Latos dominates as Padres beat Davis, Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Mat Latos made a big impression on Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon.

The 22-year-old right-hander allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings as the San Diego Padres beat the Rays 2-1 on Tuesday night.

"I want to check his birth certificate. I don't think he's 22," Maddon said. "He's one of the better young pitchers I've seen. He has an incredible feel for what he's doing."

Latos (8-4) struck out eight -- including his last five batters -- and walked one in improving to 7-1 over his last nine starts. He has also won all three of his interleague starts this season.

"It's not the first time I've had somebody ask for my birth certificate," Latos said. "I'm thankful that things have been going my way here as of late and I'm just trying to improve and get better as the year progresses."

Tampa Bay's Wade Davis (5-8) allowed two runs, four hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander, who has lost all four of his starts in June, threw 103 pitches.

"I've got to get it going again," Davis said. "I've had some bad times. This is definitely nothing to panic about. I feel good, the body feels good. My delivery's still good. It's just a couple of tweaks here and there we've got to make in the bullpen and keep on going."

The Rays are 10-16 since May 23, when they held a six-game lead in the AL East. Tampa Bay started Tuesday second in the division, a half-game behind the New York Yankees.

Chase Headley had an RBI infield single and Will Venable was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded as the NL West leaders went up 2-0 in the third. Davis threw 42 pitches during the inning, which included three walks.

The Rays got within 2-1 on John Jaso's one-out RBI single off Mike Adams in the eighth. After Jaso was called out for being hit by Carl Crawford's hard grounder between first and second, Heath Bell entered and got four outs for his 18th save in 21 chances.

It was Bell's first four-out save since Sept. 4 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Latos retired eight in a row before Jason Bartlett singled in the third. Evan Longoria had a fourth-inning single and Crawford singled in the sixth.

"I thought he threw the ball extremely well," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "As the game goes on and the outs for the opposition wind down, I think he senses that. I think he senses the importance of each pitch as the game enters the later stages and that's a great quality to understand that."

Latos has held opponents to four hits or fewer in six straight starts.

San Diego loaded the bases with two outs in the first but failed to score when Scott Hairston hit a grounder to shortstop. The Padres were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Davis.

Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez went 2-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. He has 31 hits in 73 at-bats during June. His last six hits have all been doubles.

Game notes
Tampa Bay TV broadcaster Dewayne Staats called his 5,000th major league game. ... San Diego catcher Yorvit Torrealba dropped his appeal and started serving a three-game suspension for making contact with an umpire. ... Rays right-hander James Shields, who snapped a personal five-game losing streak when he made his first career relief appearance at Florida last Saturday, will make his scheduled start Wednesday against the Padres. Shields pitched a scoreless 10th in a 9-8, 11-inning victory in which Tampa Bay used a club-record nine pitchers. ... Adams had not given up a run in his previous 13 outings.