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Bats can't solve D-backs' McCarthy in series opener

Ross gives up four earned runs in six-plus innings

PHOENIX -- It's not like Yonder Alonso has never taken a 0-fer before, though the one he wore Monday came with a sting the Padres' first baseman could have easily done without.

"It's frustrating," Alonso said.

Full Game Coverage

PHOENIX -- It's not like Yonder Alonso has never taken a 0-fer before, though the one he wore Monday came with a sting the Padres' first baseman could have easily done without.

"It's frustrating," Alonso said.

Full Game Coverage

Alonso squared-up four balls against the D-backs, well-struck balls that on other nights, in other places, might have counted for something other than utter frustration.

This theme was painfully prevalent during the D-backs' 6-1 victory over the Padres before a crowd of 16,871.

"Today, for some reason, was one of those days where we hit balls right at guys," Alonso said.

For a team with the most anemic offense in baseball this month -- the Padres have now scored 68 runs in 22 games in August -- this was the last thing they needed.

"We hit the ball on the nose a couple of times," said Padres manager Bud Black. "It was [the D-backs] night."

Arizona pitcher Brandon McCarthy (3-8) was the beneficiary of several fine defensive plays, as he allowed one unearned run over seven innings on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts. He got nine ground-ball outs in the game.

"He pitched great. All the stuff he worked on, he was able to execute," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of McCarthy. "He really got rolling. Those were seven big innings for us. We didn't walk a Padre tonight and had nine strikeouts. That's a pretty good formula."

McCarthy last won a game on May 24, coincidentally, against the Padres. He landed on the disabled list shortly thereafter with inflammation of the right shoulder and missed two months before returning on August 4.

"He was in the strike zone with the cutter and sinker. He was throwing strikes. A couple of inches or feet, and it's a different ballgame," Black said.

San Diego starting pitcher Tyson Ross (3-7) allowed four earned runs on seven hits with two walks and had six strikeouts in six-plus innings.

After giving up five earned runs combined in five starts from July 23 to Aug. 15, Ross has now allowed eight runs over his last two starts -- a loss to the Pirates on August 20 and now Monday's game against the D-backs.

"I thought his stuff was good. The mix of pitches was there," Black said. "We just couldn't score for him."

Ross allowed two runs in the fourth inning. He hit Adam Eaton in the foot to start the frame and then appeared to execute a pitch in a good spot -- off the outside corner -- to Paul Goldschmidt, who took a big cut and drove the ball to deep right field.

The ball hit off the fence and rolled back toward the infield as Eaton scored. Martin Prado, who knocked in three runs, added a sacrifice fly for a 2-1 lead.

"I was definitely struggling with my command early," Ross said. "I wasn't as sharp with the fastball. That is something I need to work on."

Then in the sixth inning, Ross allowed the first two batters to reach base, before Prado bounced a ball into left field for a two-run single, a ball that barely eluded third baseman Chase Headley.

"The ground ball by Prado looked to be a double-play ball," Black said. "We make that play, and it's still 2-1."

As has been the case this month, there wasn't much in the way of offense for the Padres. All told, they finished with five hits -- two coming in the first inning when they scored their only run.

The other hits in the game were three more singles -- one in the third, fourth and fifth innings. But none amounted to much, as McCarthy avoided any real trouble each time he allowed a baserunner to reach.

In the first inning, leadoff hitter Will Venable singled sharply to left field and Alexi Amarista followed with a single of his own. Yonder Alonso then hit a ball hard at Goldschmidt, who fired the ball over to shortstop Didi Gregorius, who stepped on second base.

But Gregorius' return throw to first base sailed wide, allowing Venable to score as Gregorius was given an error on the play.

Venable had two hits in the game, giving him 34 in 22 games this month. He was batting .219 on July 13, but has now raised his average to .274 after going 2-for-4 against the D-backs.

San Diego rookie center fielder Reymond Fuentes, promoted earlier in the day from Triple-A Tucson, got the start in center field and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. It took a nice play by Gregorius on a chopper up the middle in the second inning to cut down what might have been his first big league hit.

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter.


San Diego Padres, Tyson Ross, Will Venable