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Tomko falls two outs short of first shutout

9/5/2002

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Brett Tomko picked an unfortunate moment to
hang a slider to Jeff Bagwell.

Tomko came within two outs of his first shutout in 120 career
starts, allowing just six hits as the San Diego Padres beat the
Houston Astros 5-1 Wednesday night.

Tomko's only mistake was his full-count pitch to Bagwell with
one out in the ninth, which the slugger drove over the left-field
fence.

''I thought I had him,'' said Tomko, who got Bagwell to fly out
to right on a 3-2 sinker to end the sixth. ''I just left it out
there.

''I don't think I've ever been as disappointed at having a
complete game after I got that third out, because when you've got
something like that going, you want to drive it home and get that
shutout and finish up,'' Tomko said. ''I've never had one. I came
close.''

Bagwell is now 6-for-19 lifetime against Tomko, with five
homers.

Tomko, who won his fourth straight decision, said he didn't hang
many sliders until the ninth. ''I don't know if I was trying to
make too good of a pitch. That was my good pitch there. I probably
won't care in a couple of days,'' he said.

''He was probably trying to get me to chase ball four,'' Bagwell
said. ''But I got a good hack at it. It was one of the few mistakes
he made. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.''

It was Houston's fourth loss in five games.

Tomko (9-8) matched a Padres' season-high with 16 straight
scoreless innings before Bagwell homered. In his previous start,
Tomko combined with closer Trevor Hoffman for a 2-0 win over
Colorado, allowing four hits in eight innings.

Only one Astros runner made it as far as third before Bagwell's
26th homer and Tomko retired the side in order four times. He
struck out six and walked one.

Tomko pitched his third complete game of the season and fifth of
his six-year big league career.

Brian Lawrence threw 16 straight scoreless innings earlier this
year over his second and third starts. Lawrence threw a four-hitter
to beat Arizona 8-0 on April 8, then held Los Angeles scoreless for
seven innings in a 1-0 win April 14.

Ron Gant homered to left-center leading off the fourth on a
full-count pitch from Pete Munro (5-3) for a 2-0 lead. It was
Gant's 17th, second on the team to Ryan Klesko's 25.

Klesko doubled leading off the sixth to extend his hitting
streak to 13 games, then hit an RBI double for the first of San
Diego's two runs in the seventh inning. Gene Kingsale added an RBI
single for a 5-0 lead.

Mark Kotsay had an RBI single in the third and rookie Sean
Burroughs got his first RBI since being recalled from Triple-A
Portland on Tuesday, singling in Gant in the sixth for a 3-0 lead
to chase Munro. Gant was hit on the left shoulder by Munro and
advanced on Bubba Trammell's fielder's choice.

Munro allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, struck
out one and walked one.

Game notes
After Gant was hit on the shoulder in the sixth -- his first
at-bat since homering -- he flung his bat toward the dugout hard
enough that on-deck batter Trammell had to hop out of the way. ...
The Padres released RHP Bobby J. Jones because they need his
rotation spot to continue auditioning young pitchers on their
staff. Jones wouldn't have started again this season and would have
gotten little work out of the bullpen, general manager Kevin Towers
said. ... The Padres purchased the contract of right-hander Jason
Shiell from Triple-A Portland, putting them in position to extend
their major league record of 36 pitchers used in a season. Shiell,
25, will join the Padres in time for Friday's game at Denver. ...
San Diego also released OF Trenidad Hubbard. ... With the
32-year-old Jones gone, the 29-year-old Tomko is now San Diego's
oldest starter.