PHOENIX -- In a perfect world for the Padres, center fielder Eric Patterson scored from third base in the second inning against the D-backs and put his team ahead, 2-1.
Ideally, the run would have rattled D-backs starter Daniel Hudson and thrown him off his game, at least momentarily. Patterson's run would have led to more runs.
But alas, baseball is neither perfect nor ideal. The reality is the D-backs topped the Padres at Chase Field, 6-1, on Tuesday, and Hudson dominated. Patterson -- who was called out after failing to tag up properly from third base early in the game -- and the rest of the Padres finished the eight-game road trip with a modest 4-4 record.
The "could haves" and "would haves" will remain at Chase Field. The Padres are heading home for eight games starting Wednesday against the Brewers, and few will remember if Patterson left the bag early in Arizona in the middle of May.
"We saw some good things on the road trip," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We saw some guys start to swing the bat, which is a good thing. Our starting pitchers had a little bit of a rough-go, but offensively, we did a lot of great things. Hopefully, that can carry over when we get back home."
What Black could focus on is the fact that his team scored seven runs in a team-record six consecutive games before Tuesday. He could look to Brad Hawpe, who has hit safely in eight straight games, for positive reinforcement, or to Jason Bartlett, who has at least one RBI in the last nine games, which tied a club record.
What he probably won't concentrate on is a forgettable night in Phoenix, and one call that may or may not have changed the momentum of the game.
The contest did have a memorable start.
San Diego wasted little time attacking Hudson. Right fielder Chris Denorfia led off the game with a triple, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Bartlett to put the Padres ahead, 1-0. The D-backs answered with one run in the second off Padres starter Tim Stauffer.
Then it happened.
Tied at 1, Patterson led off the second inning with a triple and appeared to have scored easily from third base after tagging up on a fly ball out to right field off the bat of the next hitter, Rob Johnson.
The run didn't count, though.
Upon appeal, third-base umpire Joe West ruled that Patterson left too early and called him out to complete the rare 9-2-1-5 double play.
"You don't see that called very often," Black said. "I think in Joe's opinion, he had a very good look at it. I was watching the ball. I wasn't watching the play."
The Padres did not have another runner reach third base until the sixth inning, when Hawpe hit a two-out double and advanced to third on a wild pitch on ball four to Patterson. Johnson struck out swinging for the third out, stranding Hawpe at third.
"A line-drive hit. I get back to the bag, tag, and touch my foot. There's not anything tricky about it," Patterson said. "I had it one way. A lot of guys had it one way and the umpire had it another. That's the way it goes."
The D-backs went on to score five unanswered runs.
"You never know. You play a game with a 2-1 lead instead of a 1-1 tie and a lot of things could end up differently," Patterson said. "That's just baseball, and the way it goes. That's the way it is."
What's certain is that Hudson surrendered just one run on eight hits in seven innings for the victory. Stauffer gave up four runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings for the loss, dropping him to 0-2 in nine starts this season.
"It was just one of those games," Stauffer said. "It wasn't our night, and things didn't go our way. You look forward to getting back and playing in your own yard and getting back to that comfort level again. I think there were a lot of positive signs in the last week or so."
Following the loss, Black said he had not watched the replay of Patterson's play. It's unclear if he ever will.
"It doesn't do us any good now," Black said. "He didn't do us any good then, either."