Walker strikes out 11, Diamondbacks beat Padres 6-2
PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks suffered through a heartbreaking loss the night before and learned earlier in the day that they may have lost one of their starting pitchers for the season.
A letdown would have been easy. In fact, their manager was a little concerned it might happen.
Instead, the Diamondbacks were loose, wrapping up another home series win behind Taijuan Walker’s dominant performance and an early string of home runs.
Walker matched a career high with 11 strikeouts in eight effective innings, Chris Owings hit a pair of solo homers and the Diamondbacks beat the San Diego Padres 6-2 Thursday night.
“I would lie to you if I told I wasn’t concerned because some of the news we got today just seemed to pile up,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “But this group depends on one another and that’s what we did here.”
The Diamondbacks blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning to lose 8-5 to the Padres on Wednesday night. Before Thursday’s game, they found out right-hander Shelby Miller may be done for the season with a partially torn elbow ligament.
Rather than pout, they jumped on Jered Weaver (0-2) with three homers and kept hitting. Yasmany Tomas had a two-run homer and lined a run-scoring double to help Arizona match its best ever home start at 11-3.
Walker (3-1) was sharp after a shaky first inning, allowing two runs and four hits. Picked to be mediocre heading into the season, the Diamondbacks now lead the NL West after opening a season with four straight home series wins for the third time.
“We know we can hit and pitch well,” Walker said. “We rebounded from last night by scoring six runs and that just shows how much confidence we have in each other.”
The Padres salvaged a win in the four-game series by scoring five runs in the ninth inning against Fernando Rodney on Wednesday night. They put up little fight against Walker, managing four hits to lose for the fifth time in six games.
Ryan Schmipf had a solo home run for the Padres after hitting the go-ahead three-run homer the night before.
“Walker was good today,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “He lives at the very top of the zone and we didn’t have an answer for that.”
Walker had a bit of a rough first inning, allowing a run on Yangervis Solarte’s single. The right-hander had the Padres off-balance the rest of the night, retiring 12 of 13 batters — one was hit by a pitch — before Schmipf’s homer in the seventh.
“He gave us just what we needed,” Lovullo said.
Weaver had pitched well since losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in his first start of the season, yet had three straight no-decisions entering Thursday’s start despite allowing two earned runs in each.
One problem: Giving up home runs.
Weaver entered Thursday’s game allowing 2.74 homers per nine innings, most in the NL.
The hot-hitting Diamondbacks added to that ratio.
Owing hit the first in the third inning. The right-handed Tomas hit his shot to right field in the fourth and Owings hit another homer later in the inning.
Tomas added a run-scoring double off Weaver in the sixth inning to put Arizona up 5-1.
Weaver allowed five runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“It doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out,” Weaver said. “Obviously, the long ball has been killing me.”
Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt made a heady play to start an inning-ending double play in the fifth.
With Allen Cordoba on first, Weaver squared around for sacrifice bunt and sent the ball in the air toward Goldschmidt. Instead of catching the ball, he let it drop and ran over to tag first. Cordoba had to hold up to see if the ball was going to be caught and ended up getting tagged out in a rundown.
“It surprised me when he dropped it and it was a double play,” Walker said. “It was a big moment in the game
Diamondbacks: Miller has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, though may not opt to have Tommy John surgery. He is considering rehabilitating his elbow, possibly with stem cell injections.
Padres: RHP Luis Perdomo is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three career appearances at AT&T Park heading into Friday’s start at the San Francisco Giants.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray is 2-1 with a 5.30 ERA and 39 strikeouts in seven career starts against Colorado heading into Friday’s game against the Rockies.
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