Notes: Padres prepare for stretch run

Notes: Padres prepare for stretch run

PITTSBURGH -- Following an 11-3 victory is not the typical situation you would expect a team meeting.

But then again, it is rare that a stretch of losing 12 of 13 games is snapped with an 11-3 win.

"No doubt, it was positive," said Tuesday's starter and winner Jake Peavy. "Tonight we had some positive feedback on what we need to do to get things done. We have a 56-game sprint left; it's not a marathon anymore. It's time to go. We want to get into the postseason. That's what we play for, and we have that opportunity if we play well to get in there and make some noise. You never know what happens once you get to October."

Peavy said the team had planned to meet after being swept by the Cincinnati Reds at home last weekend -- being outscored, 24-5, in the process -- but with travel across the country, the team never got a chance. With the easy win on Tuesday, the tone of the meeting might have changed -- slightly.

"When things are going bad, they tend to carry over into the next game," pitcher Brian Lawrence said. "We wanted to do some positive things and let that carry over, get caught up in it. It was the right time for it."

Though the 1-12 and 18-35 slumps dropped the Padres three games under .500, the team never fell out of a virtual tie for first place. And with the Arizona Diamondbacks' loss to the Houston Astros on Tuesday night, San Diego found itself a game up with a 52-54 record.

Peavy said he hopes the team will not fall out of first place the remainder of the season.

"I think we all realized that no matter how bad things were the last month or so, we are still in first place," Peavy said. "We have 56 games. It's going to be a fun two months. This is what you work so hard for in Spring Training."

Eaton gets in the game: Starter Adam Eaton made his first career relief appearance on Tuesday night. Out since June 16 with a strained right middle finger, he was activated from the 15-day disabled this weekend and the Padres wanted to bring him along slowly -- an inning or two at a time -- before proclaiming him in shape to start.

Monday night's 11-3 laugher was the perfect opportunity to break Eaton in against live hitters for the first time in almost seven weeks, said Padres manager Bruce Bochy. Eaton walked the first batter he faced but then got a double-play ground ball and a pop out to end the game.

"That was important because I was trying to get him in a game like that where he was a little more comfortable with a lead," Bochy said. "Not that he is uncomfortable in a tight ballgame, but he had not faced hitters in [seven weeks] and it's great to get him out there. He felt good, that's the good news."

Eaton was 9-2 when he was injured and is 45-38 in his six-year Major League career -- all with the Padres. He would be a valued addition to the rotation in the pennant race down the stretch, said Bochy, and the team hopes he can build up his strength to become a starter again.

"It was big to get that outing behind him, get some confidence" general manager Randy Smith said. "It was a quality inning, and it makes me believe he can be back in the rotation soon. He had his cutter, changeup, fastball. He looked good."

All-new battery: Two players made their Padres debuts on Wednesday -- the two who touch the ball most often. Chan Ho Park was making his first start for San Diego since coming over in a trade from the Texas Rangers and catcher Miguel Olivo saw his name in the Friars' lineup for the first time after being acquired via trade from the Seattle Mariners. Olivo was used as a defensive replacement on Tuesday.

"I look forward to seeing both of them," Bochy said. "Chan Ho, obviously, we are hoping he pitches the way we always saw him. Olivo, he's athletic. He's got a great arm and is a good receiver. He can run. We are hoping he finds his hitting stroke here."

Park won 75 games in a five-year stretch in the National League West with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Olivo hit only .151 for the Mariners this season, but homered in his first at-bat on Wednesday.

Klesko late scratch: Outfielder Ryan Klesko was removed from the lineup late Wednesday afternoon when he complained of back spasms.

"His back just locked up on him today," Bochy said. "He was fine [last night]. This morning he got up and it locked up on him."

Bochy said Klesko would likely be available for pinch-hitting duties. There is a chance he will be back in the lineup on Thursday.

Damian Jackson took his place in the lineup, batting second while Joe Randa was bumped down a spot.

On deck: It's breakfast at PNC Park as the Padres conclude their three-game series in Pittsburgh with a 9:35 a.m. PT first pitch against the Pirates. San Diego right-hander Brian Lawrence (5-11 ERA, 4.50 ERA) will face lefty Mark Redman (5-11, 4.30 ERA).

The game will be broadcast exclusively on MLB.TV.

Chris Adamski is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.