run for the groundball pitcher - doubly rare, considering this was in Petco. Actually, triply rare, as it went over the right-field wall. Another homer in the fourth (are we in Coors?) and two more runs in the fifth stakes the Padres to a 5-0 lead.

But, showing tenacity that hasn't been common in recent performances, we didn't crumple. Green's homer and a two-out rally brought up Webb's spot, and Melvin turned to Glaus, on the bench because of his knee. The first pitch from Linebrink was duly deposited in the second deck, and the game was tied.

For a moment, anyway. :-( Aquino's struggles continue; he faced three hitters, and it took a diving catch from Green to retire any of them. Cormier was no better, allowing both inherited runners to score, and three more of his own, before Almanza finally, mercifully ended the innings, with the Padres' five-run lead restored.

Still, like a zombie with a bullet in each kneecap, we kept on crawlin' atcha. One in the seventh; another in the ninth; and I was just praying Stinnett would draw a walk in the ninth, so Troy Glaus would face Trevor Hoffman with the bases loaded, and Glaus representing the winning run. However, Stinnett struck out - no real dishonour there - and the Padres won, 10-7. Though Koplove and Valverde were perfect (just too late!), with Valverde fanning the side in the eighth.

Key numbers: again, left on base. We stranded ten and, outside Glaus's knock, went 1-for-10 with RISP. The Padres were 5-for-9 and left only three. Both teams had thirteen hits and two homers; we had more walks, extra-base hits and fewer double-plays. A pair of hits for Green, Tracy and Clayton.

Thanks to Otacon and William K for tag-teaming their way through last night's match-up, and also to frienetic for his amusing anecdote, suggesting that Mark Grace was just as amused by most AZ fans at Schilling losing the game for Boston.

On the ever-increasing topic of Glaus's knee: "It's something we'll deal with on a daily basis as far as therapy and stuff like that and try to get it as good as we can get it," he said. Team physician, Dr. Michael Lee, added: "It certainly is better than it was weeks ago." Anyone who saw Glaus hobble his way to first on Thursday might be less than convinced of that.

But, continues Lee, "It is not completely resolved. It is progressing. This will slowly get better. I wasn't convinced that by putting him on the DL for two weeks that this would be completely be resolved. I felt it would probably last longer." I still reckon we will see Glaus on the DL, and that will be the white flag signalling the end of our divisional hopes.