Diamondbacks 9, Padres 5, 11 innings
SAN DIEGO (AP)—Even a struggling closer can’t slow the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West.
“For us to come back and do what we did speaks volumes,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “I’m very proud of the guys.”
Eric Byrnes’ infield single off Heath Bell (4-3) with two outs in the 11th brought home Jeff DaVanon from third base with the go-ahead run and gave Arizona its 10th victory in 11 games. Pinch hitter Chad Tracy followed with a three-run home run.
DaVanon led off with a double to left field and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Augie Ojeda. After a two-out walk by Orlando Hudson, Byrnes hit a nubber just left of the mound. It got past Bell and underneath the reach of charging shortstop Khalil Greene.
“I hit it three inches off my knuckles and ran like I stole something,” said Byrnes, who was 3-for-5 with a walk.
The Diamondbacks stayed a game ahead of the second-place Dodgers and dropped the third-place Padres 2 1/2 games back. San Diego has lost nine of 12.
“We’re going through a bad spell, not playing good ball,” said Padres starter David Wells. “But what goes around comes around. We’ve got to fight our way through it. We’re not out of it. We’re still in the hunt.”
Valverde (1-3) inherited a 5-2 lead with a runner on second base and nobody out in the ninth inning. He struck out two batters quickly before Mike Cameron delivered a single to center to make it 5-3. Milton Bradly then lofted a first-pitch fastball into the short porch in right field at Petco Park to tie the game at 5.
“He was one pitch away from it being one of his cleaner (saves),” Melvin said. “Cameron did a great job battling up there, as he has before.”
When last seen, Valverde blew a save chance Friday at home against the Atlanta Braves. His team won that game, too, 8-7 in 11 innings.
Before the late inning drama, rookie Micah Owings outpitched the 44-year-old Wells and had two hits off the big left-hander. The 24-year-old Owings singled off Wells in the third inning and doubled in a run in the fifth. He also held the Padres to four hits and one run in six innings.
Wells was knocked around for five runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Like the Padres, Wells has struggled of late. He has a 13.50 ERA in his past three starts and has allowed 23 hits, 19 earned runs and seven walks in 12 2-3 innings.
“I’m a fighter,” Wells said. “I’ll figure a way out.”
Owings struck out four and walked two while throwing only 88 pitches. The Padres’ lone run off him came after right fielder Carlos Quentin lost a ball in the lights, giving Cameron a leadoff triple in the fourth inning. Bradley followed with an RBI groundout to first base.
Owings put Arizona on the scoreboard with a double to right-center field in the fifth, driving home DaVanon. Owings then scored on a double by Chris Young.
Owings finished 2-for-3 and is 8-for-34 this season. A former corner infielder at Georgia Tech and Tulane, Owings batted .382 in the minors last season.
The Diamondbacks extended their lead to 5-1 with three runs in the sixth. Chris Snyder had a bases-loaded, two-RBI single to chase Wells from the game. Then DaVanon hit a sacrifice fly to left against reliever Doug Brocail.
Owings’ biggest jam came in the fifth inning, when a single and two walks left the bases loaded with two outs. Young preserved what was then a 2-1 lead with a spectacular catch in center field. Cameron hit a line shot to right-center, and Young snared a potential grand slam near the top of the fence after a full sprint.
“That,” Byrnes said, “was fun to watch.”
Not so much fun for Cameron.
“Did I think it was out? It was out,” he said.
Padres RF Brian Giles left the game in the fifth inning because of a sprained right ankle. He slammed his right foot into the outfield fence while robbing Mark Reynolds of an extra-base hit in the top of the inning, then departed after drawing a walk in the bottom of the inning. … Quentin also left in the fifth inning. He tweaked a hamstring while running out a two-out double. DaVanon came in as the pinch runner. … INF Rob Mackowiak, acquired from the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, made his Padres debut and struck out as a pinch hitter against Cruz in the seventh inning. INF Morgan Ensberg also struck out in his first Padres appearance, against Valverde in the ninth. He was acquired Tuesday from Houston.