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Garland victim of errors, long balls in loss

Garland victim of errors, long balls in loss

PHOENIX -- It was only after several minutes of trying to explain how the Padres tried in futility to chase down Stephen Drew's inside-the-park home run on Monday when Padres manager Bud Black quit trying to make sense of it all.

"It didn't look right all the way around," Black said.

To be clear, Black was talking about Drew's two-run home run that bounced off a rail in center field and allowed him and another runner to score in the Diamondbacks' 6-3 victory before a sold-out crowd of 49,192 at Chase Field.

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In the interest of fairness, though, Black could have very well been describing the general results on Opening Day, a day in which the Padres defense, offense and nearly everything else essentially failed them on a sun-kissed day.

For openers, this looked like a clunker.

The Padres were handcuffed by D-backs pitcher Dan Haren, who allowed one run over seven innings and retired 14 consecutive hitters. Haren dazzled the Padres not with his usual fastball-slider combination, but more with his two and four-seam fastballs and some cutters.

"You know it's going to be a game where you have to grind things out when Dan Haren is pitching," said Padres leadoff hitter Tony Gwynn, who went 0-for-4.

The defense, expected to be a strength this season, according to Black, was charged with two errors -- one by third baseman Chase Headley and one by shortstop Everth Cabrera -- that led to four unearned runs.

And those go-go Padres, who were a hit in Spring Training with their assertiveness on the bases? It's hard to steal first base, as the joke goes. The Padres had three baserunners in the first eight innings.

Adrian Gonzalez and Kyle Blanks made things a bit more interesting with solo home runs in the ninth inning off D-backs reliever Bob Howry, but by then, it was far too late. The Blanks home run, which landed on the concourse out in center field, was estimated at 416 feet.

But this wasn't much of a day for offense.

Neither Black nor starting pitcher Jon Garland (0-1) felt exceptionally bad about the way the right-hander pitched. His command was amiss early in the game, which led him to 86 pitches after four innings and an early exit. Garland was hurt by three curveballs that, in his opinion, didn't curve nearly enough.

"The curveball usually comes when you're out of Arizona," said Garland with a smirk, knowing as much after having spent most of last season pitching for Arizona.

"I felt good. I made some pretty good pitches and some bad ones. You're going to have games like this, it's how you respond. I couldn't get us out of it."

Garland was referring to two hits he allowed -- two big hits -- that came with two outs and two strikes. The first was a two-run single to Miguel Montero in the first inning, when the Arizona catcher went down and got a pitch that was down and in.

The inning was extended when Cabrera was charged with an error on a ball hit to him by Justin Upton on a hit-and-run. Cabrera looked as though he wanted to flip the ball over to David Eckstein at second base but bobbled it. He recovered to throw the ball to first base but Upton was safe.

Three batters later, Montero's hit made it 2-0.

The other two-out, two-strike damage came in the fourth inning, when Drew drove a ball, a curveball, to deep center field. The ball hit off a rail out in center field where a sliver of seats extends out over the field. The ball caromed back toward left field, where Blanks had to race over to retrieve it.

"That was a such a rare kick off the railing," Black said.

Haren opened that inning by reaching base on a strange play where Headley was charged with an error. The ball was hit about halfway down the third base line and Headley came in and gathered it but hesitated and threw low to first base. Gonzalez looked like he felt the ball was foul as he was unable to scoop the one-hopper.

Two batters later, Drew banged a ball off the railing in center field for a 6-0 advantage.

"It's a play I can make," Gonzalez said. "They don't get those four [unearned] runs then we might still be playing."

Garland also allowed a two-run home run to Mark Reynolds in the third inning. That hit also came with two outs. But Garland didn't feel nearly as bad about that one and to that hitter, even on a first-pitch curveball, given Reynolds hit 44 home runs a year ago.

"I hung it," said Garland, who allowed two earned runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. "That guy puts a lot of backspin on the ball. ... That's going to hang in every 'park and every state."

Of course, Garland wasn't exactly pitching against a cast of strangers. He played for the Diamondbacks until September. Manager A.J. Hinch had a good idea of how Garland would go about trying to attack the D-backs hitters.

"We wanted to work Garland up the middle, we knew he was going to pitch us away we knew he'd come in a little bit and when he got into trouble he would go to his off speed," Hunch said. "So we stayed with our plan and we didn't give up the inning when we didn't get big hits early and found a way to get on the scoreboard with two outs."

That's something the Padres struggled to do. Headley and Gonzalez each had thwo hits but the rest of the offense went a combined 1-for-24 and didn't take a single walk. This had a lot to do with Haren, who worked with a slightly different blueprint than the one the Padres remember from the past.

"Haren pitched really, really well," Black said. "We couldn't get anything going. We didn't have a lot of good swings."

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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