If the Arizona Diamondbacks are to bounce back from a rout and draw closer to the San Diego Padres in the NL West race, then they’ll need Doug Davis to continue his dominance since the All-Star break.
Davis takes the mound for Arizona (76-63) against San Diego’s Chris Young when the top two teams in the West continue their final regular-season series on Tuesday night.
On Monday, San Diego (76-61) tied a season-high by hitting five homers, including two solo shots from Brian Giles, in a 10-2 victory. Geoff Blum added a two-run homer and Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff also went deep as the Padres moved one game ahead of the Diamondbacks in the West.
“It’s a sprint now to the end,” Giles said. “We still want to continue to try to win series, and the first game of a series is always big.”
Greg Maddux allowed two runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings to pick up his 344th career win, his first against the Diamondbacks since Sept. 7, 2000 and first in Phoenix in 11 starts.
“When you’ve got 340-something wins, to not have one here in this park, it’s incredible to me,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “I’ve only seen him pitch here twice, but he’s such a great pitcher it’s hard for me to believe.”
Arizona rookie Micah Owings gave up four hits - all homers - in three innings and failed for the third time this season to get a win over the Padres, who are looking for their third straight West title.
“Tomorrow’s a new day,” Owings said after Arizona lost for the 10th time in 15 games. “This team is not going to drag and think about it too much. We’ve got some games left. If it was the last game of the season, then we could kick ourselves, but this team will bounce back.”
Since July 13, Arizona’s Davis (12-11, 4.09 ERA) is tied with Colorado’s Jeff Francis, Atlanta’s Tim Hudson and San Diego’s Jake Peavy for the most wins in the NL with seven. Davis and Francis each have just one loss in that span while Hudson and Peavy have two apiece.
On Thursday, Davis beat the Padres for the second time in as many starts this season. The left-hander gave up three runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings as the Diamondbacks held on for an 8-7 win in San Diego and avoided a four-game sweep.
“He’s been about as good as it gets in the league,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site of Davis’ second-half success, which started with a home victory over the Padres on July 13.
Davis is 3-0 with a 3.21 ERA in his last six starts against San Diego dating to June 1, 2005. He also will be trying to match his career high for wins in a season set with Milwaukee in 2004.
The Padres’ Mike Cameron was just 1-for-5 on Monday, but is hitting .349 (15-for-43) with five doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs in his career versus Davis.
Young (9-5, 2.38), who opposed Davis on Thursday, came into that game with a major league-best 2.12 ERA, and responded with one of his poorest outings. The right-hander gave up only two hits in 4 1-3 innings, but was tagged for five runs and issued a season-high six walks.
He said a strained oblique that caused him to miss a start in early August wasn’t hindering him.
“It’s a little tight right now but on the mound, I didn’t think about it,” Young told the Padres’ official Web site. “I was rusty, that was it. I dug us in a hole and that was tough to overcome.”
In seven starts over the second half of the season, Young is 1-2 with a 3.47 ERA. He was 8-3 with a 2.00 ERA in 17 first-half outings.
Against the Diamondbacks this season, Young is 0-2 with a 6.32 ERA in three starts despite holding them to a .179 batting average.
The Diamondbacks may want to start Tony Clark at first base in this contest — all three of his career hits against Young have been home runs.