Hoffman ties saves record as Padres keep West lead

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- It was vintage Trevor Hoffman, from the AC/DC
blaring from the stadium speakers to a final, nasty changeup
dropping toward the dirt and eluding the swing of a helpless

Hoffman never veers from his routines or his signature pitch,
and on Saturday night he tied Lee Smith's career saves record with
No. 478, helping the NL West-leading San Diego Padres beat the
Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 to build a 1½-game lead over the Los Angeles

As he has for weeks, Hoffman said the Padres' playoff push is
more important that his record pursuit.

"I know I'll be more relieved when we clinch a playoff spot,"
Hoffman said after pitching a perfect ninth for his NL-best 42nd
save in 47 chances. "And I truly mean that. I'm not trying to
deflect the attention from what's going on, and there's a lot of
pressure involved in a pennant drive and preserving wins, let alone
what it means to a major league record."

The 38-year-old closer has never been comfortable talking about
himself, so it's been easier on him with the Padres trying to make
consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in club history.

"It could be extremely lonely, in a sense, to go through this
process with a team that wouldn't be in it and have all the
attention on something that's very individualized," he said.

Jake Peavy struck out 11 to match the team record for
double-digit strikeout games, and rookie Josh Barfield hit a
go-ahead homer leading off the seventh.

With the sellout crowd of 43,168 on its feet, Hoffman jogged in
from the bullpen, staring at the ground the whole way, with AC/DC's
"Hells Bells" blaring, as it has for each of his home save
opportunities since July 25, 1998.

Former teammate Xavier Nady flied out to center, Ronny Paulino
grounded out and Hoffman tied Smith's record when he struck out
Ryan Doumit struck on his signature pitch, a changeup.

"It was nasty," catcher Rob Bowen said. "It looked like it
stopped, then started again after he swung. It just dropped off the

Said Hoffman: "I'll get an out any way I can, as long as they
don't put it in play and score a run."

The 38-year-old Hoffman has three saves in five games following
his blown save in Monday night's wild, 11-10 loss in 10 innings at
Los Angeles.

Smith piled up 478 saves from 1980-1997.

All but two of Hoffman's saves have come with San Diego, which
obtained him from Florida on June 24, 1993, in a five-player deal
that sent Gary Sheffield to the Marlins.

"I feel sorry for teams who don't have what we have," Peavy
said about Hoffman.

"It's special," said Bruce Bochy, San Diego's manager since
1995. "We're seeing history. I can't say enough about what he's
done for our ballclub, our organization. He's a guy I've been
fortunate to have as my closer since I've been manager."

Pittsburgh's Jim Tracy was Hoffman's manager in the minor
leagues when he was converted from infielder to reliever.

"It suggests consistency, it suggests resiliency," Tracy said.
"That's how you get to the point where he's at."

Tracy was manager of the rival Dodgers the last five seasons.

"I learned to hate the song 'Hells Bells," Tracy said. "I
only listen to it when I'm in San Diego."

San Diego has won eight of 11 overall and 13 of its last 15 home

Barfield gave San Diego a 2-1 lead when he homered to left on a
2-2 pitch from Zach Duke (10-14) in the seventh. It was the 13th of
the season for Barfield, the son of former AL home run champ Jesse

Peavy (10-14) held Pittsburgh to one run and six hits in eight
innings, walking one. He reached double digits in Ks for the 15th
time in his career to tie the franchise mark held by Andy Benes. It
was the fifth time this season Peavy has struck out at least 10.

A night after Chris Young came within two outs of San Diego's
first no-hitter, the Pirates took a quick lead against Peavy.

Chris Duffy hit a leadoff single, advanced on Jack Wilson's walk
and, following a double play started by Peavy, scored on a two-out
single by former Padres player Xavier Nady.

San Diego tied it with two outs in the fifth when Brian Giles
singled to center and scored when left fielder Jose Bautista
misplayed Mike Cameron's fly ball, which bounced off the fence for
a double.

Duke allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, walked five
and struck out four.

Game Notes
Pinch-hitter Joe Randa was booed when he was announced
leading off the eighth. Randa's pinch-hit, two-run homer with one
out in the ninth on Friday night broke up Young's no-hitter.