PHOENIX -- For the first time this year, the lineup the D-backs' front office envisioned this offseason was assembled on Thursday night.The result, a 6-3 loss to Eric Lauer and the Padres which dropped them into a first-place tie with the idle Dodgers in the National League West, was probably
PHOENIX -- For the first time this year, the lineup the D-backs' front office envisioned this offseason was assembled on Thursday night.
The result, a 6-3 loss to Eric Lauer and the Padres which dropped them into a first-place tie with the idle Dodgers in the National League West, was probably not what they had in mind however.
With right fielder Steven Souza Jr. coming off the disabled list before the game and center fielder A.J. Pollock having returned earlier in the week, it marked the first time the pair had been together with third baseman Jake Lamb because of his early-season injury.
Pollock picked up two hits in the game, his first two hits since being activated Monday, while Souza was 0-for-3 with a walk. Lamb logged an RBI single and Ketel Marte belted a late two-run homer.
"I think it's all as expected," manager Torey Lovullo said. "Coming back from a rehab assignment, I think your natural feeling is that you want to do so much every single at-bat, and then once you get into the rhythm and the grind of playing every day, and taking every day at-bats, you get back into what you are and who you are."
While the D-backs did manage to log 11 hits, they were unable to get them with runners in scoring position -- going 1-for-11 in those situations.
"That's baseball," Souza said. "We've shown that sometimes we can get a hit seven times in a row, and today just wasn't our day. I felt pretty good, put together some good ABs, obviously hit some balls at people. Not the result I wanted, but I thought overall was pretty good. Definitely wish we could have come through for the win there."
Lauer (4-5) made things difficult for the D-backs by changing speeds and spotting his offspeed pitches away from right-handers over his five-plus innings to earn the win.
For D-backs starter Shelby Miller (0-3), it was more of a mixed bag.
In his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery, Miller showed an improved curveball getting seven swinging strikes, four called strikes and a pair of foul balls on the 24 he threw.
Since his last start, Miller worked to tighten up his curveball a bit so it would have less of a hump on its path to the plate and look a little more like his fastball.
After allowing a run in the first inning, Miller gave up a go-ahead homer to Austin Hedges in the fifth that gave the Padres a 2-1 lead.
Things unraveled for Miller in the sixth, though, as the Padres scored three runs -- thanks in part to an error by shortstop Nick Ahmed -- and chased Miller from the game.
"I got a lot of swings and misses on it," Miller said of his curve. "It's a pitch we were talking about going forward that I would need to get command of and control a little more. I think tonight we did a better job of that. I would like to go out there and finish the sixth and put up zero there and get out of the game, and have us in a little bit better situation, 2-1, instead of, 5-1, in that inning."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
In the sixth after a leadoff walk to Carlos Asuaje and a triple by William Myers, Miller got Eric Hosmer to hit a hopper to short that bounced over the glove of Ahmed. That allowed Myers to score from third and Hosmer eventually scored as well as the Padres took control.
"I know that he felt terrible about it because he felt like he should have made that play," Lovullo said. "But Nick is an extra-ordinary shortstop and he had a human moment today where he didn't execute and make the play. Unfortunately it hurt us, but I know that when somebody is going to hit the ball to Nick Ahmed, there's going to be a really good chance he's going to be out."
The D-backs had sole possession of first place since June 2 and Lovullo was not concerned when asked about falling into a tie with the Dodgers, who open a three-game series with the Angels on Friday.
"We've got a long way to go," Lovullo said. "We've got a lot of baseball games to play. This team is battle tested, they fight together, they believe together, and I know that we have very high expectations internally that we want to go out and accomplish some special things. We know it's going to be a great race. We're anticipating that."
Right-hander Zack Godley (9-6, 5.07 ERA) will get the start as the D-backs continue their series with the Padres at 6:40 p.m. MST on Friday at Chase Field. Godley looks to rebound from a shaky start against the Giants his last time out, allowing seven runs over four innings. The Padres counter with lefty Joey Lucchesi (4-3, 3.26 ERA).
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.