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Paddack sharp again, pitches into the sixth

@AJCassavell
April 13, 2019

PHOENIX -- The Padres, in the first 50 seasons of their existence, had only two pitchers ever begin their careers with three straight starts of one run or fewer. They now have had two pitchers accomplish that feat in the past three days. No wonder the San Diego front office

PHOENIX -- The Padres, in the first 50 seasons of their existence, had only two pitchers ever begin their careers with three straight starts of one run or fewer. They now have had two pitchers accomplish that feat in the past three days.

No wonder the San Diego front office spent the offseason reiterating its belief in the organization's young starters. Nick Margevicius and Chris Paddack have, thus far, rewarded that faith.

On Friday night, Paddack held the D-backs in check over 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball, the longest start of his young career. From there, the bullpen took over, with 3 2/3 hitless frames -- thanks in large part to Manny Machado’s wizardry at third base. Machado also went deep in the first inning, and Fernando Tatis Jr. rocketed a go-ahead double in the seventh to secure a 2-1 victory.

“Just a great team win,” Paddack said afterward.

Had the Padres waited until Friday to promote Paddack and Tatis, they would have gained an extra year of team control in 2025. But that's a matter for another day.

Instead, Paddack and Tatis are here in Arizona, and they’ve been integral pieces in the Padres' scorching start. San Diego is 10-5, two games up in the National League West for the first time since Sept. 8, 2010.

“You can’t really explain the energy and how badly these guys want it in this clubhouse,” Paddack said. “It’s special to be a part of.”

Paddack has now started three straight San Diego victories. He was excellent from the outset on Friday. The 23-year-old right-hander ended the first inning with two consecutive nasty changeups to Adam Jones that bore in on Jones’ hands. The D-backs’ right fielder swung over top of both. Then, as he removed his helmet, he looked in Paddack’s direction and laughed.

In the second, it was Paddack’s fastball that did the trick. He ended the frame with 96 mph paint to catch Carson Kelly looking. In total, Paddack struck out five while allowing three hits.

“His fastball plays,” said D-backs center fielder Jarrod Dyson. “He didn’t throw too many curveballs, but he kept us off balance, and he’s got a good changeup.”

There’s more than one reason that Paddack and Margevicius have joined Cesar Vargas and Odrisamer Despaigne as the only Padres to begin their careers with three straight starts of one run or fewer.

The two rookies arrived in the big leagues much earlier than expected, and their workload is being monitored closely this season. They won’t get the chance to fail in the late innings very often. Still, through 15 games, the Padres’ young pitching staff has delivered.

“It's fun, man,” Paddack said. “Having a young group going into the season, especially a pitching staff, we knew we had to hold each other accountable. That's what we've done.”

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.