Webb has Padres all wrapped up
Right-hander allows just three hits in seven shutout innings
SAN DIEGO -- It was hard to find fault with Brandon Webb's performance on the mound Tuesday night at PETCO Park.
After all, the right-hander allowed just three hits over seven innings, as the D-backs shut out the Padres, 4-0.
That doesn't mean Webb completely got off the hook, though, as his teammates gave him unending grief after the game about his silk shirt that was covered with a flower pattern.
"It could be up there with one of the worst shirts I've ever seen in my life," catcher Chris Snyder said. "It looks like a floral shop just threw up all over. That's the only way to explain it."
The mood in the Arizona clubhouse is understandably upbeat and jovial these days. Tuesday's win was their ninth in their past 10 games, and it vaulted them into first place alone for the first time since June 26.
The D-backs finished the month of July with a 13-13 record, which is somewhat amazing given that they started it out 1-7 and 4-12.
"That's another sign of a team that's able to respond to some adversity," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said.
With the loss, the slumping Padres dropped 1 1/2 games back, while the Dodgers are a game behind. The Rockies beat the Marlins on Tuesday and remained 3 1/2 games out.
"One day you could be in first place, the next day in third the way it's working out right now," Melvin said of the wild National League West. "It's always nice to be in first place."
The D-backs got good pitching and timely hitting Tuesday, which has been the recipe they have followed during their resurgence.
Left-handed hitters have given Webb a bit of trouble in his post-Cy Young season, because of the way they can go the other way with his signature sinker. San Diego lefties Brian Giles, Adrian Gonzalez, Milton Bradley and Josh Bard fall into that category, so Webb has changed his pitching style a bit, throwing more curves and changeups.
"Their left-handed guys are really good hitters," said Webb. "They're usually pretty aggressive with me. They're willing to take the ball to left field, and for me to be able to throw some offspeed stuff to them kind of gets them off that for a second."
Webb (10-8) fanned seven, with each one of them coming on a changeup.
Stephen Drew got the D-backs on the scoreboard in the second inning with a two-run homer to center. Padres outfielder Mike Cameron scaled the wall and just barely missed catching the ball.
"I thought he had it, to be honest," Drew said. "He's a great outfielder. Luckily it was out of his reach."
When the at-bat started, Drew's goal was simply to get Conor Jackson from second to third, where he could score on a sacrifice fly, but Drew fell behind 0-2, then battled back to 2-2 before getting a fastball from Justin Germano that he could drive.
"You get a couple of runs and your team feels like, to an extent, it's more than two or three runs," Melvin said referring to how well Webb was pitching.
The game stayed 2-0 until the fifth, when Chris Young hit the first pitch he saw from Germano into the upper deck in left for a two-run homer.
"He had a good sinker, good movement going, so I thought he would try to get ahead with the fastball and get me to hit into a double play," Young said. "But he just left it up a little bit."
Germano (6-6) allowed four runs in his five innings to suffer the loss, but the right-hander only allowed four hits and one walk to go with seven strikeouts.
"We got a couple of big hits, but at the same time we only had four hits against him," Young said. "It's not like we were just hitting him all over the place. A couple of pitches tonight, that's all it was, honestly."
That and an outstanding performance by Webb, bad shirt and all.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.