The San Diego Padres have been good before. Never this good.
Not since they joined the NL as an expansion team in 1969 have the Padres been 32 games over .500 or 13 games in first place. But that's just where they are now after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-0 on Thursday."Nothing about this club surprises me," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're getting outstanding pitching and clutch hitting. It's nice to have a 13-game lead, but we do have a lot of baseball left. Still, I'm sure a lot of people are surprised about a 13-game lead."
The Padres completed a six-game sweep of the Diamondbacks at home this season and improved to 14-0 against NL West opponents this year at Qualcomm Stadium. In all, they have a 36-10 home record, second in the majors to the New York Yankees (36-7).
San Diego has won 10 of 12 to open its 13-game lead over San Francisco. Before this season, the Padres' previous biggest lead was 12 on the final two days of the 1984 season. That year, they won their only NL pennant.
Padres starter Joey Hamilton (9-9), mentioned in numerous trade rumors, gave up four hits, struck out 10 and walked none in eight innings to win his fourth straight decision.
Over his last four starts, Hamilton has allowed only five earned runs in 27 innings for a 1.67 ERA. He has lowered his season ERA to 4.62
CARDINALS 8, GIANTS 1: At San Francisco, Kent Bottenfield (3-5) allowed one run and three hits in seven innings and got his first RBI since 1993 to lead St. Louis.
Mark McGwire, who leads the majors with 43 homers, went 0-for-2 with three walks, an RBI and two runs scored.
Late Thursday, San Francisco acquired relievers Jose Mesa and Al Morman and infielder Shawon Dunston from Cleveland, and got outfielder Joe Carter from Baltimore.
CUBS 2, EXPOS 1: At Chicago, Mark Clark and Rod Beck combined on a six-hitter as Chicago won its fifth straight. The Cubs went 6-0 at Wrigley Field against Montreal this season.
Clark (6-9) allowed four hits in eight innings, and Beck pitched the ninth for his 29th save.
METS 6, BREWERS 5: At Milwaukee, Mike Piazza singled and scored on pinch-hitter Matt Franco's single in the ninth as New York won its fourth straight.
Piazza singled - his third hit - off Mike Myers (2-2) with one out. After Bernard Gilkey was hit, Chad Fox relieved and gave up Franco's single.
PIRATES 9, MARLINS 1: At Pittsburgh, Jose Guillen and Lou Collier drove in three runs apiece and Jon Lieber (8-10) won his third consecutive start.
The Pirates have won six of their last seven. Gregg Zaun went 4-for-4 as Florida lost for the eighth time in nine games.
BRAVES 3, PHILLIES 2: At Philadelphia, Javy Lopez and Curtis Pride hit back-to-back homers to snap a sixth-inning tie.
Kevin Millwood (11-5) gave up eight hits and two runs in seven innings, and Kerry Ligtenberg struck out the side in the ninth for his 12th save.
ROCKIES 6, REDS 4 (1st game); ROCKIES 6, REDS 4 (2nd game): At Denver, Dante Bichette and Larry Walker each hit two-run homers as Colorado completed a soggy day-night doubleheader sweep.
The Rockies had to endure a 1-hour, 31-minute rain delay in the nightcap before sending Cincinnati to its seventh straight loss following a 10-game winning streak.
Bichette hit his 15th homer off Pete Harnisch (7-5) in the first inning of Game 2. After the delay, Walker followed a single by Ellis Burks with his 11th homer.
ASTROS 8, DODGERS 6 : At Los Angeles, Mark Guthrie walked Ricky Gutierrez on four pitches with the bases loaded in the 10th to force in the go-ahead run as Houston overcame an early six-run deficit.
RED SOX 8, BLUE JAYS 7: The Toronto Blue Jays hoped a strong showing at Fenway Park would begin their drive toward the AL wild-card spot. Instead, the Boston Red Sox pushed them aside.
The Red Sox came back from a five-run deficit and eventually won 8-7 Thursday night on Jason Varitek's two-out single off Randy Myers in the 10th inning.
Toronto dropped 81/2 games behind Boston. Baltimore, meanwhile, moved ahead of the Blue Jays with a 9-7 victory over Oakland.
TIGERS 3, INDIANS 2: Cleveland traded for reliever Doug Jones before the game, then traded away reliever Jose Mesa after Detroit's win at Jacobs Field.
Damion Easley extended his hitting streak to 19 games - his second 19-game string of the season - and later scored the tie-breaking run on Bobby Higginson's single in the Tigers sixth.
Jones, the Indians' career saves leader, was acquired from Milwaukee for pitcher Eric Plunk. Several hours later, Cleveland traded Mesa, who could not close out Game 7 of last year's World Series, to San Francisco for reliever Steve Reed in a five-player deal.
ORIOLES 9, ATHLETICS 7: Lenny Webster drove in six runs, including a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. He went 4-for-5 and set career highs for RBIs and hits, as Baltimore won its fourth in a row and 13 of its past 14 games.
Webster is 17-for-30 (.567) with four homers and 15 RBIs in his last seven games with an at-bat.
Right after the game, the Orioles traded Joe Carter to San Francisco for minor league pitcher Darin Blood.
ANGELS 6, TWINS 5: Anaheim was 0-40 when trailing after eight innings before rallying to win at the Metrodome.
Down 5-2 in the ninth, the Angels tied it against Rick Aguilera and then won it in the 10th on Craig Shipley's RBI single.
RANGERS 8, ROYALS 4: Rusty Greer, Ivan Rodriguez and Mark McLemore each had three hits as Texas won on the road.
Greer drove in three runs and Juan Gonzalez got his major league-leading 114th RBI. Gonzalez has 26 RBIs against Kansas City this year - the single-season record for RBIs versus one team is 27 by Darryl Strawberry for Los Angeles against Houston in 1991.