D-backs’ rally comes up short in loss to Padres

PHOENIX (AP) — Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson rarely visits the mound if he’s not about to remove a pitcher from the game.

For 21-year-old left-hander Tyler Skaggs, Gibson made an exception.

“He learned some things today,” Gibson

said of Skaggs, who allowed four runs in five innings as the

D-backs lost to the Padres on Thursday afternoon.

Skaggs put runners on first and second

with one out in the fifth and the bullpen phone could be heard

throughout the park as Gibson made the walk to the mound. Except he

never motioned to the bullpen.

“When I went out I told him, ‘You are

going to stay in the game. Let’s take a breather and get your composure.

It is time to make some pitches,'” Gibson said. “He got out of the

inning. I feel that at this point in his career that’s what he needed to

do and he did it.”

Skaggs, who reached the fifth inning for only the second time in his past three outings, walked three and struck out two.

“It might not look like it but I am

(learning something every time),” Skaggs said. “Mostly it’s getting

ahead of batters. You’ve got to get ahead. Once I get ahead I’m fine.

When I start falling behind 2-0 it is tough getting big league hitters


Eaton hit his first career home run,

Hill also homered and Justin Upton was a home run short of the cycle for

the Diamondbacks, who had their three-game willing streak snapped.

Arizona fell 5 1/2 games behind St. Louis in the NL wild-card race with 13 games to play.

“I am not that patient of a person,” Skaggs said. “I

want results now. It’s tough because I want to win and we are in a

pennant race here, trying to get the wild-card spot and it’s costing us

games. I’ve got to be better.”

The D-backs offense nearly got Skaggs off the hook in the ninth.

Luke Gregerson took the mound at the start of the inning looking for his ninth.

Chris Johnson singled to left for his

third hit to lead off the inning and pinch-hitter Ryan Wheeler hit what

looked to be a double-play grounder to second.

However, Logan Forsythe dropped the

ball as he ran toward the base and then extended his left leg toward the

bag as he lay prone on his stomach reaching for the ball. Johnson

appeared on replay to push Forsythe’s foot into the base on his slide

but second-base umpire Doug Eddings called Johnson safe.

Then the parade from the bullpen began.

Joe Thatcher came on and walked

pinch-hitter Jason Kubel to load the bases. Nick Vincent was next and

retired Mike Jacobs on a soft foul popup to third before giving way to

Tommy Layne.

With the infield drawn in, Adam Eaton

hit a grounder to second, and Forsythe threw home to force Johnson.

Black went back to the bullpen for the fifth time in as many plate

appearances and brought on Bass, the Padres’ eighth pitcher of the game,

who needed only four pitches to retire Hill.

“All things considered, we battled

back,” Gibson said. “You get the bases loaded and nobody out in the

ninth, you expect to at least tie the game up. We had three

opportunities and were unable to do it, so that part was disappointing.”

Jesus Guzman homered and Clayton

Richard went six efficient but turbulent innings as the Padres snapped a

two-game losing streak.

Richard (14-12) allowed four runs and

eight hits in six innings to raise his career record against the D-backs to

6-0 — including three wins in three starts at Chase Field over the past

10 weeks. He struck out three and walked one.

Skaggs walked Chase Headley with two

outs in the first, Yasmani Grandal singled and Guzman homered into the

first row of the left-field stands to give the Padres a 3-0 lead.

“He gets an 0-2 count on Guzman then he

tries to waste a fastball and throws it right where he doesn’t want

it,” said Gibson. “That is a live and learn deal.

He struggled.”

Hill homered with one out in the bottom

of the first to make it 3-1 but the Padres came right back in the

second when Forsythe doubled home Richard, who had reached on a

fielder’s choice.

Johnson pulled Arizona to 4-2 with an RBI single in the fourth to score Upton, who had led off the inning with a double.

Chris Denorfia and Headley hit run-scoring doubles off Brad Bergesen in the sixth to extend San Diego’s lead to 6-2.

Upton tripled leading off the sixth and

scored on a Paul Goldschmidt single to right. Goldschmidt went to

second on a wild pitch and scored on a single to left by Johnson to make

it 6-4.

Eaton, who on Wednesday hit his first

career triple and recorded his first RBI, hit a two-out homer in the

seventh off Brad Brach to cut the lead to 6-5.

“It’s kind of a mental check mark to

get out of the way,” Eaton said. “From when my experience when you get

up here you look forward to those things and to get them out of the way

so you can feel more comfortable.”

NOTES: Richard struck out the side in the third on 10 pitches for his only three strikeouts and threw only 79 pitches total, his fewest in a win this season. … Upton has seven extra-base hits in his past five games after hitting just five in his previous 25. … Padres LF Carlos Quentin, who came out of Wednesday night’s game with discomfort in his surgically repaired right knee, was held out of the lineup on Thursday and is day-to-day. … Diamondbacks C Miguel Montero extended his franchise record with his 18th consecutive start. … RHP Casey Kelly (2-1) will take the mound Friday for the Padres against San Francisco RHP Ryan Vogelsong (12-9). The Diamondbacks open a four-game wraparound series in Colorado with LHP Wade Miley (15-10) pitching against Rockies LHP Drew Pomeranz (1-9).