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PHI@SD: Luebke hurls eight scoreless innings in win

SAN DIEGO -- By title only, Cory Luebke is designated as a starting pitcher in the Padres rotation, though on Saturday his team desperately needed him to be something else.

A stopper.

For the second time in this young season filled with more missteps and frustration than elation, Luebke stopped a four-game losing skid, this time as the Padres defeated the Phillies, 5-1, before a crowd of 31,437 at Petco Park.

"He's learning every start," Padres manager Bud Black said of Luebke. "Remember, we're talking about a guy with limited service time."

Better still, Luebke outpitched the Phillies' pitcher Roy Halladay and the margin wasn't close at all. The left-hander, who in March signed a contract extension with the team that could keep him in San Diego through 2017 became the first Padres pitcher to go eight innings this season, allowing no runs on two hits.

"I hate to say it because it's so early in his career, but that's a big game," Headley said of Luebke, who made his 24th career start on Saturday.

"It's not a playoff game, but we needed a really good pitching performance going up against that guy."

That guy, of course, was Halladay (3-1), who allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings. He walked three consecutive hitters in the second inning, a first in his career. That led to a run.

One inning later, Halladay allowed three consecutive two-out hits, the last being a run-scoring double by Yonder Alonso that made it a 2-0 lead for the Padres.

"He's a great pitcher who has a lot of history," Alonso said of Halladay. "He's a guy I can talk to my kids about [someday] and say I had a double and an RBI and a walk against him."

The victory by the Padres (4-12) snapped a 13-game losing streak to the Phillies at Petco Park, a streak that dated all the way back to August 8, 2008.

A lot of it had to do with Luebke's left arm, as he struck out five and allowed just two walks. Since he struggled in his first start of the season against the Dodgers, Luebke is 2-0 with a 0.89 ERA in his last three starts -- and the last two wins have halted lengthy losing streaks.

"He was aggressive," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said about Luebke. "He definitely used his fastball. We didn't hit too many balls hard. We hit probably about three or four balls hard."

Luebke (2-1) retired the first seven hitters he faced and was still holding his stuff later in the game. His eight-pitch seventh inning afforded him one more inning, and saved a bullpen that has already been worked hard in a difficult start to the season.

"It's been frustrating for all of us," Luebke said.

It wasn't on Saturday, especially after the Padres pieced together three consecutive walks in that second inning against Halladay -- with Alonso, Cameron Maybin and Jason Bartlett all taking free passes. But don't get the idea that Halladay was struggling mightily with his command, Black said.

"We had good at-bats throughout the night. I like the way our guys showed focus and concentration," Black said. "Roy's never erratic. It seems like the last few years he's been on his game. We saw some good takes all the way through the lineup, and we didn't expand the zone."

The first run for the Padres came before their first hit, as Orlando Hudson knocked in a run with a groundball out. One inning later, the Padres made it 2-0 on Alonso's opposite-field double, the third successive hit in the inning after Halladay retired the first two batters.

"We were battling the whole time, grinding at-bats out," Alonso said. "When we came back from Spring Training, that's what we saw a lot of."

The Padres scored three times in the eighth inning with Bartlett contributing an RBI double, Hudson an RBI triple and Jesus Guzman a run-scoring single, as the Padres scored five runs for only the second time in their last seven games.

"It's great to see the results against a solid team," Black said of the Phillies, who fell to 7-8. Comments