For a team which celebrates come-from-behind victories, the Diamondbacks ran out of magic tricks Wednesday night.
Earning 38 comeback victories this season, the D-backs waited to solve San Diego rookie lefty Robbie Erlin, who held a two run lead into the sixth inning. That never happened, and the Padres came away with a 5-1 victory before 20,578 Wednesday night in Chase Field.
The loss snapped the D-backs home winning streak at five games and San Diego was able to take the finale of this three game series. Of the nine games between these teams in Chase Field during 2013, the Padres captured six contests.
Erlin, who lasted six innings, left with a 2-1 lead and limited the Diamondbacks to six hits and just that one run. The 22 year-old native of Oakland, Calif. evened his season mark at 2-2 and lowered his ERA from 7.15 at the start of the game to 5.97.
“I don’t think he really shut us down and we had competitive at-bats against him,” said Adam Eaton, who took the collar with an 0-for-5 night. “(Erlin) has a real good curve and spots his pitches well.”
Erlin was able to hold the D-backs at bay, but the usually celebrated Arizona comeback was left for another moment in time.
The Diamondbacks climbed to within one in the sixth, but that was all they could manage. That’s when Willie Bloomquist celebrated his return off the disabled list with a two out single that scored Eric Chavez.
Down by one run, the bullpen was unable to hold out the opposition and give the Diamondbacks a chance to create more magic.
As he had done upon several occasions his season, reliever Heath Bell simply imploded.
Trying to keep Arizona close at 2-1, Bell entered in the eighth.
First, Chris Denorfia singled and Will Venable followed with his 20th home run into the right field bleachers. Two outs later, Jesus Guzman reached the left field bleachers with his eighth round-tripper of the season and four run San Diego advantage.
“They are a very aggressive hitting team,” said manager Kirk Gibson. “The home run to Venable, for example, was down and in and where he likes it. Lethal pitch and you can’t miss on hitters like that.”
Though he allowed two runs in the opening frame and took the loss, starter Wade Miley deserved a better fate. Lifted after seven innings, the lefty from Hammond, La. surrendered seven hits, just two runs and threw 100 pitches.
The Padres reached Miley for four hits and pair of runs in the first, but Miley shut the door the rest of the way.
“I thought I did a good job of spotting my pitches, but that’s a good hitting team,” Miley said. “The pitch to Venable (double in the first to knock in one and he later scored) was where I wanted it, but he did a good job of hitting. That’s what he’s supposed to do.”
With the loss, Miley drops to 9-9 and will have to wait until his next start to equal Randy Johnson as the only left-handers in franchise history to earn back-to-back 10 win seasons.
BACK IN THE LINE-UP
Prior to Wednesday’s game, the Diamondbacks activated infielder Willie Bloomquist.
On the disabled list since July 2 (retroactive to June 27) with a left hand contusion, Bloomquist started at shortstop against Padres’ lefty Robbie Erlin Wednesday, finished with a 3-for-4 night and drove in the lone Diamondbacks run.
Bloomquist suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitched ball against the Nationals on June 26.
“We’re happy to have him back,” said manager Kirk Gibson. “With all this injuries, he’s had a frustrated season. We know what Willie is capable of doing.”
Bloomquist made two trips to the DL this season. He began the season on the shelf with a strained right oblique and reinstated on May 31.
Prior to Wednesday’s game, Bloomquist appeared in 22 games, a .292 batting average with four doubles and eight RBIs.
To make room on the roster, the Diamondbacks returned left-handed pitcher David Holmberg to Double A Mobile.
For Wednesday’s game, manager Kirk Gibson took Paul Goldschmidt out of the lineup.
“He’s gassed, tired and needs a well-deserved day off,” Gibson said. “I made this decision on my own but, clearly, he’s not a guy you want to lose. He’s played so much, prepared so hard but, at this time, his legs are toast.”
With a day off Thursday, expect Goldschmidt back in the line-up Friday night against the Giants’ Tim Lincecum. In the past against the San Francisco right-hander and two-time Cy Young Award winner, Goldschmidt has a career 9-for-17 (.529), five home runs and 11 RBIs.
The San Francisco Giants now roll into the desert for a Labor Day weekend series.
When the season began, this appeared as a marquee attraction. The D-backs and Giants were two favorites to battle for the National League West title, but both have fallen on difficult times.
On Friday night, the Diamondbacks will send right Randall Delgado (4-4, 3.87 ERA) against Tim Lincecum (7-13, 4.55).
On Saturday, the Diamondbacks are celebrating Throwback Day, in which they will wear the old black and teal uniforms and Diamondbacks from the past will play a softball games after the regularly-scheduled game.
Here, the D-backs are scheduled to go with Trevor Cahill (3-10, 4.39 ERA) but Cahill was Gibson’s long reliever Wednesday night. Status for his Saturday night is to be determined. The Giants will counter with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (3-4, 5.58 ERA)
Lefty Patrick Corbin (13-4, 2.79 ERA) goes on Sunday and the Giants’ starter to be determined.
The Toronto Blue Jays follow for three games early next week, including a 1:10 p.m. start Labor Day Monday, and that ends the current home stand.