Padres Upton, Despaigne derail D-backs
SAN DIEGO -- Justin Upton tormented Petco Park when he was with the Diamondbacks and his success there was a big reason San Diego pushed to acquire him last winter. Not much has changed.
Upton's 11th career home run at Petco, his first with his new team, helped the Padres tack on after a three-run first inning for a 5-1 victory over the D-backs here Tuesday night.
Padres right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne gave up two hits in seven innings, and Mark Trumbo's RBI double in the fourth accounted for the D-backs' only run, their lowest total of the season and only the second time they have were held to fewer than four runs.
"He's the kind of guy you saw you got yourself out," Trumbo said of the Cuban right-hander Despaigne.
D-backs starter Jeremy Hellickson took his second loss after falling into immediate trouble in the first, when leadoff man Wil Myers doubled and Yangervis Solarte hit a chopping single into the Bermuda triangle past the mound between first and second. Two groundouts, a walk and a Derek Norris double later, the Padres had a three-run cushion.
"We just really didn't know who was going to go after the ball," said Hellickson, who tried to backhand the Solarte roller with his glove and shovel to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt but could not make the play. "We hesitated. Should have been out, made the play one way or the other. It wasn't a good start, to say the least. Score three in the first is not giving the guys a chance to get the lead. I definitely have to be more efficient."
Trumbo's double made it 3-1 in the third, but the D-backs did not get another hit until Paul Goldschmidt singled to open the ninth.
As well as Despaigne pitched, Hellickson was about his equal after the first inning. He found his rhythm and finished on a high note.
"There was some definite improvement by him. That's one of those small victories you look at," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "Unfortunately we couldn't some back, but he gave us a chance to."
Hellickson gave up four hits in his final 5 2/3 innings before leaving with two outs in the seventh inning. He was charged two runs in that stretch, the first on Upton's home run with two outs in the fifth. Matt Kemp, the last batter Hellickson faced, reached on a looping triple that got past right fielder Mark Trumbo, and Kemp scored on a wild pitch by Randall Delgado.
Mixing his changeup and curveball well, Hellickson threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of the final 22 batters he faced not counting an intentional walk that loaded the bases with two outs in the third. He struck out six and walked three.
"I thought he just battled really well," catcher Tuffy Gosewisch said. "I don't know that he had his best stuff tonight. I think a lot of pitchers are vulnerable in the first (inning). He came back. He made good pitches when he had to after the first inning."
As Hale predicted, the D-backs' rotation has been more effective the second time around, starting with Archie Bradley's first career win Saturday. Josh Collmenter and Rubby De La Rosa gave up three runs in their second starts, and Hellickson was charged with four.
"I think we're improving," Hellickson said. "It all started with Archie the other day. It's contagious. When one guy throws that well, everybody wants to do that. We're getting better. We're going to be really good by the end of this year."
The D-backs have not given Hellickson much support. He was on the mound when San Francisco rookie right-hander Chris Heston and three relievers limited the D-backs to five hits in a 5-2 victory last Wednesday. Hellickson gave up nine hits and three runs in 4 1-3 innings of that game.
"I probably will look tomorrow and feel a little better about it," Hellickson said. "It is better than last game, but it is still a loss, so it doesn't matter."
DID YOU NOTICE?
Left fielder David Peralta was hit by a pitch on the outside of his left knee the fourth. He made it around from first on Trumbo's double to the fence in left-center field, but pulled up limping while chasing a foul pop an inning later. He remained in the game, and the trainers told Hale it was nothing serious.
STAT OF THE GAME
17 -- consecutive batters Andrew Chafin retired until Yonder Alonso singled with one out in the eighth. Chafin got the next two he faced.
* It was easy to keep Ender Inciarte out of the starting lineup. Sure it was. "Thought about it all night," Hale said "Thought about all morning. Actually got to the ballpark and switched. I want to stick to the plan, divide up the four outfielders and get them all in there. We have four quality guys we need to get at-bats for. It's time for him to have a little rest." Inciarte walked as a pinch-hitter leading off the eighth inning before being erased on a double play.
* Gerald Laird had an MRI on his back and was given an epidural in an attempt to ease the stiffness. While he is gone, and with two off days next week, the D-backs can consider rebalancing the roster, Hale said. They have discussed catcher Brett Lalli and short reliever Enrique Burgos. "It could be another pitcher, could be a catcher, could be just a pinch hitter. We're kind of thinking anywhere," Hale said.
* Jake Lamb continued his hot hitting. He doubled down the left field line in the second inning, the D-backs only other hit, and was robbed of a single up the middle when Solarte made a diving stop to his right and threw out Lamb.
Major league baseball notified the Diamondbacks that catcher Tuffy Gosewisch took too longer than the allotted two minutes to get into the batter's box as the leadoff hitter the other day, violating of the new pace-of-game directives. Gosewisch feels that catchers should get some leeway if they are leading off an inning. I think it is just hard," Gosewisch said. "You come in, you are taking your gear off, maybe your pitcher is asking you something about what happened in the inning. You're getting your batting gloves and helmet on as fast as possible. And if you want to get some pine tar or get some warm up swings on deck , it is tough to get up there in two minutes. Doing the best I can, but I am not going to go out of my way to speed it up."
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.