On a day when the Arizona Diamondbacks had their season high-tying win streak snapped with their most lopsided defeat of the year, the struggling San Diego Padres capitalized with their best offensive showing of the season.
After pulling within one half-game of the NL West lead, the Padres look to reclaim sole possession of first place when they open a three-game series against the Diamondbacks at Petco Park on Tuesday.
San Diego (56-48) scored 11 runs in the first inning on Sunday, and held off Houston 18-11. The Padres had scored more than five runs only once in 16 games since the All-Star break, but erupted for their highest run total since an 18-2 win over Florida on Aug. 23, 2002.
Their 19 hits were the team’s most since having 19 in a 15-12 loss to Atlanta on July 14, 2006.
“We took the walks, we got the hits, and when they made mistakes, we did damage,” said Mike Cameron, who went 3-for-5, including a two-run homer and two runs scored in the opening frame.
Despite the win, the Padres still are tied for last in the majors with a .244 team batting average and are near the bottom with 444 runs scored. San Diego’s third victory in 10 games, though, helped it close the gap on the division co-leading Diamondbacks (58-49) and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
If the Dodgers lose to San Francisco on Tuesday, the Padres will have the sole lead atop the division—not just by percentage points—for the first time since July 12 with a victory over the Diamondbacks.
Arizona used an eight-game winning streak to move atop the West, but had its run snapped with a 14-0 defeat to Atlanta on Sunday. It was the Diamondbacks’ largest margin of defeat since an 18-4 loss to the New York Mets on Aug. 24, 2005.
“Everybody says you’d rather get beat by 14 than one,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site. “Well, it doesn’t feel very good when you get beat by 14 runs, but we just have to look at it as one.
“We’ve been playing well, we have an off-day (Monday), and then we have a couple big series in front of us.”
Arizona hopes to get back on track with its ace on the mound as Brandon Webb (9-8, 3.23 ERA) looks to win back-to-back starts for the first time since a three-start win streak May 26-June 6. Despite struggling a bit with his command and issuing three walks on Wednesday, the right-hander held Florida to six hits in seven innings of a 7-0 victory - his first win in five July starts.
“Sometimes that’s the way it works out,” Webb said. “You know you don’t have your best stuff, so you tend to concentrate a little bit more and battle, and that’s what I did.”
In 17 career starts against the Padres, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is 3-6 with a 3.72 ERA. He pitched well in two starts against them in April, going eight innings in both without receiving a decision, but lost to them on July 15 as he allowed a season-high 11 hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-0 defeat.
Webb lost to Justin Germano (6-5, 4.20) in that game, and will be facing him again on Tuesday. Germano held Arizona to four hits in 6 1-3 innings, posting his only victory in his last seven outings.
On Wednesday, the right-hander gave up six runs in five innings of a 10-2 defeat at Colorado. Germano fell to 1-5 with a 6.18 ERA after going 5-0 with a 2.36 ERA in his first seven starts this year.