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Padres get to D-backs' Webb early

Padres get to D-backs' Webb

SAN DIEGO -- It wasn't the law of averages that caught up to Arizona's Brandon Webb on Tuesday, but more so the law of physics that derailed his first attempt at 20 victories against the Padres at PETCO Park.

Webb, the sinkerballer who is regarded as the front-runner for the National League Cy Young Award, left with a sinking feeling when the Padres patiently waited for him to elevate pitches, which ultimately led to their 9-2 victory over the D-backs.

The Padres jumped on Webb (19-5) for five runs in the third inning, three coming when Brian Giles turned on a fastball up in the strike zone, hitting it into the seats in right field. As for Webb, he allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings.

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"He probably didn't have his best stuff if you asked him. But even when he doesn't have his best stuff, he still has quality stuff that can get you out," said Giles, who finished with three hits for the second straight game.

"I thought we did a good job as an offense of waiting it out for balls up in the zone and out over the plate, and we were able to get some good hits off him."

It was five days ago when Webb essentially manhandled the Padres at Chase Field, as he tossed seven scoreless innings in a 4-1 victory. That start wasn't unlike many of his other starts this season, especially since the All-Star break.

Webb entered Tuesday's game having won his last six starts and hadn't lost since June 22 against Minnesota. Webb had been so good that he had allowed just five runs in his last five starts covering 38 innings.

It took only one forgettable inning Tuesday to match that, as the Padres sent nine batters to the plate in that third inning, rattling off five hits with a walk. The key blow, of course, was Giles' three-run home run.

But some credit goes to Adrian Gonzalez, who saw seven pitches before earning a walk. That set the stage for Kevin Kouzmanoff's two-run double that made it a 5-0 game. And while Chase Headley would eventually ground out to end the inning, he managed to see 10 pitches during his at-bat, which only added to Webb's pitch count.

"You've got to recognize it really early if you're going to lay off it," San Diego manager Bud Black said of Webb's sinker. "It was a very good inning against the guy who looks like he's going to win the Cy Young."

Like Giles, Headley and the other Padres hitters didn't chase after Webb's sinker all that much, nor did they expand the strike zone. Instead, they let Webb do it.

"He's a good pitcher ... when you have 19 wins and there's still a month left in the year, you're doing things right," Headley said. "I think you've got to take advantage of things like that when you can."

The Padres tacked on three additional runs after Webb departed, as Kouzmanoff added an RBI double, his second of the game, in the seventh inning. Headley followed with an RBI single to center field, raising his average to .267. Headley has hit in 18 of his last 20 games and has raised his average 32 points since Aug. 3.

"I felt good every time at the plate," Headley said.

The same couldn't be said for Webb on the mound, who never located a level of comfort on Tuesday.

"It was just brutal. It was not fun and I just wasn't making any pitches at all," Webb said regarding the third inning. "I felt fine, but I just didn't have very good stuff. Couldn't get ahead, which I've been pretty good at the past few games, and that's always tough pitching from behind. Curveball and changeup weren't really there either. All the way around it wasn't very good."

San Diego starter Chad Reineke (2-1) earned the victory, allowing two runs and two hits in his five innings. He struck out four and walked four, which is something that bothered him after the game.

"I walked too many; that's something I need to improve on," said Reineke, who joined the Padres last month in the deal with Houston for Randy Wolf. "You can't have those lapses where you can't find the strike zone."

Aside from allowing a two-run home run to Mark Reynolds, Reineke mostly avoided any trouble. The bullpen picked him up, as relievers Clay Hensley, Mike Adams, Brian Falkenborg, Heath Bell and Brett Tomko worked the final four innings, allowing one hit.

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

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