SAN DIEGO (AP) — A fine performance by Eric Stults was done in by one poor pitch.
Stults gave up a two-run homer in the sixth inning to Miguel Montero, and the San Diego Padres lost 3-1 to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.
“Like any pitcher, there are a couple pitches that usually in a course of a game that are critical, and that was one,” Padres manager Bud Black said.
Montero’s homer helped the Diamondbacks move out of last place in the NL West.
Arizona started the season 8-22. With the win, the Diamondbacks moved percentage points ahead of the Padres in the standings.
Josh Collmenter (6-5) pitched 5 1-3 innings, giving up one run and five hits as Arizona won consecutive games for the first time since June 7-8 against Atlanta.
Addison Reed worked the ninth inning for his 19th save in 22 chances. The Padres were stifled by four Arizona relievers has they held them without a hit or a fun the final 3 2-3 innings.
Stults (2-11) became the majors’ leader in losses, with an NL-high 5.36 ERA. He also went 5 1-3 innings and yielded three runs – two earned – while giving up just three hits. Stults walked three for the second straight game and stuck out two in losing his career-high sixth consecutive start.
“I think he threw the ball well,” Padres catcher Rene Rivera said. “It was like the Stulzy in the last outing. He was spotting his fastball, his breaking ball was good, his changeup was good.
“On the pitch to Montero, the pitch was down but Montero got out in front of it,” he said.
Montero’s 11th home run came off Stults’ low, 80 mph changeup. Paul Goldschmidt was aboard after walking and reaching second on a botched double-play attempt.
Martin Prado grounded to Chase Headley, but his throw to second baseman Alexi Amarista was high, with Goldschmidt being safe. Amarista retired Prado at first, a play which was challenged by Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson but upheld.
“Unfortunately, it cost us at least one run,” Headley said. “Who knows what would have happened if we turn that double play, if Montero still hits that home run.”
When Stults hit Cody Ross, the batter following Montero, he was pulled in favor of Alex Torres. Torres prevented further damage by getting Gerardo Parra and Collmenter on grounders to first base.
Matt Stites relieved Collmenter in the sixth inning, and walked Cameron Maybin to load the bases with two outs. But Rivera, who had two hits, struck out.
The Diamondbacks tied the score in the third inning, thanks in part to an error by Rivera. Ender Inciarte singled and stole second, advancing to third when Rivera’s throw was off line. Inciarte scored on Prado’s one-out sacrifice fly.
Tommy Medica drove in the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly in a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Chris Denorfia opened the inning with a double and took third on Seth Smith’s grounder to first base.
The Padres threatened in the fifth inning when Rivera led off with a single and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Everth Cabrera. But Amarista flied out and Stults struck out.
And Stults was stuck with another loss.
“He’s pitching better than he used to be at the beginning of the season,” Rivera said. “He’s throwing the ball well but he is coming up short every start.
“Hopefully, next start we can get some runs support and he can wins some games,” Rivera added.
NOTES: Diamondbacks SS Chris Owings remains out of the lineup with a sore left shoulder. Owings is expected to have it examined on Monday. . OF Mark Trumbo has started to run the bases in his comeback from a broken left foot. . Gibson had no update on when RHP Bronson Arroyo (sprained right elbow) would return. . Padres OF Carlos Quentin (sore left shoulder) is likely unavailable until next week. . RHP Andrew Cashner (sore right shoulder) has yet to resume throwing. . The Padres had gone eight straight games without allowing a home run before Montero’s two-run blast. . Diamondbacks RHP Michael Bolsinger (1-3, 4.78) faces Padres RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (1-0, 0.00) in Sunday’s series finale.