SAN DIEGO (AP) Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne didn’t let manager Bud Black down.
”You feel comfortable with him,” Black said. ”You know you are going to get a workmanlike outing.”
Despaigne, throwing various speed from different angles, worked over the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday in a 5-1 win. Despaigne (1-0) allowed one run, two hits, two walks and one hit batter.
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He struck out three and at one point retired 10 straight batters. He was starting for the first time this season in place of the injured Ian Kennedy.
”It felt good,” the Cuban Despaigne said through an interpreter. ”I threw a strike on the first pitch and that set the tone for the game.”
Jeremy Hellickson (0-2), who settled down after a rocky first inning, lost in his first start at Petco Park.
”I definitely have to be more efficient and attack in the first couple of innings,” Hellickson said.
Despaigne was effective at Petco last year and proved it again against the Diamondbacks. Last season he was 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA in eight home starts.
His velocity on Tuesday ranged from in the 60s to the 90s as he kept Arizona guessing at what would come next. Among the mysteries during the Padres’ spring training was which pitcher would win the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
Brandon Morrow edged Despaigne for that role, but when Kennedy hurt his hamstring, Despaigne was quickly elevated from long reliever.
”Obviously I would prefer to start,” Despaigne said. ”But I’m a pitcher and whatever the team wants me to do, I will do.”
Arizona manager Chip Hale was impressed.
”He just mixed his pitches really well,” Hale said. ”We had a hard time. We just couldn’t crack the code I guess, today. So give him credit.”
The Padres went ahead 5-1 in the seventh inning when Matt Kemp tripled, his second hit of the game, and scored on a wild pitch. Justin Upton’s fifth-inning home run into the second deck of the left-field seats extended the Padres lead to 4-1 and his hitting streak to nine games.
Arizona, which only had three hits, scored with one out in the fourth when Despaigne hit David Peralta with a pitch and Mark Trumbo followed with a booming double to left-center. But second baseman Yangervis Solarte made a diving stop on a groundball up the middle by Jake Lamb for an out and Tuffy Gosewisch popped up to Derek Norris in foul territory.
”He threw a mix of pitches from various arm angles and was effective, around the plate,” Black said. ”He was good, he was crisp; that was a good one.”
The Padres struck early, scoring three runs in the first inning, as Hellickson struggled with his command. Wil Myers opened with a double, followed by Solarte’s infield single. Kemp drove in Myers on a fielder’s choice and Upton walked. Norris’ double scored Kemp and Upton got home on Alonso’s RBI groundout.
”When I give up three runs in the first, I don’t give the guys a chance to get the lead,” Hellickson said. ”So I’ve just got to be better.”
Hale said the Padres’ early offense aided Despaigne.
Black might need assistance with his rotation when Kennedy is fit. Morrow threw seven scoreless innings in his first outing, so the Padres have a surplus of starters.
”These are good problems to have,” Black said.
Padres: Manager Bud Black said RHP Ian Kennedy, on the DL with a strained left hamstring, is expected to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday.
Diamondbacks: RHP Chase Anderson (0-0, 5.40) is making his second start after not figuring in the 4-3 win over the Dodgers on April 10. He allowed three runs in five innings. In three starts against the Padres, Anderson is 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA.
Padres: RHP Brandon Morrow (0-0, 0.00) is making his second Padres start after throwing seven shutout innings against the Giants on April 10; the Padres won 1-0. It was the first time Morrow worked seven scoreless innings since Sept. 27, 2012 against the Mets, when he pitched for the Blue Jays.