D-backs leave too much meat on the bone in flawed performance, fall to Padres

Apr 20, 2023, 11:27 PM

Geraldo Perdomo #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks safely slides into third base ahead of the tag from ...

Geraldo Perdomo #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks safely slides into third base ahead of the tag from infielder Manny Machado #13 of the San Diego Padres during the second inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 20, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo walked off the field after a 7-5 loss to the San Diego Padres Thursday night frustrated after his team made plenty of winning plays.

The D-backs (11-9) out-hit San Diego 12-7 and rallied from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game in the fourth inning at Chase Field.

They just gifted the Padres (10-11) too many opportunities, which the visitors fully took advantage of in the first of a four-game set.

“The way we ended up losing this game and the feeling that I’m getting each time we go out there and play for nine innings is we’re doing a lot of things right,” Lovullo said postgame. “I want to continue to capitalize on those, but the things that we need to get better at, we will continue to create some awareness.”

Ryne Nelson took the hill for Arizona and struck out the side in the top of the first inning, starting with right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. in his first game since 2021 after serving a performance-enhancing drug suspension.

But Nelson put a pair of runners on in the second inning via walks, and his first hit allowed was a two-run double to Trent Grisham.

In the third, Nelson walked Juan Soto, and shortstop Xander Bogarts followed with a home run. The Padres led 4-1 and three of their runs reached base on balls.

Nelson finished with five innings, five earned runs, three hits, three walks and four punch outs in his fourth career start out of seven against the Padres. Lovullo felt Nelson was a bit too fine despite having some of his best stuff, putting him behind counts.

“Frustrating. Walks got me, was not over the plate when I needed to be and too much over the plate when I needed to be a little bit more fine,” Nelson said.

Arizona’s offense stormed back with a five-hit barrage in the fourth inning, none of which went over the wall. Alek Thomas, Geraldo Perdomo and Josh Rojas singled to cut the deficit to 5-3, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled in Rojas and scored after two wild pitches.

The D-backs had 10 hits through four frames, all of which stayed in the yard.

However, another mistake put the D-backs behind in the sixth, this time a rare error from shortstop Nick Ahmed.

With a runner on and one down, Ahmed fumbled a sharp grounder ball on the backhand and did not get an out, losing a double-play chance. Grisham again punished Arizona with another two-run double, this time off Kyle Nelson with two outs.

“We don’t make a play defensively and it hurt us, and those are little things that I know we take a lot of pride in,” Lovullo said. “If there’s one guy who will go ahead and address it the right way, it is Nick Ahmed. It just shows that he’s human. Like I said, it doesn’t happen very often. You hate to see it be the difference in the game, but unfortunately, showed up that way.”

The D-backs had one hit the rest of the game, a single from Rojas in the sixth. He got to third with one out after an errant pickoff throw and fly ball, but Corbin Carroll popped out on a 3-0 count and Christian Walker struck out to strand the runner.

Lovullo felt Carroll had a golden chance to attack a hittable pitch in that count, but the strike he got was tough to turn on up and in. Arizona did not get a base runner in the final three innings, partly due to Tatis Jr., who ran down a deep fly ball from Rojas in the corner. Grisham also made a diving catch in the third inning to save a run.

The Diamondbacks left eight runners on base and finished 4-for-12 in scoring position.

“We left some meat on the bone,” Lovullo said. “It’s hard to hit in those situations, but to get to where we’re going to, we have got to be better at it.”

Walks continued to be an issue on both ends. Arizona walked once on Thursday (Rojas), putting the onus on the streamline of hits to keep going against San Diego’s strongest relievers.

General manager Mike Hazen said before the game an area of needed improvement for the young lineup is to counter opponents pitching around the zone by letting them walk hitters.

The D-backs are 1-2 against the Padres this season with a pair of losses that could have been flipped, including the 5-4 walk-off defeat at Petco Park in the fifth game of the year.

Health updates

Catcher Carson Kelly is working on light cardio, receiving and one-handed swings after suffering a fractured forearm in spring training. Lovullo said he’s “getting close” to swinging with two hands but there is no specific timeline on his return.

Right-handed pitcher Zach Davies is still “weeks away,” general manager Mike Hazen said.

Davies suffered an oblique strain in his second start of the season and has yet to begin tossing, although Lovullo said the righty is getting ready to start his throwing program.

Up next

The D-backs and Padres meet up at 6:40 p.m. Friday with Zac Gallen facing San Diego’s Seth Lugo.

The game will air on 98.7, and the Arizona Sports app. 

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