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Another present for mom

Tony Gwynn improved on the birthday present he gave his mother six years ago.

Gwynn became the 21st player in major-league history with 3,000 career hits when he singled Friday night in the first inning off Expos rookie Dan Smith.

Six years earlier, Gwynn got his 2,000th hit against Colorado's Bruce Ruffin on his mother Vendella's birthday.

"The relief that you feel is the first thing that hits you," Gwynn said. "I started getting emotional and boom! There's my mom."

As soon as the hit dropped in, Vendella, celebrating her 64th birthday, came onto to the field and embraced her son.

"To get 3,000 on my mom's birthday is a really special thing for me," Gwynn said. "I was hugging her and telling her, "Happy Birthday, Mom. This is for you.'

"She's gone from one end of the country to the end of another country to see this, and it means a lot having her here.

In addition to Vendella, the Gwynn support crew at the game included his wife, Alicia, daughter Anisha, his niece and agent. It was a significant drop from the 34 friends and family members who went to St. Louis Thursday in hopes of celebrating alongside Gwynn and another one of the game's icons, Mark McGwire.

After Gwynn scored and was back in the Padres dugout, Gwynn thought of his late father, and the tears started to well in his eyes again, "wishing my dad could have seen this," Gwynn said.

Milestone hits

NO. 1: July 19, 1982, vs. Philadelphia, Sid Monge, double.

NO. 1,000: April 22, 1988, vs. Houston, Nolan Ryan, single.

NO. 2,000: Aug. 6, 1993, vs. Colorado, Bruce Ruffin, single.

NO. 3,000: Aug. 6, 1999, at Montreal, Dan Smith, single.