Everything's going right for the San Diego Padres these days, and never was that more evident than Monday night.
Ruben Rivera, who entered the game after Reggie Sanders was ejected in the eighth inning, hit a two-out, three-run homer in the 10th to lift the San Diego Padres to a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Angels.
"It worked out all right, didn't it? Ruben came through," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said after his team won for the seventh time in nine games and the 22nd time in 28. "That was as clutch as it gets."
Sanders, called out on strikes three times by plate umpire Greg Kosc, was ejected after the final time, with one out and a runner at second in the eighth.
"It's not a bad replacement," Bochy said with a big smile. "Ruben's been playing very well lately, we think a lot of Ruben."
Sanders said he wouldn't comment on Kosc's calls, but was all smiles himself afterward.
"It seems like with this team whenever anybody fills in, he gets a hit," Sanders said. "It worked out, we got a win. That's what's important."
Phil Nevin began the winning rally with a leadoff double in the 10th. Ed Giovanola ran for Nevin and, after Quilvio Veras drew a one-out walk, Eric Owens grounded out to put runners at second and third, setting the stage for Rivera.
"I tried to make contact, I hit it good," Rivera said. "He threw me a fastball inside."
Rivera admitted he thought Kosc might call him out on a 2-2 pitch from Hasegawa that was deemed outside.
"I don't think it was a strike, but (Kosc) had called a lot of pitches like that strikes," Rivera said.
Dan Miceli (4-2), who pitched two scoreless innings, earned the victory. Trevor Hoffman, the third San Diego pitcher, pitched a perfect 10th with two strikeouts for his 24th save in 27 chances.
The game marked the return of San Diego's Tony Gwynn, who played for the first time sincJune 19 and went hitless in four at-bats with a walk.
Gwynn, who had missed 41 of the Padres' previous 48 games because of an injured left calf, wore special shoes without spikes to relieve pressure on his legs.
The eight-time NL batting champion served as San Diego's designated hitter in the interleague game, and remained 18 hits shy of 3,000 in his career.
"Good, no problems," Gwynn said when asked how it went. "The timing was real bad, it got better as the game went on. It was just good to be back out there."
"I didn't have any problems, I just hope it's OK tomorrow, and we'll try it again."
Gwynn said his biggest problem was nervousness.
"My first at-bat was like the first game I ever played in," he said. "I couldn't calm myself down. I'm glad we won, I wouldn't have wanted to slow our momentum."
The loss was the fourth straight for the Angels.
"My thoughts, they aren't good," Angels manager Terry Collins said. "It was a well-pitched game by Kenny Hill."
Hill, sidelined since June 30 with inflammation in his right elbow, blanked the Padres on three hits over six innings while walking two and striking out seven.
"Anybody can beat you in this game," Collins said, referring to Rivera, who had only two hits in his 12 at-bats since the All-Star break. "He's got a bat in his hand, you'd better fear him."
"I don't care who it is, and I don't care who the pitcher is. You've got to make the pitches, you've got to go up and get people out."
The Angels took a 1-0 lead off Matt Clement in the fourth when Randy Velarde hit a leadoff double, took third on Mo Vaughn's fly to right, and scored on a two-out, ground-rule double by Garret Anderson.
The Padres tied it off Mark Petkovsek in the eighth when Damian Jackson hit his second double of the game, took third on a sacrifice by Veras, and scored on an RBI single by Eric Owens.
Gwynn batted cleanup for the first time in his career, which began with the Padres in 1982.
Clement allowed seven hits and one run in seven innings while walking two and striking out five.
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