Thatcher's moxie preserves Marquis' gem

Thatcher's moxie preserves Marquis' gem

Thatcher's moxie preserves Marquis' gem
SEATTLE -- For the second time in as many nights, Padres reliever Joe Thatcher found himself standing high atop the mound at Safeco Field, facing a left-handed batter while trying to hold a lead at a critical point in the game.

On Tuesday, Thatcher allowed a home run. On Wednesday, he didn't blink when he got the chance to redeem himself, as the two outs he got in the seventh inning went a long ways toward the Padres' 1-0 victory over the Mariners before a crowd of 13,931.

On a night reserved for fine pitching, the Padres had plenty of it -- 6 1/3 scoreless innings from Jason Marquis, two big outs by Luke Gregerson in the eighth inning that were followed by a 1-2-3 ninth by closer Huston Street for his seventh save.

The two outs that Thatcher got in the seventh inning might have topped them all, as one night after he allowed a home run to lefty Michael Saunders, the left-handed Thatcher came into the game with the Padres holding a tenuous lead with one out and the bases loaded.

"As they say, that's the beauty of the game," Thatcher said, smiling. "There's always a tomorrow. But I really think that even if you give it up the night before, you've got to want the baseball."

As planned, Thatcher ran a fastball up and away to Ichiro Suzuki, who couldn't get on top of it enough, bouncing it to third baseman Chase Headley, who threw home for the forceout. Then, facing Ackley, Thatcher got him looking at a fastball at the knees for the final out of the inning.

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Thatcher called the pitch to Ackley: "One of the best pitches that I've thrown."

His manager didn't disagree.

"That's a huge spot," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I've seen Joe pitch, and if he makes his pitches ... he'll produce outs."

Thatcher's performance followed that of Marquis, who, in his second start with the team, allowed six hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Marquis had plenty of good movement on his split-finger fastball as well as his sinker.

"Great plays, and when you work quick and throw strikes, the defense tends to be on its toes a little more," said Marquis, who got eight ground-ball outs, including a double-play in the fifth inning.

Black liked the way that Marquis worked his way through the lineup. If nothing else, this was a lineup familiar to the veteran, who allowed two runs in six innings pitching at Safeco Field while he was with the Twins on May 5.

"Jason did a nice job keeping the ball below the strike zone," Black said. "He kept the ball at the knees when he needed to throw a strike. ... This guy is a veteran pitcher who has had success and knows his game."

Seattle pitcher Hector Noesi (2-7) matched Marquis nearly zero-for-zero, making few mistakes along the way. The one he did, though, cost him dearly, as Yonder Alonso hit a pitch over the wall in right field to begin the seventh inning. The home run was the second of the season for the Padres first baseman.

"Just one pitch, unbelievable," said catcher Jesus Montero, who had three hits for the Mariners (27-37).

Thatcher got the first out of the eighth inning as Kyle Seager lined a ball that shortstop Everth Cabrera caught on a diving attempt up the middle. Gregerson came in and allowed two hits around a flyout. With two runners on, he got John Jaso to chase a slider down in the strike zone for the final out.

"I wanted to give him a pitch that looked like it might stay up in the strike zone," Gregerson said.

The victory for the Padres (22-41) marked the first time this season they have won consecutive games on the road.

"That's awesome," Gregerson said. "Let's keep it going."

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.