Cory Luebke is quickly establishing himself as the Padres best pitcher. Less than a week ago against the Rockies, Luebke helped the Padres to their third win of the season. Tonight, he helped them to their fourth. With the team clearly on the ropes, in danger of dropping to ten games under .500, and desperately searching for a win, Luebke gave the Padres all he had.
The match-up, featuring a likely future Hall of Famer in Roy Halladay, did not bode well for San Diego. Halladay had been dominant this season, already with three wins and a 1.90 ERA. The Padres, on the other hand, have struggled to score runs as it was. Their only hope was that young Cory Luebke could out-duel the Cy Young award winner. And he did.
Luebke pitched eight innings of shut-out baseball. He struck out five, allowed just two hits, and walked only two. He may have been left in for the ninth for a shot at a complete game had Bud Black known the Padres would have exploded for three runs in the eighth. As it stood though, the Padres were clinging to a 2-0 lead, and Huston Street needed some work.
Street came after the Padres knocked around Phillies relieve Michael Stutes for three insurance runs. It was no longer a save situation, and as often is the case, Street wasn’t as dominant. He got the Padres out of there with the win, but he allowed a run on a walk and a hit in the inning.
San Diego scored their first two runs off Roy Halladay. Their first run of the game came after Halladay had walked three straight Padres batters. It was the first time in Halladay’s career that he walked three straight batters. The Padres managed only one run in the inning, but they came back the very next inning and scored another on a Yonder Alonso double.
Despite the five runs, Cory Luebke was the real story of the game. His two-seam fastball had a lot of movement on it. His command was impeccable. He was dominant. Luebke is now 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA. His only bad start was his first of the season. The Padres’ front office has to be please with the performance as Luebke represents one of three Padres to get long-term contract extensions this year.