PHOENIX -- For the past week, William Myers has been red-hot at the plate, and for the past week, the Padres have found themselves unable to capitalize. Saturday night told that story better than any other.The slugging left fielder tallied his first career three-homer game and the ninth in franchise
PHOENIX -- For the past week, William Myers has been red-hot at the plate, and for the past week, the Padres have found themselves unable to capitalize. Saturday night told that story better than any other.
The slugging left fielder tallied his first career three-homer game and the ninth in franchise history. Yet the Padres were thoroughly outplayed in a 20-5 loss to the D-backs at Chase Field. In the process, Myers earned himself a bit of history he probably wished he weren't a part of.
Myers became the first player in Major League history to go deep three times in a game his team lost by double figures. Starter Tyson Ross was roughed up early, the San Diego bullpen was hit hard late, and the defense did no favors to a beleaguered pitching staff that allowed 20 runs for the third time in franchise history.
"We'd like to win that game right there," Myers said. "But you want to take some positives out of this, really look at it and kind of enjoy [the three homers] for a little bit. It's back at it tomorrow. … We have a chance to split a series on the road against a first-place team tomorrow. That's the way we've got to come back in here and think about it."
Myers joined third baseman Christian Villanueva as Padres who have hit three home runs in a game this season. Only the Red Sox also have two such performances this year -- and both came from Mookie Betts.
"Wil had really good at-bats all day," said manager Andy Green. "He'd change it for a win in a heartbeat."
At the time, Myers' first home run seemed like an important jolt for a slumping Padres offense. He demolished a 3-2 fastball from D-backs starter Robbie Ray into the left-field bullpen. San Diego led, 2-0.
But when Myers' turn came around again in the third, the deficit was already six. Ross had allowed eight runs over two innings -- his shortest start since he lasted two frames precisely three years ago against Pittsburgh.
Myers took Ray deep again in the third. He was walked in the fifth before he went to the opposite field against Jorge De La Rosa in the seventh. After missing two months with various injuries, Myers is clearly making up for lost time. His three homers upped his season total five.
All the while, the bullpen floundered. Kazuhisa Makita followed Ross by allowing seven runs in two innings. The Padres trailed, 15-4, after four. The oft-reliable Kirby Yates -- an All-Star candidate ahead of Sunday's announcement -- allowed three runs in the seventh.
It was the latest defeat in a rough stretch for San Diego, which is 4-15 since clawing within four games of .500 on June 15.
"It stings," Green said. "This stretch stings. People care. We want to be playing better baseball than we're playing right now. But I still think the way to look at this game is that it's a loss, and we've got a chance to split a series tomorrow."
All season, Ross has been the anchor to the Padres' rotation. He's been their most reliable starter, and he'd recently begun to generate trade buzz ahead of this month's Deadline.
On Saturday night, Ross veered way off course. After some lesser struggles last Sunday against Pittsburgh, Ross has seen his ERA climb from 3.32 to 4.41 in his last two outings. The biggest concern: Ross' devastating putaway slider hasn't been putting hitters away lately.
"I just haven't had a good slider going over the last three or four outings, really," Ross said. "... It's always been a weapon for me to steal a strike. My release point is off, and there's an adjustment to be made right now."
Green posited that Ross might be running into a bit of fatigue and that he'll benefit from the forthcoming All-Star break. He's already doubled his innings total from last season when he was coming off surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome. In 2016, Ross made just one start before he was shut down with a shoulder ailment.
Ross dismissed the notion, adding that he's felt fine physically.
"I've got four days to recover and make an adjustment," Ross said. "I've got an important bullpen [session] coming up with [pitching coach Darren Balsley] to try to make that adjustment and take it to the next start."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Shaky at second: Myers staked Ross to a 2-0 lead in the first, but it wouldn't last long. The D-backs got on the board when second baseman Jose Pirela fielded a bouncer up the middle but flipped wide of Freddy Galvis on a force play. Pirela would make a run-scoring error in the third, and he bobbled a transfer on a potential double-play ball in the fourth. He did his best to make up for the mistakes by launching a solo home run in the fourth, but the damage was done.
Can't stop the bleeding: Trailing, 8-3, the Padres needed some quality length from Makita in relief. He couldn't provide it. Nick Ahmed took him deep in the third. Paul Goldschmidt did the same in the fourth. In total, Makita allowed seven runs (five earned) on five hits and two walks. It was a disheartening setback for the 33-year-old rookie, who was recalled prior to the game when Jose Castillo landed on the disabled list. After seven very effective seasons with the Seibu Lions in Japan, Makita has struggled with his foray into the Majors. His ERA jumped to 7.09 on Saturday night.
Myers is the second Padre to homer three times in a game against Arizona. Hunter Renfroe also did so last Sept. 20 at Petco Park. The first two of Renfroe's home runs also came against Ray.
HE SAID IT
"Everybody will come back in here tomorrow ready to play. I don't think anything like this will linger." -- Myers
Clayton Richard gets the ball for the series finale opposite Arizona ace Zack Greinke with first pitch slated for 1:10 p.m. PT. Richard has worked at least six innings in each of his last 11 starts, but he labored to get there on Tuesday against Oakland when he walked five and allowed five runs. The Majors' leader in ground-ball rate, Richard's 15 double-play grounders are one shy of the Major League lead.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.