SAN DIEGO — For one day at least, Bip Roberts wasn't missed.
Before the Padres met the Atlanta Braves Sunday at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, they announced that Roberts had been placed on the 15-day disabled list and would undergo arthroscopic surgery today on his left knee. He might be out for the season.
To fill in, the Padres sent to Las Vegas for Paul Faries and hoped for the best from a rookie who was hitting .165 when they demoted him on July 25. He met the challenge, playing a key role in a 2-1 victory that sent the Padres into third place and within 7 1/2 games of the leading Dodgers in the National League West.
Faries was outstanding as the Padres won in front of 15,066 and finished their longest home stand of the year with a 6-4 record.
First, Faries treated left-hander Tom Glavine like anything but a 15-game winner who might win the Cy Young Award. Faries singled in the third inning and doubled in the fifth, and his hits were instrumental in producing the two San Diego runs.
Meanwhile, the surging Andy Benes was outpitching Glavine. Benes has transformed his record from 4-10 to 8-10. And when Benes needed help from his defense, Faries was there.
In the seventh inning, with two out and Brian Hunter on third base after hitting the first of his two doubles, Faries ranged behind second base to rob pinch-hitter Lonnie Smith of a hit that would have tied the score.
In the eighth, with two out and pinch-runner Mark Lemke on first, Faries went into short center field and made an over-the-shoulder catch of Ron Gant's looping fly. By that time, Craig Lefferts was pitching, having relieved Benes with one out.
In the ninth, after Hunter had hit another double with two out, Larry Andersen replaced Lefferts. On what turned out to be Andersen's only pitch, Faries fielded Greg Olson's sharply hit grounder on a short hop and threw to first for the game-ending out.
Afterward, Faries said, "I was excited to be back, but I just tried to approach it like any other game. I made up my mind not to try to do too much."
As it turned out, Faries did so much that Manager Greg Riddoch said, "You couldn't have asked for more than Paul did for us today. Right down to the last play, which was a real tough one to handle."
As pleased as he was, however, Riddoch had no illusions about the seriousness of the loss of Roberts. Faries essentially is untried, and the Padres have no viable candidate to take Roberts' place as their leadoff man. Shortstop Tony Fernandez led off Sunday, but he is basically a No. 2 hitter.
"To be honest, I don't know what our plans are for the leadoff spot," Riddoch said. "I may use Fernandez against right-handers (he led off against a left-hander Sunday) and Darrin Jackson or Thomas Howard against left-handers.
"Whatever we do, we can't really replace Bip. He's by far a better leadoff man than anyone else we've got."
As for the gap at second base, Faries figures to share the duty with Tim Teufel, who Riddoch said would flip-flop between second and third. Under this setup, Jack Howell would play third and Teufel or Faries second against right-handers; Teufel third and Faries second against left-handers, as was the case Sunday.
Roberts was hurt when he was caught in a rundown Friday night. His injury was diagnosed as torn cartilage. No estimate of the length of his absence will be made until after the operation, but it is highly unlikely that he will play again this year.
Faries got the news that he had been called up from Las Vegas in the 10th inning Saturday night. He was taken out at that point so he could catch a 2:45 a.m. flight.
"I didn't get to sleep until 5 and I got up at 9," he said. "I ought to try that more often."
Not only did Faries have a hand in both Padre runs, so did Benes.
In the third, Faries' single sent Jerald Clark to third, and Clark scored as Benes hit into a double play. In the fifth, Faries doubled with two out, then Benes walked and Fernandez broke the 1-1 tie with a single up the middle off second baseman Jeff Treadway's glove.
Glavine felt that walking Benes, a .045 hitter, was the slip that beat him.
"I tried to aim the ball," Glavine said. "That got me out of my rhythm."
Benes, who threw 118 pitches in 7 1/3 innings, attributed his continued success primarily to increased velocity on his fastball.
"My fastball had been OK, but today it was different," Benes said. "I really let it fly."
Padre Attendance Sunday: 15,066 1991 (60 dates): 1,466,444 1990 (60 dates): 1,466,465 Decrease: 21 1991 average: 24,441