Padres unable to shake off miscues in loss
Trio of errors hurts club; Headley comes inches from tying it
PHOENIX -- The Padres dropped a 4-3 decision to the D-backs on Tuesday night at Chase Field, placing them perilously close to last place in the National League West -- as they lead Arizona by only a half-game with the finale of a three-game set right back here Wednesday afternoon.And though there were myriad ways the Padres could have defeated the D-backs on Tuesday, their starter, Kevin Correia, took responsibility for the loss squarely on his own shoulders. Forget the Chase Headley eighth-inning double that hit the yellow line on top of the right-field fence and was inches away from a game-tying two-run homer. It was the double error by Correia on a third-inning play that cost his club the game, he said. "I mean, we lost by one run," Correia said. "We had our chances, but if I make that play, it's probably a different game. We should have won. It wasn't a good play. It cost us the game, pretty much." The Padres committed three costly errors in the inning, the first time they've done that in a single inning in more than four years -- since April 26, 2005, to be exact, in a 6-5 loss to the Giants in San Francisco. Second baseman Edgar Gonzalez made the other miscue, bouncing a throw to the plate that catcher Eliezer Alfonzo couldn't cleanly handle. Gonzalez, who was playing on the inner skirt of the dirt with the infield drawn in, was charged with the throwing error as Arizona starter Doug Davis scored. "I had to backhand it and come across my body to make the throw," Gonzalez said. "It didn't work out the way we wanted it to." On the previous misplay, a sacrifice bunt attempt by Davis squirted by Correia for the initial error, and when the Padres pitcher recovered, he launched the throw over the head of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Chris Young, who led off with a double, scored from second on the play. The D-backs had only six hits in the game, but they were able to make the most of all of them. "A couple of bounces go our way, and we made the most out of the opportunities and their mistakes and scored runs," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "For them to have 11 hits and make three errors and we get six hits and score four runs, this game is tough to explain sometimes. It feels better to have to try to explain it, though, after a win." Both teams have 35 victories at this juncture, but the D-backs have 49 losses, one more than the Padres, who have dropped three in a row, six out of seven and seven of their past nine. The D-backs have now won four in a row, matching their longest winning streak of the season, after losing the previous three. Victories in the first two games of this series against the Padres have guaranteed Arizona its first series victory at home since April 27-29 against the Cubs. The D-backs haven't swept a series yet this season. Padres skipper Bud Black didn't care to dwell on all the negatives for his club at this point. "I have no thoughts on that. None," Black said. "We try to focus on what we need to do and get as many wins as we can to move forward." The D-backs built a 4-1 lead in this one, but again barely held on. The Padres made a comeback in the later innings when Tony Gwynn Jr. singled home Luis Rodriguez in the seventh and Headley drove home Kevin Kouzmanoff with the second of eighth-inning-opening doubles off D-backs reliever Jon Rauch. It was the Headley shot that fell inches from tying the score at 4 and brought Black to the field to discuss the matter with umpire Joe West, the crew chief, who made the call. "The ball hit the top of the fence," West said he told Black. "He asked, 'Are you sure?' And I said, 'Yeah.'" The play was not reviewed via video because West said he clearly saw it. That step is determined by discretion of the umpires. "He told me it hit the top of the wall," Black said. "I thought it hit the top of the wall, but I just wanted to go out and see. It hit the line, and the yellow is the top of the wall. It is a site demarcation. It has to go above or over the yellow line." In any event, Kouzmanoff remained stranded on second as the next three Padres went down in order. San Diego stranded eight men in the game after leaving 11 on base in Monday's 6-5 loss. "We didn't do a good job of situational hitting," Black said. "We're going to play a lot of close games. When we do get opportunities, our conversion rate has to be a little higher so we score more runs. Defensively, when we talk about the type of games we play, it's imperative that we play as sound as we can. But that's baseball. There are physical errors in this game."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.