SAN DIEGO — Late Night with the Padres Saturday evening included a phone call to Las Vegas, plane tickets and clubhouse reservations for two in time for Sunday afternoon.
Rob Nelson and Jerald Clark were going to play baseball anyway Sunday, but Saturday night they found out they were going to play in San Diego, not triple-A baseball in Las Vegas.
To make room, the Padres sent shortstop Gary Green to Las Vegas and placed John Kruk (hip pointer) on the 15-day disabled list. They purchased the contract of first baseman Nelson from Las Vegas and recalled outfielder Clark.
Both were in Sunday's lineup as the Padres won their second game in a row, 3-1, over Pittsburgh in front of 28,592 at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
Jack Clark was moved to right field. Those not in the lineup, besides the hobbled Kruk, were Carmelo Martinez and, for the second consecutive game, Benito Santiago.
But Manager Jack McKeon said Sunday's lineup was just that--Sunday's lineup. He said he didn't plan to use a similar lineup Tuesday in St. Louis--but he didn't say he wouldn't, either.
"Santiago is my catcher," he said. "As for the other guys, I'll have to sleep on it. I'll decide Tuesday. The lineup isn't etched in stone. Who knows? Someone might get hot and keep someone else out of there."
The Padres got their offensive punch Sunday against Pittsburgh's Neal Heaton from another youngster--one with a fat lower lip who sat down to a bowl of cornflakes for Sunday morning breakfast.
And it was old reliable, Mark Davis, who gave the Padres the pop to finish off Pittsburgh. Davis collected his 13th save in 13 opportunities.
Second-year second baseman Roberto Alomar became the second Padre in as many games to account for all of his team's runs. Alomar doubled in the fifth, driving home Nelson and Mark Parent, and homered in the eighth. Parent drove in all four runs Saturday after starting in place of Santiago.
Alomar, who fouled a pitch off his lip earlier in the week and still has six stitches and a lot of swelling to prove it, was put on track by batting coach Amos Otis, who had a talk with Alomar before his at-bat in the fifth.
"He told me to stride into the pitch and use my hands," Alomar said. "I was trying for quick hands--trying to use my hands instead of my body."
It worked for Alomar, who still feels funny because his sore mouth prevented him from eating anything more solid that cornflakes.
"I don't feel weak, but I don't feel like I used to feel," he said.
Davis came on with one out in the ninth after starter Ed Whitson (5-2) allowed consecutive singles to Benny Distefano and pinch-hitter John Cangelosi. Davis struck out pinch-hitters Gary Redus and Rey Quinones to wrap things up.
Whitson allowed 10 hits, one of which was a home run by R.J. Reynolds to lead off the fourth inning. Whitson's earned-run average dropped to a nifty 2.18--he was ninth in the National League entering the game.
The victory cushioned the Padres' fall during a disappointing home stand in which they went 3-4. But that was much better than what could have been. They slumbered to a 1-4 start this week, and McKeon hinted at possible lineup changes.
McKeon decided to put Kruk on the disabled list after watching Kruk walk, or at least attempt to walk, Saturday. And as long as McKeon was making that move, he decided to try to fix the lethargic offense--10th in the National League with a .234 batting average entering Sunday's game--with a couple of new bats.
So a call went out for Nelson, hitting .320 with seven homers and 17 runs batted in, and Clark, .303 with three home runs and 18 RBIs.
Both were told of their recalls by Steve Smith, Las Vegas manager. Their plane left Las Vegas at 9:30 a.m. Sunday and arrived in San Diego an hour later. They went straight to the park and learned they were in the lineup.
"Yeah, I was surprised about that at first," the left-handed-hitting Nelson said. "I looked in the morning paper and saw Heaton (a left-hander) was pitching. But I got here and Jack said, 'You're in there.' "
So, given the new-look lineup, how would you figure this game would begin? Barry Bonds sent a hard grounder down the first-base line, which Nelson dived for, grabbed and flipped to Whitson covering first.
Nelson went one for three and made another slick fielding play in the sixth, when he fielded a grounder by Distefano to start a double play.
Clark was hitless in three at-bats but hit a couple of balls hard.
Nelson and Clark are both more potent threats at the plate than Green, who was hitting .176 in nine games.
"Salazar, Bip (Roberts) or (Tim) Flannery can all play shortstop," McKeon said. "This way, we've got plenty of flexibility. We told Green up front that he wasn't getting to play much behind (Garry) Templeton and that we wanted him to go down, play and be ready."
While Green was optioned to Las Vegas, Martinez (.172 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 31 games) was optioned to the bench for a day.