Webb entangles Padres, bests Peavy
Homer from Snyder helps D-backs' ace win pitchers' duel
SAN DIEGO -- When he saw Chris Snyder get on the team bus Sunday morning, D-backs pitcher Brandon Webb realized his batterymate was sicker than he initially thought.
"He never is on the bus," Webb said. "He always gets to the ballpark long before the bus."
Sunday was anything but a typical day for Snyder, who has battled an upper respiratory infection for much of the past week. In fact, when he left the ballpark Saturday night, there was some doubt as to whether he would be able to play.
Not only did Snyder play, he proved to be the difference in the game, as his two-run homer lifted the D-backs to a 2-1 win over the Padres at PETCO Park.
The game was billed as a battle between the last two National League Cy Young Award winners in Webb and Jake Peavy, and it came as advertised.
"Both guys were outstanding," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said.
When he wasn't behind the plate, Snyder was in the tunnel behind the dugout trying to stay cool and hydrated. The game-time temperature of 91 degrees tied for the hottest game ever at PETCO Park, and the heat only added to how bad Snyder was feeling.
In the second inning, though, with two out and Stephen Drew on first, Snyder made his way to the plate for his first at-bat of the game. If you were the D-backs, you couldn't have liked the matchup, given the fact that Snyder was 0-for-11 with five strikeouts against Peavy in his career.
It looked like the Padres right-hander was going to make it 0-for-12 when he jumped ahead of Snyder, 1-2, with three fastballs. Peavy then shook off Josh Bard when he called for a slider and threw another fastball, which Snyder deposited over the wall in left-center for his first homer of the year.
"Bad pitch execution and bad pitch selection, too," Peavy said. "Unfortunately, that one pitch cost us the ballgame."
"He was coming right after me," Snyder said. "I just put a good swing on one and got enough of it."
For Webb and a trio of relievers, the two runs proved to be enough.
"We end up getting a two-run lead early on [Peavy], and I think to myself that's a lot at this point," Webb said. "There's probably not going to be a whole lot more scored on him. He was throwing really well the whole day."
There wasn't, but the only run the Padres managed on Webb came in the fourth and was unearned, thanks to an error by second baseman Orlando Hudson.
Peavy (3-1) wound up pitching seven innings and struck out nine; Webb went six and fanned five.
The Padres left the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth innings.
In the fifth, Webb pitched around Adrian Gonzalez to get to Kevin Kouzmanoff, whom he fanned on a changeup.
The in the sixth, Webb struck out Peavy with the bases loaded, again with a changeup, and then first baseman Conor Jackson made a diving play on a grounder to rob Brian Giles of a hit.
"It's been a huge pitch for me," Webb said of his changeup. "If I get in a situation where I need a strikeout or something, I'll go to that."
Knowing when to call for that pitch and mix it in with Webb's signature sinker and curveball is one of Snyder's strengths, and it's why having him behind the plate is so important to Webb.
"I think he knows what I want to throw in certain situations, and I trust him totally in any situation with whatever he wants," Webb said. "I don't second guess anything he puts down there. To have him back there just gives me a lot of confidence, and I think he knows that and he sucked it up and battled for me today, and I appreciate that."
In that case, Webb should probably get a nice birthday present for Snyder's daughter, Thelia. After all, Snyder spent Saturday night in bed rather than celebrate Thelia's first birthday so that he could be as ready as possible for Sunday.
"It was one of those things, you've got to suck it up and play," Snyder said. "I'm just glad it went quick and I didn't have to do much."
Um, but Chris, you caught nine innings and hit the game-winning home run.
"Really, there wasn't a whole lot of running, wasn't any plays at the plate, wasn't any drag bunts, quick game, didn't have to block many balls," he said. "It couldn't have happened better."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.