Despaigne, defense falter as Padres lose series
Five-run third, three-run ninth exacerbated by sloppy defense
PHOENIX -- For as wonderful as it must be for a 20-something rookie to be getting an extended look at the big league level in September, you can imagine the toll the accompanying struggles these players often have can take on a manager.
The Padres completed a vexing nine-game road trip Sunday with an 8-6 loss to the D-backs in front of a crowd of 26,075 at Chase Field, a road trip that saw them score six runs on four different occasions -- and also get shut out three different times.
San Diego manager Bud Black hates losing as much as anyone else, although he's certainly pragmatic enough to know there's a long-term benefit for the players who are afforded opportunities during the final month.
"This is a learning experience for so many players and we're seeing this first-hand in September," Black said. "In the long run, they'll be better off for it. Experience is the best teacher. They are profiting from this experience."
From one day to the next, it's hard to know what to expect from the Padres (68-80), who now head to Petco Park for their final homestand of the season. That's largely because the roster is brimming with young players or low service-time players, including four rookie starters on Sunday.
"That's tough," said Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko, in his second year, and certainly not too far removed from remembering what his first few months in the big leagues were like.
"There are going to be growing pains. It's a process that takes time. But I think we're heading in the right direction."
On Sunday, Padres rookie pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne (3-7) allowed five runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts. The team didn't play good defense behind him, especially during the D-backs' five-run, third-inning.
Rookie left fielder Cory Spangenberg dropped a fly ball trying to make a running catch. Then two runs scored on a Mark Trumbo single, though he was only credited with one RBI, as a second run crossed home when Amarista's throw went to Despaigne, who was backing up the plate.
Catcher Yasmani Grandal was out in front of the plate and didn't give himself enough time to get into the correct position.
"Yazzy should have gotten back on that ball," Black said.
There were some highlights, though.
Rookie Yangervis Solarte had two hits and scored two runs. Another rookie, Jake Goebbert, also had two hits and knocked in a run. The team bunched together runs in the fourth and ninth innings.
"The biggest thing is recognizing your failure and capitalizing on opportunity," Goebbert said.
Trailing 5-4, the Padres appeared to be in good position to chase the tying run home in the eighth inning as they loaded the bases with one out after a single by Amarista, after pinch-hitter Rene Rivera was hit on his left pinkie with a pitch and when Cameron Maybin singled.
But D-backs reliever Will Harris got rookie Rymer Liriano to look at three called strikes during his at-bat and then struck out Tommy Medica, who couldn't check his swing with two strikes.
The Padres were 5-for-14 with runners in scoring position and, overall, struck out 12 times in the game.
The D-backs tacked on three runs for an 8-4 lead in the eighth inning against Padres reliever Nick Vincent, who saw his scoreless innings streak snapped at 23 1/3 innings, which was the longest active streak among National League relief pitchers.
But the Padres came back with two runs in the ninth inning, as Adam Moore had a pinch-hit double to make it 8-5. Amarista's ground-ball out made it 8-6.
"We do have a lot of younger guys and it's always tough having your first experience at this level, but I think this is all about preparing us for the future," Goebbert said. "I think this is going to help us."