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Lawrence wins third straight

5/13/2004

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The San Diego Padres made the most of their six
hits off Cory Lidle.

Brian Giles hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Brian Lawrence and the Padres' bullpen made sure it held up in a 2-1 win
over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.

"Usually you don't score two runs and win a game, but that
shows the signs of a good team," Giles said. "We feel like we're
not playing as well as we're capable of, but we're winning games
and that's what's important."

A year ago, when they were the NL's worst team, the Padres
probably would have lost a game like this. But when Lawrence handed
a 2-1 lead to the bullpen starting the seventh, Scott Linebrink,
Akinori Otsuka and Trevor Hoffman made it stand.

Otsuka pitched a perfect eighth and Hoffman allowed just a hit
in the ninth in earning his 10th save in 11 chances.

"Those guys are nails and they nailed it down again tonight,"
said Lawrence, who won his third straight start. "We're a solid
ball team all the way around. There's no way around that right now.
I don't see a hole right now. If we continue to play the way we do,
it's going to be a fun year."

Lidle (2-3) pitched efficiently once he got out of the first,
but by then he was down 2-0 after allowing Mark Loretta's one-out
double followed on the next pitch by Giles' homer to Petco Park's
spacious right-center.

Giles connected when Lidle left a sinker up.

"I thought I hit it good, but here you never know so you've got
to keep running," Giles said. "Funny how that holds up after the
first inning. He pitched a great game. He made one mistake and it
cost him."

Coming in, Giles was 5-for-6 with two homers lifetime against
Lidle.

"Sometimes it goes that way," Lidle said. "I just left a
sinker a little bit up and he was all over it. He hit it good."

Lidle threw just 85 pitches, 67 for strikes.

"They were swinging at the first pitches all night long,"
Lidle said. "It wasn't too much of a surprise."

Giles' sixth homer was enough to give the win to Lawrence (5-2),
who allowed one run and seven hits in six innings, struck out four
and walked one.

Lidle kept the Padres off-balance with his changeup, although he
allowed four extra-base hits.

After allowing Jay Payton's triple to right-center leading off
the second, Lidle retired 15 straight until Phil Nevin doubled to
left leading off the seventh. Nevin thought it was a homer and
started into his trot, but the ball hit about halfway up the fence
and he had to hustle into second.

Lidle didn't walk a batter until the seventh. He finished for
his seventh complete game of his career. He struck out four.

The Padres made two nice defensive plays. After Tim Hummel's
leadoff double, first baseman Nevin charged in and gloved Lidle's
bunt in the fifth and threw out Hummel at third.

Terrence Long replaced left fielder Ryan Klesko as part of a
double switch before the eighth, then made a nice diving catch of
Sean Casey's fly ball opening the inning.

"They made a great double switch," Cincinnati's Ryan Freel
said.

Cincinnati, which beat San Diego 6-3 on Tuesday night, got its
run on three singles in the fourth. Casey singled with one out,
advanced on Adam Dunn's hit and scored on Freel's single.

Game notes
Reliever Rod Beck is scheduled to rejoin the Padres next
Thursday at Pittsburgh if he continues to throw well at extended
spring training in Arizona. Beck has been absent since the middle
of spring training due to a personal problem. Originally scheduled
to be a setup man for Hoffman this year, Beck will have to pitch in
long relief because Otsuka, signed from Japan, has pitched well,
going 3-1 with one save and a 1.00 ERA. ... The Padres placed RHP
Antonio Osuna on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right
groin, and purchased the contract of RHP Brandon Puffer from
Triple-A Portland.