Jeff Smith 5:30 p.m., Sept. 17
Law of averages, what goes up must come down, it all comes out even in the end, and so on, right? Well, not so much in baseball, but after running off six straight victories at Chase Field, the Padres have since dropped two in a row to the Arizona Diamondbacks, losing on Tuesday by the score of 6-2.
With the game briefly in control, the Padres lost the lead and never could recover. Both starting pitchers - Edinson Volquez of the Padres and Trevor Cahill of the Diamondbacks - went six innings and both figured in the decision.
The first inning was unremarkable, but in the top of the second inning, the Padres had a good scoring chance. Carlos Quentin - back in the lineup in spite of a sore knee - singled to open the inning. Yonder Alonso then grounded into a double-play, which became crucial after Mark Kotsay doubled the next at-bat, which would have driven in a run.
Kotsay went to third base on a wild pitch and Will Venable drew a walk, to extend the Padres chances of scoring in the second inning. But John Baker flew out to left field, and the Padres came up empty.
In the fourth inning, however, the Padres did get on the board. With one out, Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso drew back-to-back walks. After Mark Kotsay struck out, back-to-back singles by Will Venable and John Baker plated first Quentin and then Alonso, and the Padres took a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Diamondbacks got a run, when Justin Upton opened the frame with a double and then Miguel Montero also doubled, plating Upton. After four, the Diamondbacks cut the Padres lead in half, 2-1.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Padres starter Edinson Volquez ran into some trouble. John McDonald opened the frame with a single, and Trevor Cahill sacrificed McDonald to second base.
Adam Eaton then hit a triple, plating McDonald, and subsequently scored on a balk by Volquez. After Aaron Hill lined out to center, Justin Upton doubled and Volquez hit Miguel Montero with an errant curve ball.
Paul Goldschmidt laced a double to right field, driving home Upton, and Arizona had all of the runs they would need after five innings. The Diamondbacks led the Padres 4-2 and the Padres had no offensive answer after that.
Volquez was lifted after six innings with a line of four runs on eight hits and five punch-outs, but no walks. While the walk has been a nemesis of Edinson's starts, his pitch count has also been an issue, and he left the game after throwing 113 pitches. Volquez has made it clear that one of his goals is to go deep into games, and high pitch counts have limited his success in that area.
Cahill also went six innings, giving up the two runs on five hits and four walks while striking out four. He gave way to three Diamondbacks relievers and they combined to shut the Padres down giving up only two hits.
Arizona added on in the bottom of the eighth inning off of Padres reliever Brad Boxberger. Boxberger opened the frame by hitting Miguel Montero with a pitch, and two outs later, Ryan Wheeler tripled in Montero and then scored on a throwing error by Logan Forsythe.
The Padres went down in order in the ninth inning and the 6-2 score held up. Edinson Volquez fell to 10-11 while Trevor Cahill improved to 12-11.
Pitcher Andrew Cashner has been shut down for the season. Cashner's fastball had noticeably lost velocity after coming off of the disabled list with a strained lat, and the six-man rotation will now become a normal five-man rotation to compensate for the loss of the starter. Both Andrew and the Padres expect for Cashner to be perfectly healthy entering spring training next year.
On Thursday, the Padres will face the Diamondbacks in the finale of the three-game series. The Padres have Clayton Richard (13-12, 3.74) facing Tyler Scaggs (1-2, 5.55) of the Diamondbacks. Game is in progress (get-away day, apparently), and you can listen on XX 1090 AM, as always. If your cable provider carries Fox Sports San Diego, then you can watch there, but you won't see the lovely and talented Leila Rahimi on the sidelines, as she has bolted for Fox Sports in Houston (she is from Texas, so perhaps this is a homecoming of sorts), I'll miss you, Leila. Of course, if you are a Time Warner or AT&T U-Verse customer, you've never probably even seen or heard Leila. And if you're a Time Warner customer, you won't be seeing the NFL game tonight either, because apparently they think that you hate sports altogether. But you would have liked Leila, trust me.