Southpaws Joe Saunders and Cory Luebke went toe-to-toe yesterday afternoon at San Diego's sprawling Petco Park, giving up but one run between them in 12 combined innings of work.
Saunders, who was starting his first game of the new season for the Arizona Diamondbacks', turned things over to set-up man Daniel Hernandez in the 8th inning after fairly breezing through seven shutout innings.
That's when bad things happened.
Little-known Padres' outfielder Chris Denorfia hit a two-run homer just outside the long reach of Arizona's Chris Young to give his team a 2-1 lead, and one inning later, a win by the same score.
It was the D-Backs' first loss of the season after a 4-0 start, and was a tough way to go.
Saunders' performance was the story of the day until the 400-foot blast stole a win from him and his team.
Lost in the late-inning dramatics was a telling stat: Arizona left eleven men on base to San Diego's five in the contest. In the first inning, for example, which was the only frame in which the D-Backs scored, Paul Goldschmidt struck out swinging to end the inning.
Goldschmidt also lined out to the pitcher in the fifth with two men on to end that mini-threat.
Such is life in a 162-game season, and Arizona won't have much time to reflect on what could have been a 5-0 start.
The two NL West teams finish up their series tonight at Petco, with D-Backs ace Ian Kennedy looking for his second win of the young season.
Game will be broadcast on Channel 34 (KSAZ) and on KTAR-AM, 620 on the dial.
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