Andy Hawkins lost his shutout in the ninth inning Saturday night at Philadelphia, but the unbeaten right-hander breezed to his major league-leading ninth victory as the San Diego Padres beat the Phillies, 4-1.
It was the first complete game of the season for Hawkins, who was 8-9 with an earned-run average of 4.68 last season.
Hawkins gave up a home run to Ozzie Virgil leading off the ninth inning but lowered his ERA to 2.32. Hawkins also squeezed in a run in a three-run, second-inning rally.
Virgil's home run was the Phillies' only run in the two games against the Padres and ended the string of shutout innings for Padre pitchers at 25.
Hawkins' success is not really a big surprise. He pitched well in the Championship Series, then earned the club's only World Series victory, pitching six shutout innings of relief in the second game.
"I felt I pitched my best game tonight," said Hawkins, who made it past the seventh inning only once in his previous eight starts. "I have been lucky in a couple of games but I really believe I found myself in the playoffs last season.
"I was wondering if I was ever going to finish a game. I threw mostly fastballs because I was having trouble with my slider.
"One of these days, I'll probably get clobbered, but it sure is fun while it lasts."
Philadelphia Manager John Felske saw a bit of a silver lining in the hitting of Mike Schmidt, who had a single and a double and twice was retired on hard-hit line drives.
"We are a young club," Felske said, "and we need Mike to lead us. He is starting to hit the ball the way he always has."
(BLOCK) Pittsburgh 8, Atlanta 2--While Hawkins has enabled the Padres to get off to a fast start, the Braves, a favorite to win the West, are off to a terrible start.
In an effort to get on track in this game at Atlanta, the Braves reactivated Pascual Perez, who spent three weeks on the disabled list with an arm problem.
Perez wasn't the answer. He gave up a grand slam to Bill Almon in the fourth inning as the Braves fell to 16-24, nine games behind the Padres.
Usually a fast starter, Perez is 0-5. Last season, Perez, without benefit of training camp, won his first three starts and seven of his first eight decisions.
It was the first ever grand slam for Almon, who struck out with the bases loaded in the second inning. In more than 2,800 at-bats, Almon has hit 24 home runs.
Rick Rhoden had a shutout going into the ninth but had to settle for his first victory at Atlanta since 1977, when he pitched for the Dodgers.
(BLOCK) St. Louis 6, Cincinnati 4--Joaquin Andujar dodged bullets most of the night at Cincinnati, but, with last-out help from Ken Dayley, improved his record to 8-1.
Willie McGee homered for the Cardinals, and Tommy Herr, the league's leading hitter, had three hits and drove in two runs to give Andujar enough of a cushion.
"It was a struggle wasn't it?" Cardinal Manager Whitey Herzog said. "They hit him hard all night. He survived."
Chicago 5, Houston 4--Davey Lopes won the battle of home runs at Chicago with a two-run smash in the eighth inning. It was the seventh home run of a game played with the wind blowing out.
Lopes had the crowd of 36,278 buzzing about two plays he made, including a sensational running catch of Dennis Walling's drive into left-center field to end the game. The Astros had two runners on base at the time.
Also homering were Terry Puhl, Kevin Bass and Jerry Mumphrey of the Astros and Leon Durham, Steve Lake and Ron Cey of the Cubs.
Montreal 3, San Francisco 1--Switching from the bullpen to the starting rotation is a big change, but veteran left-hander Dan Schatzeder of the Expos is enjoying it.
Schatzeder went 7 innings, giving up five hits and a run, to win his second in a row as a starter. He said his arm was getting tired.
"When you are a reliever and switch to starting, it's just like spring training," Schatzeder said.