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Padres Try Some Moves After Loss : Baseball: Patience goes out the window after the Philadelphia Phillies win, 9-6.

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Padre front office implored the fans’ patience. They asked for understanding. They sought leniency.

After the team lost Thursday to the Philadelphia Phillies, 9-6, in front of a Cap Day crowd of 43,513 at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, the Padres decided that enough is enough.

After two days of meetings, the Padres want to start making changes.

Enduring center fielder Shawn Abner’s slump (one for 33), outfielder Darrin Jackson’s skid (one for 26) and left fielder Jerald Clark’s 10-day nagging Achilles’ tendon injury, they have run out of patience.

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They were expected to announce today that they are recalling either outfielder Thomas Howard (.303, two homers, 16 RBIs) or third baseman Scott Coolbaugh (.351, three homers, 10 RBIs) from triple-A Las Vegas and placing Jerald Clark on the 15-day disabled list.

“I can’t play,” said Clark, who had X-rays taken on his Achilles, which proved negative. “Even if I hit the ball, I’d have to hobble down to first base. It’s a lot worse than we anticipated.”

The Padres (15-13), who dropped into second place, six percentage points behind the Atlanta Braves, might give Howard or Coolbaugh a job in the starting lineup.

Once Clark returns from the disabled list in 10 days, the Padres then likely will decide whether to release left-handed pinch-hitter Mike Aldrete (hitless in 15 at-bats) or trade Jackson or Abner.

The Padres have toyed with the idea of moving second baseman Bip Roberts to center field, but it’s premature, they say, to abandon the experiment of playing Roberts at second base.

“We still think (Roberts) can improve there,” said Joe McIlvaine, Padre general manager. “He’s not turning the double play as well as you’d like, but he has tremendous amount of range. It’s the double-play pivot that he needs the most work on.”

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The Padres also have talked internally about bringing up right-handed catcher Brian Dorsett, who is hitting .254 with six homers and 15 RBIs. This would allow the Padres to use left-handed catcher Tom Lampkin as a pinch-hitter, instead of letting him sit on the bench.

“It’s all up in the air right now,” Padre Manager Greg Riddoch said.

For the time being, however, the Padres have more pressing worries: pitching.

On Thursday, it was Derek Lilliquist’s turn to pitch himself out of the starting rotation. Lilliquist lasted only 3 2/3 innings, allowing nine hits and seven earned runs. And before Lilliquist even had time to towel off on the bench, the Phillies led, 7-1, after 3 1/2 innings.

The Padres attempted to come back with two home runs and four RBIs by first baseman Fred McGriff, but not even his heroics were enough.

Phillie first baseman Ricky Jordan, who hit a grand slam Wednesday off Padre starter Andy Benes, had the greatest 24 hours of his career. He opened the game Thursday with a second-inning homer off Lilliquist, hit a two-run single off Wes Gardner in the fourth, greeted John Costello with a homer in the seventh and capped his afternoon with a single. In a span of 24 hours, Jordan went five for nine with three homers and eight RBIs.

Said Costello, whose first pitch as a Padre sailed into the left-field seats: “I thought it was a pretty good pitch for a first pitch. Obviously, he thought it was an even better pitch.”

The Padres have bigger problems in the rotation. How badly are the starters struggling? Excluding Bruce Hurst and Ed Whitson, the three others in the rotation are 5-8 with a 5.96 ERA.

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Has Riddoch ever seen a pitching staff in worse shape than his, considering there also are five pitchers on the disabled list?

“Yeah, San Francisco,” Riddoch said. “They’re struggling, too. We’ve just done a better job of scrambling.”

Perhaps this is why the Padres also might announce today they are bringing up Adam Peterson (1-1, 4.78) to start Saturday against the Montreal Expos. He would replace Eric Nolte (3-1, 9.78 ERA), whom the Padres are attempting to clear through waivers and send to Las Vegas. Nolte then would have the option of accepting the assignment or becoming a free agent.

They also had a tryout Thursday morning for left-hander Joe Price, who last pitched for the Baltimore Orioles’ triple-A Rochester team. He was expected to sign a triple-A contract today with the Padres.

And this is a team that’s in a virtual dead-heat for first place?

“It’s been that kind of year,” said Padre right fielder, Tony Gwynn, the only starter in the lineup who didn’t strike out against Phillie starter Terry Mulholland.

Mulholland (4-2) struck out eight, which equaled his career high set a year ago in his no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants. The only man that gave him fits was McGriff, whose shoulders are slumping from carrying the team on his back the past three weeks.

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McGriff extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single in the second inning, and by the time his day ended, he was batting .363, with a slugging percentage of .627 and an on-base percentage of .455.

“I’ll tell you the past few weeks he’s really put on a show,” said Gwynn, who celebrated his 31st birthday. “We just want to put some guys on in front of them. We scored six runs, and it wasn’t enough.

“This ain’t pretty.”

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