Padres' offense shut down by Nolasco
Headley homers, but San Diego drops opener of three-game set
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres came home from a road trip and lost another low-scoring game.
Two runs is all Padres starter Greg Maddux saw come across the plate while he was on the mound and one of them was unearned. Nevertheless, he witnessed his teammates squander his effort by producing only one run in a 3-1 loss to the Florida Marlins on Monday at PETCO Park.
"It was a normal outing for him," catcher Luke Carlin said. "He kept us in the game. His ball was down for the most part and he had all of his pitches working. It's too bad we couldn't put more runs across for him."
Maddux's record dropped to 3-7 on the season. The Marlins' Ricky Nolasco, on the other hand, collected his 10th win of the year by limiting the Padres' offense through eight innings.
"His stuff looked the same," Padres manager Bud Black said of Nolasco. "The difference tonight was the variation of his breaking ball was much better and the fastball command was pretty good also. He spotted the fastball and that breaking ball has some break to it. You saw a couple of our guys buckle a little bit. I've seen him a little bit erratic, but he sort of fine-tuned it tonight and he brought it into the strike zone."
Nolasco allowed one run on five hits with seven strikeouts while throwing 106 pitches. His performance prevented any consistent offense from being produced by a Padres team that has struggled to score runs all year.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Marlins struck first with a two-run home run to left field by Jorge Cantu that also scored Luis Gonzalez, who reached on a fielder's choice. The two-run lead was cut to one in the bottom of the fifth inning after the Padres' Chase Headley took the first pitch he saw over the right-field wall for his fifth home run of the season.
"It's been OK," Headley said of his times at the plate. "There have been some good and some bad. I'm trying to learn from all the bads that are going on out there. I feel like I need to be getting on base a little bit more and need to keep the strikeouts down. But on the other hand, I think I've hit the ball with power well and I've done some other things as well. There are some goods and some bads but all you can do is go out there and learn and try to get better every day."
Headley hasn't had problems hitting for power in a ballpark known for preventing hitters from racking up major power numbers.
"When you try to worry about where you're hitting and try to make an adjustment for that, you are just going to get yourself into trouble," Headley said. "My approach is the same here as it is anywhere else. If you hit a ball here and it's gone in some places but not here, you just live with it. Anytime you try to go up there and cater to a ballpark, you're going to get yourself in trouble."
Unfortunately, like any competitor, Headley would rather see some W's added to the win column before any of the personal successes.
"I want to win," he said. "I think everybody is in the same boat whether you've been here 10 years or 10 days. Everybody wants to win and right now we're just not finding ways to do that. We got to do the small things to get the wins, that's been the thing that's missing."
Even in a loss, the Padres did have a call go their way in the top of the seventh inning when Hanley Ramirez hit what originally looked to be an RBI double down the third-base line. But the crowd and the Padres reacted to the call with disdain and it prompted Black to leave the dugout to have a discussion.
It paid off for the Padres as the umpires reversed the call. That brought Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez out of his dugout to refute the reversal, leading to his ejection.
"From what we saw, we saw it foul," Black said. "Give the umpires credit for convening and talking about it. From Luke's reaction and looking at the umpire when he made the call, in fairness to him it was a ball right at him. I think they did a good job of putting their heads together and coming up with the right call."
Ronald P. Clark is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.