LeBlanc's night spoiled as Friars fall
Starter tosses six solid frames; Bell gives up go-ahead runs
SAN DIEGO -- At a time of the season where running short on warm bodies is seldom an issue, Padres manager Bud Black has been forced to get creative with his lineup these past two days as well as closely scrutinize the innings of his relievers.
"It's sort of strange in September," Black said.
It's been over two weeks since the Padres and every other team were allowed to expand their rosters from 25 up to 40 players, though that hasn't necessarily helped the Padres, who on Tuesday fell to the D-backs, 4-2, at PETCO Park.
Outfielder Kyle Blanks is done for the season with an injury to his arch. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, second on the team in RBIs, is nursing a strained left calf. Second baseman David Eckstein (a sore neck) and outfielder Will Venable (flu-like symptoms) have been late scratches the past two days.
In all fairness, a roster brimming with healthy players might not have helped the Padres, who got two runs and very little else against 14-game winner Dan Haren and could not survive the mighty swing of Mark Reynolds, who hit his 42nd home run.
"We knew tonight was going to be a battle with Haren out there," Padres third baseman Chase Headley said. "You know you're going to have to scratch for everything that you get. Tonight, I think we just got beat."
With the loss, the Padres' streak of six consecutive series victories ended as closer Heath Bell, who has a 6.75 ERA in September, allowed a single to Miguel Montero to start the ninth inning and later allowed a long two-run homer to Reynolds, who earlier in the at-bat, couldn't catch up with a fastball from Bell.
"I threw the same one [fastball] and he swung through it," Bell said. "Right now ... I'm going through a tough spell."
Trailing 1-0 against Haren (14-8), the Padres scored twice in the fourth inning as Headley knocked in a run with an RBI single and Edgar Gonzalez did the same thing, only with a sacrifice fly.
That gave left-handed starter Wade LeBlanc -- who wasn't available after the game -- a chance to hold the D-backs (64-82) down until he could turn over the ball and a lead to a bullpen that has been used a lot in recent days.
LeBlanc, who allowed one run on three hits over six innings, didn't back down after he allowed a solo home run to Eric Byrnes in the third inning. He worked a scoreless sixth inning, getting Stephen Drew, Justin Upton and Montero in order.
LeBlanc, who has allowed three earned runs in 19 innings in three starts since returning from Triple-A Portland, has impressed his manager with the way he's aggressively gone after hitters.
"It was more fastballs again. He located it and threw some [changeups]. It comes down to fastball command," Black said. "He had some funky swings against him."
The D-backs tied the score with a run in the seventh inning against Padres reliever Luis Perdomo, who after getting two strikeouts to start the inning, allowed Brandon Allen to bounce a ball toward second baseman Luis Rodriguez.
The ball stayed up in the air just long enough for Allen to beat the throw to first on what was a bang-bang play. Byrnes then doubled to left-center, allowing Allen to score to tie the game. But Byrnes, seeing the ball got past catcher Nick Hundley, attempted to score on the play.
Hundley alertly grabbed the ball as he was sliding into the Arizona dugout, flipped it out onto the dirt, retrieved it and threw a short-hop ball to a sliding Gonzalez, who was covering the plate, to get Byrnes as he slid home.
Had Hundley -- with the ball in his glove -- fully landed in the dugout, the play would have been ruled dead and Byrnes would have been awarded home.
"That was a great play on Nick's part, a great play on Adrian's part to short-hop that ball ... that saved a run from scoring," Black said. "Nick showed some athleticism."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.