The Rangers haven't had much to smile about over the past few weeks, but Padilla changed that on Sunday. The players were able to head off to Sunday evening's Triple Play charity event and Monday's off-day feeling good for a change after Padilla threw a complete game, blanking the Twins, 10-0, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Milton Bradley, Jason Botts and Josh Hamilton all hit home runs for the Rangers as they were able to take two of three from the Twins in the wake of their recent seven-game losing streak. The Rangers, after playing 19 games in the last 18 days, are off on Monday before opening a three-game series with the Royals on Tuesday.
"This was the first game where we did everything we were supposed to do," Hamilton said. "We pitched great, played defense and turned some double plays. Offensively, we were relaxed. We had a good time in the dugout; we were having fun, and it carried over onto the field. Today, by my standards, was the best game we've played all year."
Padilla made it possible by throwing the first nine-inning shutout for the Rangers since Kenny Rogers beat the Twins on May 14, 2005, at the Metrodome. The last shutout for the Rangers by a right-hander was Ricardo Rodriguez on July 8, 2004, at Cleveland. The last Rangers right-hander to throw a shutout at The Ballpark was Rick Helling on July 29, 2001, against Tampa Bay.
"That's just what the doctor ordered," Washington said. "Vinny was pretty good today. He pitched off his fastball the whole game, and that's what he can do when he uses his fastball."
This was the first shutout for Padilla with the Rangers. He pitched two others with the Phillies -- one on May 10, 2002, against Arizona and the other on April 19, 2003, against the Braves. Padilla, who lasted just three innings in his last start in Detroit, is now 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA on the season.
"Not only the team but I needed this outing because of the way I pitched in Detroit," Padilla said. "I just tried to do what I can and what I know I can do. There was nothing different."
There were a few things different from the norm for the Rangers. Most notable was that they were 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position. The first at-bat with men on was the biggest of the afternoon.
Michael Young and Hamilton both singled with one out in the first inning and Bradley followed with his second home run of the season, a three-run shot into the right-field bleachers off Twins starter Livan Hernandez.
"It was nice to jump out on somebody and get a lead," catcher Gerald Laird said. "The good thing was, we kept scoring runs. Early [in games] we've been scoring some runs, but we haven't been able to add onto it."
The Rangers continued to pummel Hernandez, who suffered his first career loss against them. RBI singles by Ian Kinsler and Young and a sacrifice fly by Hamilton made it 6-0 in the second inning, and Botts hit a home run in the third.
Young started the fourth with his third straight hit, a double to right, and scored on a two-out triple by David Murphy. Laird's RBI single made it 9-0.
"The game starts getting out of whack, and it makes it easier for [Padilla] to throw the ball over the plate and take chances," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You can't put much pressure on him then -- can't run, can't do anything. Seven runs, you'd like to be able to run, drop a hit-and-run in there and see what you can do. He was picking up his leg slow in the game. [I] thought we can do some things here, but once it starts getting out of whack, you just have to hit. It's hard to do anything. He threw the ball good."
Young went 3-for-4 before leaving the game after six innings to protect his sore right calf. It's been a problem since the Rangers left Toronto, and this was the third time in the last six games that he was pulled out of a game before it was completed.
"I didn't see a reason for him to continue," Washington said. "I figured we could hold a 9-0 lead. If we can't hold a 9-0 lead, then we're in trouble."
Hamilton added a home run in the eighth inning to make it 10-0, giving him 27 RBIs for the season, the most in the American League. Padilla, backed by three double plays turned by his defense, finished it off from there.