Diamondbacks drop home series to Padres
The Arizona Diamondbacks lost another game and another series at their home ballpark on Wednesday, falling 8-5 in the rubber match of a three-game set against the San Diego Padres.
With the defeat on a balmy, 94-degree evening at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks’ home record stands at 10-17. They have won just two of nine home games since A.J. Hinch was named manager in place of the fired Bob Melvin on May 8. For the season, the D-backs have played the most home games thus far of any team in the National League, but their favorable schedule hasn’t translated into an advantage.
In Wednesday’s contest, the Diamondbacks (20-27 overall) fell behind the Padres early as Adrian Gonzalez belted his major-league-leading 18 th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning off Arizona starter Billy Buckner (1-1, 7.16 ERA).
The Padres increased their advantage to 5-0 in the top of the sixth, when they collected three hits against Buckner and another off reliever Clay Zavada. After San Diego right fielder Brian Giles led off the frame with a triple, David Eckstein and Scott Hairston followed with singles. Zavada entered the game and allowed a base hit by Gonzalez and a sacrifice fly by Kevin Kouzmanoff. All three runs in the inning were charged to Buckner, who gave up a total of five runs on seven hits in his five-plus innings on the mound.
San Diego ace Jake Peavy (5-5, 3.67 ERA) allowed no runs on two hits over the first five innings, but the Diamondbacks broke through in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run triple by Justin Upton and an RBI single by Stephen Drew.
Arizona pulled to within 5-4 in the seventh when Ryan Roberts and Augie Ojeda delivered consecutive one-out singles off Peavy and Gerardo Parra drove in a run with a sacrifice fly against reliever Luke Gregerson.
The Padres (24-23) answered with three runs in the eighth inning on two hits, two errors and four walks. Diamondbacks right-hander Leo Rosales pitched to the first five batters in the inning and did not record an out, allowing a walk, a bunt single and three more walks. The bunt single by Hairston turned into a comedy of errors, as Rosales fielded the ball and threw it past first baseman Mark Reynolds and into foul territory adjacent to right field. The runners advanced two bases on Rosales’ throwing error, and they each moved up another base when Upton, who chased down the ball, fumbled it while trying to pick it up.
The Diamondbacks scored the game’s final run on a double by Ojeda and an RBI triple by Parra against San Diego reliever Greg Burke with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Padres manager Bud Black then called upon closer Heath Bell, who recorded his 14 th save (a total which leads the major leagues) by retiring Chris Young on a fly ball to deep right field.
San Diego batted around in the eighth inning of all three games in the series. The Padres scored five runs in the eighth inning Monday as they rallied from a 7-1 deficit and went on to win 9-7 in 10 innings. On Tuesday, the Arizona bullpen nearly squandered a six-run lead for the second consecutive game, as the Padres scored four times in the eighth inning. The Diamondbacks held on for a 6-5 victory.
The Padres sent nine batters to the plate in their three-run eighth inning in Wednesday’s game.
“That eighth inning wasn’t very kind to us this series,” Hinch said in his post-game press conference Wednesday. “To give them credit, when they scored, they scored multiple innings and multiple runs. We just had a hard time getting through later in the games.”
The Diamondbacks will remain at home for a four-game weekend series against the Atlanta Braves (23-23). The series opener on Thursday will feature a pitching matchup between Arizona’s Dan Haren (3-4, 2.57 ERA) and Atlanta’s Derek Lowe (6-2, 3.45).
By: Tom Kessler
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