Williams outduels Webb; Hoffman records 477th career saveSep 22, 2006 - 4:34 AM SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- The San Diego Padres showed Brandon Webb that at this stage of the season, individual accolades are no match for team goals.
Woody Williams worked into the sixth inning and Mike Cameron delivered an early two-run triple as the Padres posted a much-needed 3-1 triumph over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Trevor Hoffman picked up his 477th career save for San Diego (80-72), which maintained its slim lead in the National League West Division over the Los Angeles Dodgers (80-73), who sit one-half game off the pace.
"It's just important to try to win as many ballgames as we can," Cameron said. "We know (Webb) can put up zeros, so we just tried to get something going. We got a couple of runs against him and that turned out to be the key factor of the game today."
One of the favorites for the NL Cy Young Award, Webb (16-7) was coming off back-to-back complete games and entered 2-0 with a 3.80 ERA against San Diego this season. He did not pitch poorly Thursday but ultimately was bested by a team that desperately needed to avoid its third loss in four games.
"(Webb) is having a great year and you know you have your work cut out when you're going against him," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "You figure it's going to be a tight ballgame, which it was. We got the big hit that we were missing yesterday, but we got it today."
"It was a stretch to send him back out there (for the seventh)," Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. "I wanted to try to get him back out there and get another inning and give him another chance (to get a win)."
Among the Padres who rose to the occasion was Williams (10-5), who yielded only an unearned run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. The veteran righthander walked one and struck out three to improve to 6-1 with a 2.92 ERA in his last eight starts.
"I wasn't that sharp. They hit a lot of balls hard early in the game," Williams said. "We were able to score some runs early and that was big because I was able to attack them a little more." "He's done a great job all year and he came through again for us," Bochy added. "His last few starts have been big ones, and he's really delivered big-time for us."
The Padres' offense came in the second inning, when Mike Piazza led off with a single and Russell Branyan drew a walk from Webb. Cameron followed with a shot into the left-center field gap that easily plated both runners.
"It was just a fastball that was up as it got over (the plate) and he got a good piece of it," Webb said. "After that I felt fine, and I got on top of the ball and was more down in the zone."
Geoff Blum delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0. But that was all the offense the Padres got against Webb, who was charged with three runs and five hits in seven innings.
"For some reason, that whole (second) inning, I think I was flat," Webb said. "It seemed like most of the pitches were up. That (pitch to Cameron) was definitely up, and one of the ones I'd like to have back."
Arizona finally got to Williams in the sixth on rookie Conor Jackson's RBI single. However, relief sensation Cla Meredith came on to get the final out of the frame and also logged a perfect seventh.
Scott Linebrink cruised through the eighth and Hoffman worked around a one-out walk in the ninth to move within one save of Lee Smith's all-time record.
"The focus is what this means to the ballclub," said Hoffman, who leads the NL with 41 saves. "It's a dog fight and these games are much more important to win than getting a save."
Hoffman converted both of his save opportunities in the series after blowing an opportunity in Monday's 11-10 defeat against the Dodgers.
"It's going to be a big moment for all of us and I'm sure for him," Bochy said. "Hopefully, he can do it here at home."
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