Padres look to end skid, hold off surging D-backs

MLB

The surging Arizona Diamondbacks can take over third place in the National League West with a win Sunday in Phoenix over the San Diego Padres, which would give Arizona a three-game series sweep.

The Diamondbacks have thrived on putting together big innings in recent games, and the result is a three-game winning streak, their longest of the season. They’ve done it without the long ball, as only two of the 25 runs they’ve scored over the last three games have come via home runs.

The Diamondbacks scored four runs in the sixth inning on Saturday but needed a big defensive play for the final out of the game to escape with a 7-6 win over the Padres. A couple of pinpoint throws got the ball to catcher Carson Kelly to tag out the Padres’ Jorge Mateo at home plate for a thrilling finish.

“We did enough to win the baseball game, and that’s what matters most,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “Just these little things that guys keep doing every single night, and they’re helping us win baseball games. We’re executing at a higher level than we were, but it’s still not where we want to be. We’re going to continue plowing and going in the right direction.”

Left-hander Robbie Ray (1-2, 10.59 ERA) is set to make his fifth start of the season, trying to turn his 2020 campaign around. Ray has battled control and location problems en route to 14 walks in 17 innings of work.

He’s allowed six earned runs in each of his last two starts, and has surrendered at least one home run in each of his four starts. Ray is 5-6 with a 4.40 ERA in 17 career starts against the Padres.

The Padres have lost four in a row, their longest losing streak of the season. After enjoying good overall health the first three weeks of the season, three players have gone down with injuries the past two days.

On Friday it was closer Kirby Yates, who is on the 10-day injured list with right elbow inflammation. Manager Jayce Tingler said Yates has bone chips in the elbow.

On Saturday, outfielder Tommy Pham left the game with cramping in his calves. Later, Wil Myers left with neck and back tightness.

“We’re hoping for the best. There’s a chance, especially with Tommy (to play Sunday),” Tingler said.

To compound matter, the Padres bullpen has given up at least four earned runs in each of their last four games. They trailed 7-1 until striking for five runs in the final two innings on Saturday.

“Everything’s extremely magnified. At the end of the day, we ran into some tough arms,” the Padres’ Eric Hosmer said of the losing streak. “There’s a point in time where you have to tip your cap, it’s the big leagues.”

Right-hander Garrett Richards (1-1, 3.74 ERA) is the scheduled starter on Sunday for the Padres. Richards did not figure in the decision in the Diamondbacks’ 4-3 win over the Padres on July 26 in San Diego. He threw five scoreless innings and allowed just one hit, striking out six and walking three.

For his career, Richards is 2-0with a 1.80 ERA in five starts against the Diamondbacks.

–Field Level Media

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