LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. -- Four years ago, Jake Peavy, pitching for the Lake Elsinore Storm against the San Diego Padres, allowed five runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings in an exhibition game at The Diamond.

Peavy bounced back in his next outing with five hitless innings against Rancho Cucamonga in his California League debut. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Peavy returned to The Diamond on Saturday as the ace of the San Diego Padres' staff and the reigning National League ERA champion (2.27 in 2004).

And while he did give up three runs, a pair of home runs and six hits in four innings on Saturday, pitching coach Darren Balsley and manager Bruce Bochy pronounced Peavy -- slowed by a right groin problem -- ready to go in the Padres' home opener on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Padres' hitters appeared set for the season opener on Monday in Colorado as they banged out 20 hits, including three home runs, en route to a 15-4 victory over Lake Elsinore before 7,802 fans at The Diamond.

Sean Burroughs had four hits and Xavier Nady, Brian Giles and Mark Sweeney had three each.

Phil Nevin, Geoff Blum and Sweeney each hit homers for the Padres.

The Storm's George Kottaras and Brett Bonvechio each homered off Peavy, who pitched four innings, allowing three runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out five.

Balsley and Bochy were both left to give their takes on Peavy's performance as the right-hander had already headed back to San Diego at some point in the nearly 3 1/2-hour game.

"He's fine, a little off on his location," said Bochy. "But he had good stuff. He felt good, his groin was fine. He wasn't quite hitting his spots like he normally does, but he's ready."

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"He threw 65 pitches during the game," said Balsley, "and then we had him throw 15 more in the bullpen after he left [the game]. He got through that outing without re-tweaking his groin.

"He felt good, his arm felt good," Balsley added. "He's ready to go. And he was pleased that he got through today without anything happening."

Balsley said that Peavy didn't say anything about the hard drive hit right back at him by Steve Baker in the first inning.

"That's why having him pitch in a real game is better than a simulated game," Balsley said. "You have baseball situations out there. He's going to run a little hard, he's going to back up his bases and he's going to put a little more effort into it.

"When he opens, he may go 90-95 pitches or so, but not much more," Balsley said.

Peavy was followed on the mound by Rudy Seanez, Scott Linebrink, Akinori Otsuka, Chris Hammond and Dennys Reyes, each of whom pitched an inning.

Only Reyes struggled, as he gave up a run on two hits and two walks and two strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth.

Baker, Peete Ramos and Fernando Valenzuela had two hits apiece for the Storm, which had 10 hits on the day.

Brian Lawrence, who made the trip, will pitch a simulated game on Sunday at PETCO Park before the Padres head for Colorado for Monday's opener.