PHOENIX (AP) — Some base-running issues, an RBI single just off the third baseman’s glove, an outfield error and one fat ninth-inning fastball.
Those were the plays the San Diego Padres were lamenting after a 7-5 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night.
Arizona won it on A.J. Pollock’s two-out, two-run homer in the ninth.
The Diamondbacks are creeping up on San Diego in their effort to climb out of the NL West basement. With two games left in the series, the Padres are just 2 1/2 games up on Arizona.
“Great game, no doubt about that,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “High intensity on both ends. We got back in the game after 2-nothing with a big inning. They bounced back, we bounced back with a home run. … They got the last at-bat and put a good swing on a high fastball. “
It was the first game-ending homer of Pollock’s career.
Cliff Pennington was hit by a pitch and pinch-hitter Eric Chavez hit into a fielder’s choice ahead of Pollock’s soaring homer to center off Kevin Quackenbush (0-1).
Pollock said the pitch “was probably a little out of the zone, but I just wanted to be aggressive.”
Yonder Alonso homered and Everth Cabrera launched a three-run shot off Arizona starter Brandon McCarthy in the fifth inning to give San Diego a 4-2 lead.
Martin Prado doubled in a run and singled for the Diamondbacks, just back from a 2-4 road trip and opening a seven-game home stand.
Brad Ziegler (1-1) pitched two scoreless innings to get the win.
The Diamondbacks went up 2-0 in the second when Prado singled softly up the middle and Cody Ross reached on a bloop hit to short right. With two outs, Pennington singled off third baseman Chase Headley’s glove to bring in one run, and another scored when center fielder Alexi Amarista didn’t pick up the ball cleanly.
“I have probably watched that play 15 times. It was just perfectly placed,” Headley said. “If there is not a guy on third or if there were two strikes I could sit back a bit and cheat over, but he is a guy who will drop a bunt down so you have to stay close enough to the line so you can play the bunt. A centimeter closer and I catch it and make the play.”
McCarthy blanked the Padres through four, but just after the Chase Field roof opened Alonso hit the first pitch of the fifth inning into the swimming pool area in right. After two outs, Amarista and Tyson Ross singled, and Cabrera homered just inside the right field foul pole.
Ross, San Diego’s starter, couldn’t hold the lead, facing five batters without an out in Arizona’s three-run sixth. Pollock singled, then Gerardo Parra reached on a bunt. Paul Goldschmidt singled in a run, Miguel Montero singled home another and Prado barely missed a home run with a double into the cranny next to the Arizona bullpen, putting the Diamondbacks ahead 5-4 and ending Ross’ night.
The lead didn’t last long. McCarthy retired the first two in the seventh but was yanked after pinch-hitter Tommy Medica doubled. Lefty Joe Thatcher came on and allowed an RBI double to Cabrera and it was 5-5.
Each manager challenged a call and both were rejected. Black challenged one in the fourth when Seth Smith tried to stretch a double into a triple and was called out on an extremely close play.
Gibson challenged a safe call on an attempted pickoff of Headley in the eighth.
With two outs in the eighth Jedd Gyorko singled and was easily thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double, perhaps too big a risk in a tie game.
“You can second-guess that with all you want,” Black said. “He was trying to get to second base. As it turned out, ill-advised. If he is safe you are probably saying `aggressive play, nice going Jedd.’”
NOTES: The Diamondbacks said day-of-game ticket sales totaled 5,563, the largest at Chase since August 2008. … In the second game of the series Tuesday, San Diego sends Eric Stults (2-5, 4.97 ERA) to the mound, while Arizona goes with Wade Miley (3-5, 4.85). … McCarthy leads the Diamondbacks in homers allowed (11). … The Padres opened a six-game road trip with their first game at Arizona.