San Diego's rally comes up short

San Diego's rally comes up short

PHOENIX -- Padres All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez missed most of Tuesday night's game against the D-backs at Chase Field because of the flu.

But with the game on the line in the eighth inning, he told manager Bud Black that he was available to pinch-hit during one of the key points of the ballgame, which the Padres lost, 6-5. But their 10-game winning streak didn't end with a whimper, that's for sure, as they almost came back from a six-run deficit for the second straight game.

"I kept taking my medication," Gonzalez reported afterward about what he was doing during the game. "My eyes started feeling a little bit stronger. My legs started feeling a little bit stronger. They weren't shaking like they were during the day. I tried hitting a few balls and it felt OK. I didn't feel 100 percent, but it was good enough to go pinch-hit. I didn't feel well enough to go on the field, though."

Before the game, A-Gonzo was curled in a clubhouse lounge chair covered with a blanket and wearing a hooded jacket during another in a series of 100-degree days in the desert. He had started all of the previous 45 games the Padres have played this season and said that if he continues to feel better he'd be back in the lineup on Wednesday night for the finale of the three-game series.

But it would come down to a pinch-hitting Gonzalez coming off that sick chair to face D-backs reliever Juan Gutierrez with the bases loaded and two outs after the Padres scored four times in the eighth against four Arizona pitchers. But he just missed, hitting a high fly to deep right field that ended the rally and the inning.

"In my mind, I had him probably too ill to play," said Black, who batted Gonzalez for Chris Burke, the 10th batter of an inning that the shortstop opened with his first homer of the season. "It didn't surprise me about Adrian, he likes to play. When I said he could pinch-hit I told him I'd hold him for later in the inning."

And wouldn't you know it? The Padres, who trailed, 6-0, after seven because Max Scherzer, the D-backs right-handed starter, whiffed 10 and allowed just six hits, ended the game with the tying run on third when Arizona center fielder Chris Young raced back and snared Kevin Kouzmanoff's drive to the fence.

On Monday, the Padres wiped out a six-run deficit with five runs in the eighth and another in the ninth to defeat the D-backs, 9-7, in 10 innings.

Though Black was happy with the effort of his offense, he admitted that trying to climb out of a deep hole so often isn't the proper way of playing winning baseball.

"It's not a great strategy," he said. "I'd prefer it the other way. But I like the way the guys are responding. They keep playing."

The loss was their 12th out of the last 13 on the road, dating back to April 28. And the winning streak was fashioned by a 9-0 homestand at PETCO Park that ended Sunday with a three-game sweep of the Cubs. The Padres (23-23) have won 10 in a row overall at home, where their record is 17-6. They are 6-17 on the road.

In this one, Padres starter Kevin Correia actually matched the victorious Scherzer (2-3) through the first four scoreless innings. But the D-backs plated a pair of runs in the fifth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Scherzer and Gerardo Parra. The right-handed Correia (1-3) didn't make it through the sixth as the D-backs scored four times, including Mark Reynolds' two-run homer, his 14th.

Correia took the loss, allowing six runs on nine hits with a walk, five strikeouts and the Reynolds homer. Scherzer went seven-plus innings, allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and the 10 strikeouts.

Burke opened the eighth with his homer, and Tony Gwynn Jr. followed with a pinch-hit single, chasing Scherzer. Gwynn, who added another single to open the ninth, has been on base five times (three hits and two walks) and scored all five times since he joined the Padres last Thursday in a trade with the Brewers.

As the D-backs paraded relievers into the game that inning, the rally included runs scored on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and a wild pitch. But it was Gonzalez who nearly took Gutierrez's third pitch into the right-field seats.

Asked if A-Gonzo's weakened condition might have contributed to that ball not going out, Black said he doubted it.

"Adrian just missed his," he said. "He just missed it. I've seen a lot of guys do some miraculous things when they're not feeling well."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.