Nick Ahmed
D-backs manager Hale takes heat off Hellickson in loss to Padres
Nick Ahmed

D-backs manager Hale takes heat off Hellickson in loss to Padres

Published Jun. 28, 2015 1:49 a.m. ET

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale doesn't shy away from placing blame on his pitching staff when it's warranted, but he's also been sure not to throw them under the bus.

So despite Jeremy Hellickson giving up seven earned runs in a 7-2 loss at the San Diego Padres on Saturday, Hale admitted fault and called for his offense to give the pitching staff a little help.

Hellickson shook off two runs in the first inning to last 5 1/3 frames, allowing 10 hits while striking out eight. The game got away from him in the fifth, when he attacked the Padres' Justin Upton facing a full count with two outs.

Hellickson had been cautious with Upton during the previous at-bat and eventually walked him semi-unintentionally -- not a bad idea.


"You have certain people on teams that you make sure don't beat you. He's the guy on this club," Hale told the media.

But this time around, Hellickson left a fastball high and away, and Upton took it over the fence for a two-run shot in the fifth, giving his team a 4-2 lead that snowballed into three more runs in the sixth inning.

"I just kicked myself in that situation," Hale said of the Upton at-bat.

"I need to walk him on four pitches or make it more clear on our guys he's not the guy supposed to beat us -- be more clear on that. Anytime you don't walk him intentionally, as a manager, it's your fault. You can't expect your pitcher to be perfect. It's my fault, not his."

Hellickson told the media after the game that he didn't feel the effects of a tweaked back that forced him to exit his last start. He recovered from an ugly first inning to cruise for a while, relying on a increasingly deadly curveball that accounted for five of his eight strikeouts.

"Just made too many mistakes those last couple innings," Hellickson said. "Just got to make a better pitch to that guy in that situation. If I walk (Upton) that's fine.

"Of course I want to go after him, but I have to be smarter."

The Diamondbacks had a brief spurt of offensive excellence but otherwise struggled to get the bats going in their second loss in two games at San Diego. Some two-out success in the third inning got them on the board. Paul Goldschmidt doubled before David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas each followed with RBI doubles to tie the game, 2-2.

"Had a good inning with the doubles and put some runs on the board, but just couldn't continue it," Hale said. "We were just getting stuck. We need to get our offense going and help our pitchers out so they don't have to be perfect. Right now, I think right now they feel they have to be perfect."

* Pitcher Andrew Cashner got his first win in four tries against the D-backs this season. Aside from the two runs allowed, his only trouble came when the bottom of Arizona's order singled thrice in the top of the second. But Cashner struck out Chris Owings swinging, then Hellickson's hit a pitch that deflected off the mound and right to shortstop Alexi Amarista for the third out. Cashner went seven innings, allowing eight hits. "I think he came out and decided he was going to let it go," Hale said. "He really threw hard -- 97, 98 (mph) -- and just dominated us pretty good."

* Hale is trusting Nick Ahmed more and more. Ahmed, the second-hottest hitter on the team after Paul Goldschmidt coming into this series, hit lead-off Saturday against the right-handed Cashner. The shortstop, whose success has mostly come against lefties, didn't disappoint by going 1-for-3 and reaching on an error.

* San Diego's top of the order once again put together the damage against Arizona. The first four players in the Padres' order -- Matt Kemp, Yangervis Solarte, Yonder Alonso and Justin Upton -- recorded at least two hits each and accounted for five of the runs Saturday.

15 -€“ San Diego sprayed 15 hits against the D-backs and totaled 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position. They went 5-for-15 in those situations.

Hale confirmed to FOX Sports Arizona's Todd Walsh that pitcher Patrick Corbin, who made a six-inning start on Friday night, will give it one more rehab start with either Double-A Mobile or Triple-A Reno.

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