PHOENIX (AP)—After losing eight of their last 10 games before the All-Star break, the Arizona Diamondbacks needed a victory to start the second half of the season.
Given the circumstances, they couldn’t have been happier to face San Diego’s Greg Maddux.
And that doesn’t include two victories over him in the 2001 NL championship series, when he pitched for Atlanta.
Arizona manager Bob Melvin said he can’t explain his team’s dominance of the future Hall of Famer.
“Same way I answer it every time: I don’t know what to tell you there,” Melvin said. “I hope it continues. He’s one of the great pitchers of our time, and for some reason he hasn’t had the success in this ballpark. We’ll leave it at that.”
Maddux, 10th on the all-time list with 340 victories, has a winning record against every other NL team.
San Diego manager Bud Black cited Maddux’s struggles to throw the ball where he wanted to rather than any jinx against the Diamondbacks.
“Tonight I think his stuff was good, just missed location, and when you miss location, you’re going to get hit no matter what ballpark you pitch in,” Black said. “I think it was more a function of not hitting his spots than the ballpark or the ballclub.”
The highlight of the game came in the fifth, when Salazar scaled the fence in right field and pulled back what appeared to be a certain homer by Giles. The Diamondbacks led 4-2 at the time.
It was Salazar’s 17th major league start, and his fourth with Arizona.
“A lot of times you go back there and the ball’s 30 rows deep and it’s just kind of a courtesy run,” Salazar said. “I’ve tried hundreds of times in my career and come up empty a lot, and knocked (balls) over a couple of times. So that one hit the mitt and stuck. I had to check to make sure it was in there. It was a good feeling.”
Salazar earned a standing ovation from the crowd of 30,981.
“I pretty much was going for another ball,” said Davis, who allowed two runs in six innings.
Kouzmanoff had a double, triple and homer, and Jose Cruz Jr. homered for the Padres, who have lost four of five.
The Diamondbacks offense had sputtered during a 2-8 road trip leading into the All-Star break. But that changed against Maddux (7-7), who gave up four runs and nine hits in four innings, his second-briefest start. He walked one and struck out one.
“I pitched halfway decent, then I’d make a bad pitch with two strikes and they got me,” Maddux said. “So I felt good. This was the best I’ve felt. The balls weren’t slick or anything. I just missed location and got hit.”
Maddux retired the first two men he faced then gave up five straight hits, including RBI doubles to Tracy and Conor Jackson and a run-scoring single to Stephen Drew, as the Diamondbacks took a 3-0 lead.
The Diamondbacks added another run on Byrnes’ two-out single in the fourth.
Meanwhile, Davis was cruising through the light-hitting Padres, who entered with an NL-worst .242 team batting average.
Davis, who had only one victory in his last six starts, retired the first seven men he faced before giving up a one-out triple to Kouzmanoff in the third.
In the fifth, Davis gave up Kouzmanoff’s solo homer to the pool area in right field.
Davis allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, walking three and striking out two.
“I had full control of all my pitches,” Davis said.
San Diego pulled within 4-3 on Cruz’s solo homer to right field off Tony Pena in the seventh.
With two doubles in three at-bats, Tracy is 7-for-14 lifetime against Maddux. … Cruz’s was the first pinch-hit homer by the Padres this year.