Ross stymies D-backs with shift to attack mode
Padres starter fans 9, throws team's 1st complete game of season
PHOENIX -- If the Padres are to turn around what has been a disappointing season, it will be the pitching that leads such an inversion.
Tyson Ross on Saturday night offered a great blueprint.
With the help of a mechanical adjustment, Ross showed his best command of the season and threw a four-hit complete game in an 8-1 Padres win over the D-backs at Chase Field.
Ross averaged three walks per game in his first 14 starts and gave out five walks last time out, but he issued just one free pass to the D-backs and matched a season high with nine strikeouts in throwing the third complete game of his career and the first for the Padres this season.
"Breaking that barrier you might see guys go eight, nine innings more," said Ross, who lost three of his previous four starts. "I was just trying to attack hitters with an emphasis on getting the leadoff guy out. I've had trouble with command and walking guys and I really wanted to challenge guys tonight.
"We made a mechanical adjustment in between starts and I carried it over well into the game. It allowed me to execute a lot more pitches and really just get ahead of guys and put them away. The bullpen I threw a couple days ago, I felt great. The ball was coming out a little bit different and I was confident coming into this game."
Ross followed the dominant performance of his younger brother and former Padres first-round pick, Joe, the night before for the National with his own version. And Ross dominated from the outset after he was staked to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. He set down 11 in a row between the third and sixth innings before he hit Jake Lamb with a first-pitch fastball. It was a brief reprieve for Lamb, who struck out three times against Ross.
"He was on tonight. Nobody was seeing it too well," Lamb said. "He got into a rhythm and he was throwing strikes and even the sliders not for strikes, it looks like a fastball. It looks like a fastball and then it's out of the zone. ... He had his 'A' game today."
Ross said his slider was his best pitch. Lamb agreed.
"That's the thing, you can't identify it," Lamb said. "That's what everybody says. It's tough to see that spin and by the time you pick it up, it's too late."
The D-backs finally got to Ross in the seventh on a two-out triple by Chris Owings followed by a double from Welington Castillo cut the Padres' lead to 4-1.
With closer Craig Kimbrel warming in the bullpen, interim manager Pat Murphy sent Ross out to bat in the ninth.
"Talking with my staff, they said it's important he gets the complete game and the staff decided on that," Murphy said. "I would have probably pulled him, to be honest with you.
"We've seen it in the past, I've been watching. He's capable of that. Nobody in the league wants to face him. Nobody wants to face him. He's filthy."
Ross delivered with the first triple of his career that sparked a four-run rally and then finished off the D-backs in the bottom of the ninth.
"That was just a salvage shot on the triple," Ross said. "I was close to the golden sombrero. I was happy to put the ball in play."