SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 11: Chris Young #24 of the Arizona Diamondbacks loses his glove over the wall as he tries to catch a two-run homer hit by Chris Denorfia #13 of the San Diego Padres during the eighth inning of a baseball game at Petco Park on April 11, 2012 in San Diego, California. The Padres won 2-1. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Yesterday, the Padres couldn't take advantage of eight walks by the D-backs, and lost. Today, we couldn't take advantage of seven walks by the Padres - four of them in the opening inning - and lost. Arizona was held hitless with runners in scoring position, a category in which they are now batting .133 on the season (6-for-45). The sole offense they could muster was a bases-loaded walk by Jason Kubel in that first frame.
Joe Saunders deserved a much better fate, as he kept San Diego off-balance for seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and two walks, with four strikeouts. But the bullpen was unable to make the 1-0 lead hold up. With one out in the eighth, David Hernandez walked one batter, then the next launched a two-run shot to deep center, a shot which even Chris Young's despairing lunge (above) couldn't retain, and there was no time left for Arizona to come back. It's the first defeat of the season for Arizona. I'd forgotten what it feels like: it's not pleasant, even though this was probably the game on the opening three series I was least optimistic about.
Oh, it started so well. A walk and a throwing error gave us a runner 90 feet from home plate before the Padres had even put an out on the board. Cory Luebke was not looking good, allowing four walks in the first inning alone. With our offense, how could we lose?
Well, please consult Jim's notes above about how the Diamondbacks have been hitting with runners in scoring position, and you'll understand just how exactly we managed to lose. While Luebke allowed four walks in the first, those were, in fact, our only baserunners, so we couldn't manage more than the single run we were handed.
Joe Saunders, however, looked up to the task. While there may have been some who wondered why he was re-signed during the off-season, he certainly made Kevin Towers look good. The Padres offense may not be the most potent in the NL West, but Saunders did some good work. Seven innings, four hits, and the Padres only managed to get a runner past first base once.
The Diamondbacks threatened in almost every inning. A Bloomquist triple in the second inning, back-to-back singles in the third, walks in the sixth and seventh inning to move runners into scoring position. We had opportunities and runners in scoring position often, but the Diamondbacks bats just couldn't bring in a run when they had the chance.
But, the lack of offense wasn't necessarily that worrisome. With the Diamondbacks bullpen lining up for some shutdown work in the eighth and ninth, it looks like we had a classic Petco Park outing and a 1-0 win. Right? Right?
Unfortunately, that wasn't to be so.
David Hernandez came in to pitch in the eighth, his fourth outing in five games for the Diamondbacks, and gave up a one out walk to Cameron Maybin. Then Chris Denorfia took a 2-1 fastball and crushed a home run to center field. Yes, Chris "I had five home runs last year" Denorfia. To center field. In Petco Park. I just don't even know.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks offense just gave up the ghost. Having gone down 1-2-3 in the eighth, they matched the deed in the ninth, and Arizona took their first loss of the season.
Also Appearing: Willie Bloomquist (+9.3%), Jason Kubel (+9.2%)
Not in This Film David Hernandez (-62.4%)
So our run as the only undefeated team in Major League Baseball comes to an end after just a few hours, and I'll have to come up with a new title for SnakeBytes.
But tomorrow, we go for another winning streak- 161-1 season is still within our reach.