PHOENIX — For the first time this season, the Arizona Diamondbacks had their projected big four in the lineup Thursday, although that did not keep the San Diego Padres from winning the first contest of a four-game series.
Right fielder Steven Souza Jr. was activated from the disabled list after missing the majority of the season with a pectoral injury suffered the final week of spring training, at last joining first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, center fielder A.J. Pollock and third baseman Jake Lamb in the same lineup.
Lamb and Pollock also were on the disabled list at times in the early season, keeping the foursome apart.
“When we traded for Steven, there was a lot of excitement, hoping we could get all of these guys on one lineup card,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “It means that we are getting healthy, and it means the good things are on the way.”
Although Pollock had two of Arizona’s 11 hits and lefty-hitting Lamb had an RBI single off San Diego left-hander Eric Lauer, the Padres took a 6-3 victory at Chase Field.
Arizona right-hander Zack Godley is scheduled to face Padres lefty Joey Lucchesi in the second game of the series Friday.
Without their full complement, the Diamondbacks have not produced at expected levels this season, although the installation of a humidor as well as health could play into it.
They have 381 runs, two more than the league average, but are hitting a league-low .230 and have a .699 OPS, 12th in the league and ahead of only the Mets, Miami and San Diego. The Diamondbacks worked through a 2-15 stretch in May to regain the NL West lead in June, although they fell into a virtual tie with the Dodgers with their loss Thursday.
“We’ve been two different teams in two different months,” Lovullo said. “It’s been crazy. But now that everybody is healthy, we are hoping that there is a little lineup continuity and we start to do the things that we were projected as a team that we could do.
“We’re winning games. We’re doing OK in that regard. But I feel like offensively with this group of guys on the field at one time, we could do some pretty special things. I know that these guys are anxious to get going and play together.”
The return to full health will give Arizona a chance to assess its full roster as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.
“Projecting the things we want to offensively with this group, it will give us a snapshot of what we really are,” Lovullo said. “I know we already are a good team. If guys perform, and we are talking about some good players coming back, if guys perform up to their abilities, we are going to be even better.”
San Diego, meanwhile, found hitting support from Wil Myers and Carlos Asuaje in winning Thursday, and oft-rumored trade chip Brad Hand struck out the side in the ninth inning after a leadoff infield single for his 24th save.
Nos. 2-3 hitters Asuaje and Myers had two hits and a triple apiece, and Myers drove in two runs. Asuaje, who also walked, scored twice. Asuaje has hit safely in all four games back after spending the previous six weeks in the minors because of the Padres’ glut of middle infielders.
“He’s had good at-bats,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “He’s put himself in position to earn more playing time. Whatever he makes of that opportunity is up to him.”
Godley is 9-6 with a 5.07 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP. He had a four-game winning streak broken in his last appearance, when he gave up seven runs and nine hits in a 9-6 loss to San Francisco on Sunday.
He beat the Padres in his only start against them this season, giving up two runs in a 6-2 victory on April 21. Golden has pitched well at home, going 4-2 with a 4.14 ERA in seven starts. He is 2-3 with a 5.23 ERA in 10 career appearances (seven starts) against the Padres.
Rookie Lucchesi, 4-3 with a 3.26 ERA, is to make his fourth start since returning from the disabled list with a right hip strain that kept him out for a month. He gave up four runs and five hits in his lone appearance against Arizona, a 4-2 loss April 22.
Included in Lucchesi’s repertoire is a combination changeup/curveball that has been dubbed a “churve.” He grips the pitch like a changeup but the pitch has the opposite break, down and in to a right-handed hitter instead of the true changeup movement of down and away. He also throws a true curve, which he has used more than the “churve” since his return.