San Diego dropped its series finale with the Dodgers, 3-2, as Ross pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on three hits. That line was particularly harsh on Ross, who carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and only allowed the game's first run in the seventh on Andrew Toles jam-shot into left field.
For Ross, it was the latest strong showing in a first half that has completely revitalized his career.
"Looking back at the last two years, it's crazy to be here, over 100 innings and feeling like myself again," Ross said. "I'm looking forward to a having a few days to rest up, and I'm looking forward to a strong second half."
In December, the Padres signed Ross to a Minor League deal with no guarantees. He missed all of 2016 with a shoulder injury and spent the '17 season with Texas struggling as he worked his way back from thoracic outlet surgery. He was released in September.
Ross came back with a vengeance this spring, winning a rotation spot and slowly becoming the Padres' best starting pitcher. He posted a 3.32 ERA through June, but that mark jumped by more than a full run in his first two starts this month. On Saturday in Arizona, Ross allowed eight runs over two innings in one of the worst starts of his career.
As he's clearly done before, Ross responded with resilience. He tweaked his positioning on the rubber during his mid-week bullpen session. He made a couple of other minor mechanical adjustments. They paid dividends.
"Coming into this thing this year, I didn't know what I was going to be, what kind of pitcher I was going to be, if I still had it in there," Ross said. "I just wanted to put my best foot forward during spring. I was able to make the team. Every time I take the hill, it's just a bonus for me right now."
It's worth wondering how many more times Ross will take the hill at Petco Park. He will be a free agent this offseason and is viewed by many as a useful trade piece. After two poor starts, Thursday's outing served to reinforce his value.
Ross didn't allow a hit until Joc Pederson's one-out double in the sixth, but he managed to escape that jam and returned for the seventh. With a runner on second and Toles at the plate, manager Andy Green sprung from the top step of the dugout. After a brief discussion with Ross, he allowed his starter to continue. Moments later, Ross threw an inside fastball that jammed Toles.
"Sometimes you execute, and they get enough of it," Ross said. "That's what happened tonight."
Ross' night was done, and the Dodgers tacked on two more in the frame. The Padres' offense -- all of which came courtesy of Wil Myers' two-run double in the bottom of the inning -- was too little too late.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Scuffling Stammen: Righty reliever Craig Stammen followed Ross by hitting two batters and allowing two hits. Stammen owned a sub-2.00 ERA on June 24. In eight appearances since, he's allowed eight runs (seven earned) and 15 hits. On Thursday, Stammen found himself on the wrong end of some standard Chase Utley hijinks. With men on first and second in the seventh, Utley appeared to move his leg purposefully into a Stammen slider. He was awarded first base.
"You don't get hit by pitches more than anyone else in baseball history if you don't have some savvy turns into baseballs from time to time," Green said. "It wasn't one of the most egregious ones I've seen, but it definitely looked like he created contact with the baseball."
Myers left stranded: Myers' two-out rocket to right-center field put the Padres within one run in the bottom of the seventh. But Myers, who is hitting .358 with six homers in July, didn't make it past second base. Eric Hosmer -- as ice-cold as Myers is red-hot -- grounded to third base, ending the Padres' best chance to tie the game.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS Freddy Galvis has made some brilliant plays at shortstop this season, but it'd be hard to find one better than what he pulled off with two outs in the top of the ninth.
Pinch-hitter Justin Turner sent a cue shot up the middle. Galvis ranged to his left, made a sliding stop, and in one motion transferred the ball and threw to first -- all while rolling on his knees.
HE SAID IT "I was looking for a fastball down the middle, and I was trying to hit it to right-center. That's how you hit. Every hitter in baseball, when they are hot, is looking for a fastball down the middle to do whatever they want with it. You just trust that your eyes and your hands will know what to do with it."-- Myers, on his two-run double
UP NEXT Clayton Richard, coming off his shortest start in two months, gets the ball at Petco Park in Friday night's 7:10 PT series opener against the Cubs and right-hander Tyler Chatwood. Richard is on pace to become the first Padres pitcher to surpass 200 innings in three years, and he'll look to gobble up more against his former team. Chicago released Richard in July 2016, prompting his signing with San Diego two weeks later.