SAN DIEGO — Eleven feet. It might as well have been a mile.
Yonder Alonso’s fly ball to deep right-center field Friday would have struck the auxiliary scoreboard and bounded back into play in every game at Petco Park in every year from 2004-12.
After renovations, the ball easily cleared the new fence in front of the Jack Daniels party patio for a two-run home run, a blow that seemed to change the game’s momentum and propelled the Padres to a 7-6 victory that extended the Diamondbacks’ losing streak to four games.
The blow gave the Padres a 4-3 lead, and they added enough tack-on runs to withstand Gerardo Parra’s three-run homer to center field with two outs in the top of the ninth inning.
“I don’t know how much it’s helped them, but apparently it did tonight,” said D-backs right fielder Cody Ross of the new Petco configuration, which was designed to make the pitcher-friendly park play more neutral.
So Petco Park is now a hitter’s park, although the Padres still are playing catch-up. They have two homers at the new distance while opponents have four.
Ross could not have gotten to the ball, which was measured at 397. The old fence angled out to 402 feet at about the spot where Alonso’s ball disappeared, but it would have been at best a game-tying double.
“It’s just the way the ball rolls some times,” said Ross, who has plenty of experience at the old Petco from his time with the Giants in 2010-11.
“The only thing we can do is try to use it to our advantage tomorrow.”
Others have. The Rockies’ Todd Helton beat the Padres with a home run to right on April 14 to break a tie at 1 in the seventh inning.
Alonso’s homer was his fourth, and it came on a 2-2 pitch from Wade Miley (3-1), who had command issues for the second straight start while giving up four runs on nine hits and three walks in five innings.
“It’s what it is,” D-backs catcher Miguel Montero said. “Probably off the wall in this place last year, but realistically, in any other place the ball is gone. That ball deserved to be hit out. He hit the ball good. It was just a bad pitch, and bad pitches deserve to be hit like that.”
Montero had his first two-hit game since April 7, and the ball he hit for his second homer of the season would have left Petco Park at all times. Montero drove a 1-0 pitch from starter Jason Marquis over the left-center-field fence, and his single to left field started the D-backs’ ninth. He also walked and scored in the fourth. His batting average is .208, but he still has produced 11 RBIs, tied for third on the team with hot-hitting Eric Chavez.
“Finally. It’s a good feeling to get two hits. Like they say, it’s early. Obviously I didn’t feel good about it early, because I was expecting a lot more from me. Maybe I was putting a little too much pressure on myself, trying to do too much. But I felt good today, and hopefully it remains like that.”
But “pretty much it meant nothing” because of the loss, Montero said.
Miley has walked 10 in 9 1/3 innings in his last two starts, quite uncharacteristic based on last season, when he had only 37 walks in 194 2/3 innings and averaged less than two walks every nine innings while going 16-11. He said he was “battling a little bit. You are not gong to have your best stuff every time.”
Gibson acknowledged as much.
“His velocity was down. A little concerned about that. He said he felt fine, unable to locate as well as he wanted to.”
Added Montero: “He is leaving a lot of balls up and over the plate. Falling behind. And that’s not typical Wade.
“I don’t know if he’s throwing the ball or guiding the ball. It like when he throws it, he throws it harder and he throws it better. Today, he was probably trying to make a perfect pitch. He’s not that type of guy. I don’t know if he is overtthinking it, trying to make great pitches.”