Villanueva’s walk-off single gives Padres win over D’Backs
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Christian Villanueva had a hard time walking, yet still managed to get a walk-off hit.
Villanueva, who fouled a ball off his foot on Friday night, had a walk-off pinch-hit single in the ninth inning, and the San Diego Padres ended a five-game skid with a 7-6 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.
“The manager had asked me if I was good to go, and I took a few swings in the batting cage and said I could do it,” Villanueva said through a translator. “It’s a dream come true to be able to hit a walk-off up here at the big league level. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Travis Jankowski led off the ninth with a walk against Andrew Chafin (1-4) and advanced to second on a groundout by Eric Hosmer. Yoshihisa Hirano replaced Chafin and intentionally walked Hunter Renfroe.
Villanueva hit for Craig Stammen (6-2) and drove a 2-2 pitch into left field to score Jankowski and give San Diego its first win against Arizona at Petco Park this season. Stammen worked two scoreless innings.
“His foot was huge. It was swollen,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “He probably had no business hitting there, but he said he was good to go.”
After the broken-bat single landed in shallow left, Villanueva’s discomfort left him.
“I forgot about it — I didn’t even think about the pain after that,” Villanueva said. “It was a matter of battling through it, especially after they put Renfroe on. Then I really wanted to come through.”
Paul Goldschmidt had four hits and drove in four runs while tying a Diamondbacks record by reaching base safely in nine straight plate appearances. Goldschmidt also extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
“I’ve hit some balls hard,” Goldschmidt said. “I’ve had some good luck. I’ve had some good swings, which is nice, but I’ve had some luck going my way to get me a few hits as well.”
The Diamondbacks’ three-game winning streak ended, and their NL West lead over the Colorado Rockies fell to one-half game.
Arizona built an early lead thanks to doubles by A.J. Pollack and Eduardo Escobar. Goldschmidt singled to give the Diamondbacks a 2-0 advantage, a familiar position for a team that leads the majors in first-inning runs with 107.
San Diego evened the score in the fourth with a three-run inning. Goldschmidt doubled home Escobar in the fifth to build a 5-3 lead.
The Padres answered with three more runs in the fifth. Cory Spangenberg’s single gave San Diego its first lead of the series at 6-5.
“It’s no secret we have been having a rough time as of late,” Green said. “This was a big win for us.”
Goldschmidt struck again in the seventh after another double by Pollack, singling against Phil Maton to tie the game.
“It’s a tough loss to absorb,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’ve done it before. We can’t reverse time and go back and change the way the outcome of the game turned out. We’ve got to find a way to get this job done tomorrow, and that’s what we’ll focus on.”
Both starters struggled. Arizona’s Zack Godley allowed six runs on eight hits in five innings. Clayton Richard went five for the Padres, allowing five runs on nine hits.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Grienke (12-8, 3.00 ERA) looks to continue his dominance of the Padres in the finale of the four-game series. Grienke is 11-2 with a 2.10 ERA in his career against San Diego.
Padres: RHP Brett Kennedy (0-2, 11.00) will make his third career start. In his previous outing, he allowed five runs in five innings against the Los Angeles Angels.