SAN DIEGO (Ticker) --
is pitching like a changed man.
Valdez scattered four hits over eight brilliant innings and
hit a two-run homer to lift the
San Diego Padres
to a 3-0 victory over the
Without a winning record since going 11-10 in 1998 for the
Los Angeles Dodgers
, Valdez changed the spelling of his last name from Valdes in the offseason.
The new Valdez (3-0) certainly looks different as he won his third straight start. He limited baseball's most anemic offense to two singles and a pair of doubles, striking out two without a walk.
"That was very impressive," Padres manager
said. "He had all of his stuff working and great command. He's done a great job since he's been in the rotation. He located his fastball very well, had a very good changeup and a good breaking ball. He just mixed it up and did a great job of pitching." Valdez changed roles too this season, starting out the year in the bullpen before getting a spot in the rotation when
went down with a ribcage injury.
"I'm very happy to help the team any way I can, out of the pen or from the starting rotation, Valdez said. "There's no doubt in my mind that
would do the same thing. I think tonight pretty much everything was working well for me."
worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save.
"It's hard to judge an opposing pitcher the way we're going, Expos manager
said. "Everybody who goes out there against us looks good."
Loretta gave Valdez all the offense he needed in the bottom of the first with his fourth homer of the season. He has hit safely in 19 of 21 games this season.
"I was battling there 2-2, and he threw an inside fastball for a strike and I was able to get the barrel on it," Loretta said.
(1-2) gave up three runs and seven hits before leaving with two outs in the sixth with a strained right groin. He walked one and matched a career high with eight strikeouts.
Patterson settled down after Loretta's homer, retiring the next nine batters.
"What more can you ask your pitchers to do?" lamented Robinson. "There is nothing more they can do.(Patterson) just made one mistake tonight on the pitch to Loretta. We're asking our pitchers to be perfect, but they're not going to be perfect.
Montreal was shut out for the sixth time this season and has scored just 36 runs in 21 games.
"I'll take anybody that can hit anything," Robinson said.
"It's still a big-league team," Valdez said. "They've got experience, and unfortunately they're going through a hard time right now, but I think they're gonna get better. Hopefully not against us."