The Padres walked to a 7-0 victory over a miserable Houston team, as young Mat Latos was brilliant over eight innings, allowing only singles to Carlos Lee and Pedro Feliz, no walks, and striking out nine batters.
The offense jumped on Houston starter Bud Norris, who continued a season-long trend of getting plenty of strikeouts but being too wild and inefficient to parlay that into any sort of success. Norris allowed homers to Scott Hairston and Chase Headley. Latos and David Eckstein chipped in with doubles off of Norris.
Hairston homered again and Latos doubled again off of fringy reliever Wilton Lopez later in the game. Headley, Eckstein, Latos, Hairston, and Will Venable all had two-hit games.
Meanwhile, the Giants ceded first place to the Padres, and now trail by half a game, thanks to a 6-4 loss to the Mets. Normally devastating Jonathan Sanchez was tagged for three homers, two by rookie first baseman Ike Davis. Rod Barajas connected for the other shot off Sanchez, and homered again off of ace reliever Sergio Romo to win the game.
(Weirdly enough, I have Sanchez on one of my fantasy teams, Romo on the other, and Davis on both. Is that a net win?)
The Padres now stand at 18-11; the Giants are 17-11. This is setting up to be an intriguing battle, and all five teams in the division are within 5 games of each other, as the last-place Dodgers are 13-16.