Diamondbacks end deflating September with 4-3 loss to Padres
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Manuel Margot made sure the woeful San Diego Padres finished the season on a positive note and the deflated Arizona Diamondbacks went into the offseason lamenting one more game that got away.
Margot scored on a dropped third strike in the 10th inning, two innings after he was erased at the plate by being too aggressive, and the Padres beat the Diamondbacks 4-3 on Sunday.
“I had to score no matter what,” Margot said. “When I saw no one was at home, I went for it.”
Thanks to Margot’s hustle, the last-place Padres (66-96) took two out of three in their last series of the season.
“The first time they threw me out by quite a bit,” Margot said.
The Diamondbacks, a playoff team last year who led the NL West on the first day of every month this season, ran out of steam to finish in third place, nine games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies.
Margot, who also homered and stole a base on a 3-for-5 afternoon, reached in the 10th on his career-high eighth triple. When Jake Barrett (0-1) struck out pinch-hitter Francisco Mejia and the ball got away from John Ryan Murphy, Margot raced home on Murphy’s throw to first baseman Daniel Descalso. The relay back to home was tardy after Descalso hesitated, unsure where he should aim his toss.
“It was kind of a weird play and I should have just thrown it,” Descalso said. “I was thinking the whole time, ‘Get it back to Murph,’ and then I realized Barrett was there and I double-clutched and it was too late.”
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Margot took advantage of the miscue.
“It looked like (Descalso) didn’t think anyone was at home plate,” he said. “Give credit to Manuel. He made a very athletic play.”
The Padres are hopeful Margot is a key piece in their rebuilding effort. His numbers fell off from his rookie year but he provided a glimpse of what he can do in the season finale.
“It was a great day for him and hopefully it fires him up going into the offseason,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “He has a chance to be right in the middle of what we’re doing here.”
Arizona went ahead 3-2 in the ninth on a sacrifice fly from Socrates Brito, but the Padres tied it 3-3 on Eric Hosmer’s bloop single to left. Jose Castillo (3-3) pitched the 10th for the win.
Arizona went 8-19 in September to finish 82-80, salvaging a winning record for the second consecutive year.
“I think that is something,” Lovullo said earlier in the series. “When it’s all said and done after the month that we had, it is really positive and a good way to finish.”
The Padres, who spent all but four days in the NL West basement, again look ahead to better days. It was their eighth straight losing season and their third straight year with at least 91 losses.
“From our standpoint, we expect to be a lot better,” Padres general manager A.J. Preller said before the game. “I don’t get too much into a number goal from a win standpoint. I think from out standpoint next year, we’re going to start to compete. You’ve got to get over .500 to do that. We’re going to come in next year and not try to put a ceiling on anything. We expect to be a lot better here moving forward and I think the guys in that room understand that and believe that as well.”
Arizona starter Robbie Ray pitched four-plus innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out eight.
Joey Lucchesi was surrendered two runs and four hits over six innings. The rookie’s eight strikeouts were one off his career high.
Steven Souza’s first career pinch-hit home run tied it 2-2 in the sixth.
With Freddy Galvis, who played in all 162 games, and Wil Myers aboard on singles in the fifth, Brito dropped to one knee while trying to find the ball in the sun in right field. Instead it landed beside him, with Galvis scoring for a 2-1 Padres advantage.
Margot homered in the second, and the Diamondbacks pulled even when Marte connected in the fourth.
Diamondbacks: Open next season in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
Padres: Host the San Francisco Giants on March 28, 2019.