Young falters early on in loss to rivals
Righty allows a pair of homers; Bradley ejected in fifth inning
PHOENIX -- There was no shortage of frustration and disappointment emanating from the Padres' clubhouse at Chase Field on Tuesday, although very little of it actually had to with San Diego's 9-1 loss to the Diamondbacks.
And, honestly, it had nothing to do with the fact that the Padres slipped back into a first-place tie with the Diamondbacks after the second game of a three-game series with the team that they have essentially been attached to the hip with in the National League West standings.
No, the aggravation in question involves two players who figure to play significant roles in the team's push towards a third-consecutive postseason appearance -- outfielder Milton Bradley and starter Chris Young.
Bradley was ejected from the game by plate umpire Phil Cuzzi in the fifth inning when he struck out on an 0-2 breaking ball with the bases loaded, a strikeout that occurred with the Padres trailing 5-1 and with a lot of game left to go.
Bradley stared at Cuzzi after the strikeout and didn't promptly leave the batter's box and, according to Bradley, never once said anything about the location of the curveball thrown by Diamondbacks' starting pitcher Doug Davis.
"I said, 'I'm not arguing with you,'" Bradley said. "I didn't argue balls and strikes for him [Cuzzi] to warrant kicking me out. In a ballgame of this magnitude, you can't kick me out of this game."
The Padres (76-62) would only get one run in the inning after Bradley's ejection, that on a sacrifice fly later in the inning by Mike Cameron. That would be the last time that San Diego came close to scoring off Davis (13-11), who is 3-0 against the Padres this season.
As for Young (9-6) -- who allowed five runs, all coming on home runs by Tony Clark and Eric Byrnes in 4 1/3 innings -- he's been frustrated by how long it's taking him to reclaim the mechanics and command that made him so successful before his oblique injury sidelined him in July, followed by the subsequent tightness in his lower back last month.
"It's frustrating because I don't want it to take too long. ... Maybe my expectations have been too high," Young said. "I'm not as consistent with my location. My mechanics get out of sync and it's hard to work on it between starts. I know I can be better."
It's not as if Young was awful, though the early home runs by Clark -- who has hit four home runs off the 6-foot-10 right-hander this season -- and Byrnes put him and his team in an early hole against Davis.
Young walked the first two batters he faced (Stephen Drew and Orlando Hudson), doing so after throwing nine of his first 10 pitches for strikes. He nearly got out of the inning, getting Byrnes to hit into a double play. But Clark jumped on a ball up in the strike zone for a 2-0 lead.
Young then allowed a three-run home run to Byrnes in the third inning, though manager Bud Black was encouraged by the way he pitched thereafter, especially in a fourth inning that saw Young use just 10 pitches to get three outs.
"I think Chris' stuff was better than we've seen his last few starts," Black said. "He felt fine. I think he was a little rusty, as evidenced by his ball-strike ratio (43-26). But I liked the way he threw the fourth. He got over 90 mph a few times ... which we haven't seen lately.
"I think the stuff is improving. Now we've got to combine the stuff and the command."
For his part, Young feels like he's making progress. It's just not at the rate he considers fast enough, especially now that the Padres are in the stretch run of the regular season.
"It's a little better but not where I need to be ... it's a little discouraging," Young said. "It's hard to swallow. Physically, I felt good. I threw some good pitches but overall I'm not satisfied."
That's the same sentiment Bradley was left with after his ejection by Cuzzi during what was a critical point in a critical series that ends Wednesday when San Diego pitcher Jake Peavy takes the mound on three days' rest against the Diamondbacks.
Bradley spoke with reporters at length about what he perceived is a slight from umpires based on incidents in his past.
"I sincerely believe that anyone else on our team in that situation doesn't get kicked out," Bradley said. "I guess it's on reputation. All that I want is to have the same set of rules as everyone else. I'm sad and disappointed."
Davis -- who allowed one run on six hits over seven innings -- said that the pitch he made to Bradley was a tough one for a hitter to reach.
"Not over the middle," Davis said when asked the location of the pitch that he threw to Bradley. "Cuzzi is one of those guys that doesn't expand his plate very much -- when it's a ball, it's a ball. I felt it was a strike, but it was a pitcher's pitch, a tough pitch to hit."
By Davis' count, Bradley has been ejected from four different games that he started, two in the Major Leagues.
"I made a pitcher's pitch and it was something that maybe frustrated him," Davis said. "From what I hear he's a great teammate and a good person to talk to, he just gets in his moods like everyone else and gets emotional when it comes to balls and strikes."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.