And through four innings on Tuesday night, the postseason-hopeful Padres' hurler was on his way. Then the nothing-to-lose D-backs erupted for five fifth-inning runs off of him and reliever Joe Thatcher leading to their 7-3 victory and San Diego's sixth straight defeat.
"I really felt coming into this start that it was an important game and I was going to be able to go out there and get us a win. I put myself in position going into the fifth with a [3-2] lead," said Correia, who, three innings after yielding Mark Reynolds' two run blast, allowed four of the five Arizona batters he faced in that fifth to reach base safely.
Correia (10-10) has now lost three straight outings and has been charged with five or more earned runs in each.
"From an individual standpoint, this year is going to be a disappointing year for me either way," he said. "I'm just at the point where I think what we've done this year [as a team] is way too special to waste at this point. And I really feel like we're going to turn it around any day now, and no one is really panicking at this point.
"You're going to have streaks like this; we just haven't had one all year. ... It's coming at a bad time, but luckily we still have a little leeway here."
Though that window of opportunity and the room for error is closing. The Padres' lead in the National League West standings shrank to four games -- their smallest margin in two weeks -- after second-place San Francisco's comeback win Tuesday night over Colorado.
San Diego would be better served paying no mind to the out-of-town scoreboard. The Padres' half-dozen straight losses doubled their previous worst streak this season.
"It's just not happening right now," said manager Bud Black. "The world will turn. It happens to every team."
The Padres' most recent loss can be chalked up to that fifth inning. It got off to an inauspicious start, Correia walking his pitching counterpart, Ian Kennedy, allowing a single to hot-hitting Stephen Drew and nearly a 5-4-3 double-play on a Rusty Ryal grounder.
"I walked the pitcher to lead off the inning, which I just can't do," Correia said. "Then Drew got a hit on a first-pitch changeup down, and then I got a ground ball that easily could have been a double play. Seems like we're not going getting those balls to bounce into the glove; they're just bouncing away."
Correia gave way to Thatcher with the bases loaded and one out. Thatcher, a situational lefty riding an 11-inning scoreless streak, would allow two-run hits by left-handed hitters Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra, though he was charged with only one run.
"Thatcher is no easy battle," said D-backs interim manager Kirk Gibson, "Trust me."
The Padres' frustrations appeared to boil over in the top of the sixth when, after Chris Denorfia appeared to leg out a ground ball that would have scored Ryan Ludwick from third base, Black was ejected for arguing with first-base umpire Mike Everitt.
Though Black insisted he wasn't grandstanding to send his slumping club any messages.
"Mike Everitt is one of the best umpires in the league," Black said of his second ejection in 2010 and 11th as a skipper, "but in that case I thought Chris beat the play."
San Diego hadn't been able to tack on any runs since getting to Kennedy (9-9) early in the game. The Padres grabbed a 2-0 lead off the right-hander in the first when Adrian Gonzalez plated Miguel Tejada with an opposite-field double and Ludwick singled home Gonzalez, and broke the 2-2 tie on in the fourth Chase Headley's RBI double off of the center-field wall.
Kennedy, who shut out the Padres for seven innings on Thursday, was nearly as tough on Tuesday, allowing just those three runs on seven hits over seven more frames.
The Padres added their fourth run well after his exit, in the ninth, when catcher Nick Hundley, who was only in the lineup because starter Yorvit Torrealba was scratched with back stiffness, doubled for the third consecutive at-bat, plating in-game insertion Everth Cabrera from first base.
Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.