Diamondbacks unable to solve Padres’ Blake Snell in loss to San Diego

Aug 31, 2021, 11:01 PM | Updated: Sep 1, 2021, 8:48 am
San Diego Padres pitcher Blake Snell throws to an Arizona Diamondbacks batter during the first inni...

San Diego Padres pitcher Blake Snell throws to an Arizona Diamondbacks batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX — Blake Snell’s season has not been what the San Diego Padres expected when they acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays in the offseason, but on Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he brought back the magic from his days in Tampa Bay.

The lefty had one of the best starts of his career, outdueling D-backs starter Zac Gallen, as Arizona (44-90) fell to the Padres (71-62) 3-0 in front of 10,818 fans at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Snell threw seven no-hit innings before being replaced by Pierce Johnson, much to the ire of the fans at Chase Field. He finished with seven innings pitched, no hits allowed, 10 strikeouts and just two walks on 107 pitches. He lowered his ERA from 4.58 when the day started to 4.31 when the night ended.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo spoke on what Snell did that baffled his hitters tonight.

“I thought it was an aggressive fastball at the bottom and the top of the zone,” Lovullo said. “It was a curveball over a slider until probably the sixth inning when he started mixing in the slider. He had a three-pitch mix going and had a good day.”

D-backs leadoff hitter Nick Ahmed said Snell’s differing approach to tonight’s game was what led to his success.

“I think he mixed it up on us more this time than he has in the past,” Ahmed said. “He definitely threw a lot more curveballs. The slider was harder than we’ve seen in the past. The off-speed is obviously plus and elite and he was able to throw that for strikes and throw that for what looked like strikes and finished his balls.”

Snell was aided by a two-run homer off the bat of Padres third baseman Manny Machado in the top of the fifth inning and Adam Frazier hustling from first to home to score on a Jurickson Profar single in the top of the sixth.

The D-backs did not get a hit until the eighth inning when pinch-hitter David Peralta blooped a single into left field. Arizona finished the game with a total of just three hits. Catcher Carson Kelly and first baseman Christian Walker added singles in the bottom of the ninth. If the Padres had completed the no-hitter, it would have been the ninth no-hitter of the MLB season, breaking a 137-year-old record dating back to 1884.

As for Padres manager Jayce Tingler’s decision to take Snell out, Lovullo said Tingler had “good reason” to do so.

“I think (Snell) threw 122 pitches in his last outing,” Lovullo said. “You’re potentially looking at 250 pitches over two outings to get through that and get into that situation. It’s a very tough call. I felt for him. I’ve been there. You’re always trying to enhance the moment. Not get in the way of something special.”

The loss was the D-backs’ fifth straight and they drop to 7-11 against the Padres this season.

The D-backs and the Padres will wrap up their season series Wednesday with a Chase Field matinee at 12:40 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM and 98.7 FM-HD2.

Luke Weaver will be activated off the 60-day injured list and COVID-19 protocol list to start for the D-backs. He will face Yu Darvish.

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Diamondbacks unable to solve Padres’ Blake Snell in loss to San Diego