Padres fall in Young's return from DL
Righty goes five innings, but loses decision to former teammate
LOS ANGELES -- The calendar turned ahead to September on Monday, leaving Padres starting pitcher Chris Young to ponder how he could get away with turning the pages back to start all over again.
There are varying points in the season where Young would like to flip the page back to: before he was felled for 59 games by an Albert Pujols line drive that hit him in the face, or even before a recent forearm strain that sidelined him for 18 games.
"It's been a long season," Young said.
Where did the time go? Check the disabled list, where Young has spent more time than he cares to recall, which is why he was itching to start Monday against the Dodgers, his first start since Aug. 10, when the forearm first felt cranky.
The cruel irony is that Young, who allowed four runs in five innings in the Padres' 5-2 loss to the Dodgers on Monday, is running out of time. There are only 25 games left in the regular season, and he certainly can't start them all, even if he'd like to.
"I want to take the ball and try to finish strong," Young said. "I want to keep moving forward and try to finish strong and get ready for next year."
Young (4-5) felt like he took a step forward against the Dodgers (68-70), who provided the Padres (53-84) a glimpse of their recent past with former pitcher Greg Maddux, traded away to Los Angeles on Aug. 19, making the start against them.
Maddux (7-11) allowed a run in the first inning and then settled down, moving the ball in and out of the strike zone, fielding his position like only he does and even slapping an RBI single to right field in a two-run second inning.
"I thought Greg pitched a very typical Greg game," Padres manager Bud Black said of his former pitcher, who notched career win No. 354, tying him with Rogers Clemens for eighth on the all-time victory list.
Maddux allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings before his bullpen bailed him out. Young, who threw 80 pitches -- he was on a pitch count of about 75 -- set down eight of the last nine batters he faced. All told, he allowed four runs on six hits with three walks.
"I thought there were some good signs, I thought the curveball and change were good," Black said. "His fastball velocity was fine, he held up through 80 pitches. ... There were a few at-bats where he looked a little rusty."
Young, staked to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Kevin Kouzmanoff's RBI single, gave one run back in the bottom of the first on James Loney's RBI single. The Dodgers then scored twice in the second inning on an RBI double by Angel Berroa and Maddux's RBI single.
The hit by Berroa came with one out and Casey Blake on second base. It was a flare into short center field that glanced off rookie second baseman Matt Antonelli's glove and got past rookie center fielder Will Venable as Blake scored.
"I laid out at the last second, just dove and hoped," Antonelli said.
Luckily for Antonelli, recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Portland, his first Major League game held more excitement than a near-miss on defense.
In his first at-bat with one out in the second inning, Antonelli lined a single to left-center field off Maddux. Antonelli became the 12th player to make his Major League debut with the Padres this season.
"It was cool," Antonelli said. "You want to get that first hit out of the way in any season. It's amazing to get it off him. He's one of those guys you look forward to facing. He's got a pretty good two-seam fastball."
Not that anyone had to tell San Diego catcher Nick Hundley as much. Promoted from Triple-A Portland on July 4, Hundley caught a handful of Maddux's outings with the Padres. How did trying to hit him compare to catching him?
"It's definitely different," Hundley said. "When you're catching him ... you know what he's trying to do. But he's been doing it so long, everyone knows what he's going to do and still can't hit him."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.