Young, Padres struggle against D-backs

Young, Padres struggle against D-backs

PHOENIX -- There weren't any congratulatory pats on the back Thursday in the visiting clubhouse at Chase Field, not that there would have been any following San Diego's 7-4 loss to the Diamondbacks.

That the Padres completed their longest road trip so far this season with a 3-3 record against the Rockies and Diamondbacks gave San Diego little reason to celebrate, even if a .500 road record is certainly no simple accomplishment.

Here's the thing: The Padres felt that they should have done better against their National League West brethren. Playing .500 baseball, in their eyes, simply won't cut it.

"We feel as though we are better than that," manager Bud Black said succinctly, sitting behind his desk in the visiting clubhouse. "We saw some good things on this road trip."

And some strange ones, none perhaps stranger than Arizona's improbable 3-2 victory over the Padres on Wednesday when, in a game that saw Jake Peavy strike out 16, the Diamondbacks won in their final at-bat.

That said, the events that took place on warm evening in the desert Thursday -- the temperature at game time was 90 degrees -- merited some bewilderment, especially after Padres starter Chris Young didn't make it out of the sixth inning, allowing two home runs to Tony Clark, walking three, uncorking two wild pitches and committing an error.

This from a guy who, up until two weeks ago, had tied the Major League record for the most consecutive road starts (25) without a loss. Now he has two, although the damage from Thursday's loss, Young said, paled in comparison to his April 15 start against the Dodgers when he allowed four earned runs in two innings.

One of the first things that Young did after heading into the clubhouse on Thursday was go straight to the video machine to see how much his location was amiss. And while he was disheartened, Young said he wasn't as off as he initially thought.

"Tonight felt a lot better than the game in LA," said Young, who had a 42-pitch second inning in that game. "I was terrible in LA. I wasn't terrible tonight. It was mislocation, you can get away with that a little."

Staked to a 3-0 lead after Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run home run in the first inning, giving him seven this month and a club record 23 RBIs for April, Young allowed three runs in the second inning when he walked a batter, committed an error that led to one unearned run and allowed two hits.

"It was sort of similar to the LA game where he looked a little out of sync," Black said. "I think he threw some good pitches. It's uncharacteristic for him to be behind in the count. I think the [pitches] that hurt him were down and in."

The Diamondbacks (12-11) went ahead for good in the fourth inning when Clark hit the first of his two home runs on a pitch fastball that Young said afterwards was a "decent" pitch.

Two innings later, Clark added a two-run homer off a slider that Young wanted down toward the left-handed hitter's back foot. But the ball caught just enough of the plate so that Clark was able to muscle it over the wall in right field.

The Padres' offense -- which after its early-season doldrums appeared to come alive on this road trip -- could not do much with Arizona starter Livan Hernandez (2-1), who was able to survive Gonzalez's early blow to go seven innings, allowing three runs.

This certainly wasn't the way the Padres -- after winning three of their first four games on the road trip -- envisioned this series going, though they are not about to bemoan this 3-3 trip for too long.

"We did go .500 on this road trip and that's not bad," said Padres left fielder Jose Cruz Jr., who had three hits to raise his average to .367. "We could have done better. But we were in every game and a lot of people contributed offensively and defensively. Right now ... you want to hit on the positives."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.