Diamondbacks top Padres to end nine-game skid
PHOENIX (AP) — Paul Sewald earned his first save with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night and then a few moments later, earned a hearty laugh from manager Torey Lovullo.
“I told you we were going to win another game this year," Sewald said sarcastically, according to Lovullo.
A little gallows humor was in order Saturday night after the Diamondbacks finally snapped a nine-game losing streak by beating the San Diego Padres 3-0. Christian Walker hit a two-run homer and Zac Gallen threw six strong innings to lead Arizona to its first victory since July 31.
The D-backs hope the victory can get them trending in the right direction of the playoff hunt after an extended freefall. Arizona is three games back for the final wild-card spot in the National League.
“Every day is it’s own thing at this point,” Walker said. “Taking each inning, each at-bat, each day as its own thing. Trying to win each moment. But yeah, just trying to keep the positivity going. Hopefully it’s all good from here.”
The Padres lost for the fifth time in six games. The high-priced team fell to 56-61 for the season.
Gallen (12-5) delivered an excellent outing, giving up four hits and a walk while striking out eight. It ended a rough stretch for Arizona’s ace — the team had lost five straight games with the right-hander on the mound before Saturday.
“It's no secret that's it's been a tough go for us the last 1 1/2 weeks — really the last month,” Gallen said. “I think everyone was just pressing. It was good to finally break through.”
Padres manager Bob Melvin was disappointed his offense made some quick outs in the middle innings that allowed Gallen to keep his pitch count down and complete six innings.
“We didn't do enough to push the envelope and make them work a little harder,” the manager said.
Tommy Pham had two doubles, including one in the first inning that scored Corbin Carroll for a 1-0 lead. Walker extended the lead to 3-0 in the third with his 24th homer, a two-run, opposite field shot that cleared the right-field fence.
Walker finished with three hits. Sewald earned his first save since coming to the desert in a trade deadline deal with the Seattle Mariners.
Rich Hill (7-12) lasted just 3 1/3 innings in his second start with the Padres after being acquired from the Pirates on Aug. 1. The 43-year-old gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out four.
San Diego finished with just five hits, including three by Manny Machado.
“We just didn't get too many good swings, period,” Melvin said. “Manny had some good swings, but other than that, we had a few baserunners early, but couldn't do much with them.”
The Diamondbacks celebrated their 25th season as a franchise Saturday. They played their first season — along with fellow expansion team Tampa Bay — in 1998.
Arizona were the fastest expansion team to win a World Series, winning in their fourth season in 2001. The D-backs have won the NL West five times in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2011 and last made the playoffs as a wild card in 2017.
Dozens of former players came back for a pregame ceremony on the field, including Luis Gonzalez and Randy Johnson, who will be inducted into the team's newly established Hall of Fame in 2024.
Arizona called up third baseman Buddy Kennedy to the active roster and sent Emmanuel Rivera to Triple-A Reno.
Kennedy was hitless in three at-bats on Saturday, but made a handful of nice defensive plays that helped keep the Padres off the scoreboard.
“It was a great day for Buddy,” Lovullo said. “He helped us win a baseball game today.”
The teams finish the three-game series Sunday. RHP Brandon Pfaadt (0-6, 7.16 ERA) was set to start for Arizona against RHP Seth Lugo (4-6, 4.19 ERA).
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