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Diaz sees improvement in second start

Rule 5 pick goes 3 1/3 against former organization
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Miguel Diaz's start against his former organization was his longest of the season, but it was cut short at the hands of Brewers sluggers Travis Shaw and Keon Broxton.

In the Padres' 6-5 extra-innings loss at Miller Park on Friday, the rookie right-hander struck out five and allowed four earned runs on five hits over 3 1/3 innings, including a solo home run to Shaw in the second inning and Broxton's three-run game-tying homer in the fourth.

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MILWAUKEE -- Miguel Diaz's start against his former organization was his longest of the season, but it was cut short at the hands of Brewers sluggers Travis Shaw and Keon Broxton.

In the Padres' 6-5 extra-innings loss at Miller Park on Friday, the rookie right-hander struck out five and allowed four earned runs on five hits over 3 1/3 innings, including a solo home run to Shaw in the second inning and Broxton's three-run game-tying homer in the fourth.

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The outing lasted 1 1/3 innings longer than his first career start on June 10, when he lost command in the third inning and was taken out with the bases loaded.

"I had more rhythm, and I felt like I was getting strike one in against guys. I think there was some movement change and some rhythm change. Pretty big difference from last start to this start," Diaz said. "I think it's definitely a productive step. [Padres manager Andy Green] let me throw some more pitches and go deeper in the game. I was definitely more under control. The only thing is that last inning and that happens in baseball."

Diaz's adverse fourth inning started with a leadoff walk to Domingo Santana. In the next at-bat, Shaw weakly grounded out to first -- a ball that could've easily been turned for a double play, but Diaz didn't cover first and Shaw reached on a force out. Manny Pina followed with a single to left-center and Broxton cashed in with a 425-foot three-run homer on a 2-2 pitch.

"You go to the fourth inning, and it all falls apart because he doesn't cover first base on a double-play ball," Green said. "That's something, like it really doesn't matter what level you played at last year, like there's got to be some urgency to get over there. If he gets that double-play ball right there, there's two outs nobody on base, it doesn't lead to the three-run home run. It kind of changes the whole context of the game and you're scrapping and fighting to the end otherwise."

Diaz was frustrated with himself for failing to cover first, but also said there was some confusion on the play.

"I think what happened there is I just got a little hung up, a little confused, because off the bat I thought [Yangervis] Solarte was going to get the ball, but it ended up being Wil [Myers], so I did have a chance," Diaz said.

The 22-year-old spent 2012-16 in the Brewers' farm system before the Padres selected him with the first pick of the Rule 5 Draft this offseason. Diaz peaked at No. 21 on MLBPipeline.com's rankings of the Brewers prospects and was left unprotected because he never threw a pitch above the Class A level.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell said he didn't spend much time with Diaz, who was recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2016, but believes he has the arm of a Major League starter.

"He's got a very good arm," Counsell said. "They have a couple of players that have made a huge jump from a low level in the Minor Leagues to playing Major League Baseball, and you give them a lot of credit for doing that and sticking with them and developing them, and they've had some success doing it, too."

Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff, who strained his right hamstring warming up for what was supposed to be his Major League debut this week, never played with Diaz but met him in Spring Training.

"The language barrier made it a little tough, but you could tell he was a nice guy," Woodruff said. "And the stuff -- the stuff spoke for itself."

Carson Mason is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Padres on Friday.

San Diego Padres, Miguel Diaz