D-backs can't get bats untracked
Arizona manages just six hits in loss to Padres
PHOENIX -- Although the D-backs missed Padres ace Jake Peavy Sunday afternoon, it did not matter the way Justin Germano pitched.Germano, who got the start after San Diego moved back Peavy's turn to Tuesday because of biceps soreness, pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings to beat the D-backs, 4-0, in front of 30,343 at Chase Field. Arizona managed four hits, including just one in the first five innings, against the San Diego rookie who kept the D-backs off-balance all afternoon. "He's a command pitcher, and that's what he did," D-backs catcher Chris Snyder said. "He kept a steady mix, and it's tough. We just didn't squeeze out any hits. He picked his spots. He did his job and held us down." In his first career start against Arizona, Germano (6-3) threw what manager Bob Melvin called in-between pitches, 80-82 mph tosses that were neither his fastball nor his changeup. Then he would add an 87 mph fastball and a curveball to keep Arizona off-balance throughout the game. Melvin said a club usually adjusts to a new pitcher around the lineup, but the way Germano mixed his pitches made it tough. Germano won for the first time in five starts, having lost three times in that stretch after starting the season 5-0. "The guy just pitched very well against us," Melvin said. "It seemed like he changed his repertoire a little bit as the game went along, pitched a little differently. When you see him a time or two, now the next time all of a sudden he changes his repertoire some on you, so he pitched well." Arizona ace Brandon Webb (8-7) could not match Germano's zeros on the scoreboard, although he brought good stuff that helped him rack up 10 strikeouts, including a pair in each of the first four innings. Webb also allowed a season-high 11 hits as well as four runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings. "I thought I had pretty good stuff," Webb said. "My arm felt pretty good. There were a lot of broken-. bat hits, and I felt two runs scored on three of the four broke-bat hits. So if I didn't strike them out I wasn't getting them out, and that's pretty much how it was. I was right where I wanted to be pretty much." Webb only gave up two runs through the first five innings, one of them aided by a Scott Hairston error, before allowing hits to his final three batters to score two more and give San Diego what proved to be an insurmountable four-run lead. Webb dropped to 3-6 in his career against the Padres in 17 career starts, including a pair of no-decisions when he pitched well earlier in the year. He has more than twice that amount of wins against Arizona's three other divisional rivals. The righty allowed at least four runs for the third straight start, all D-backs losses, after going seven outings without giving up more than three earned runs. Still, Webb's not concerned after the outcome dropped the 2006 National League Cy Young's record to one game over .500. "I feel fine," Webb said. "I feel like I'm making decent pitches. If I threw a shutout I wasn't going to win, so that's how it was today." The D-backs had their chances late in the game but could not come through. After Arizona eked out a pair of hits to open the sixth, the Nos. 2-4 hitters went down in order. In the seventh, Germano left the game with runners at first and second, but Heath Bell cleaned up the mess by inducing a double-play ball off Snyder's bat. That's in contrast to Saturday's game when Bell gave up three runs in one-third of an inning when Arizona tied the contest in the seventh. "We made a push there a couple times, but I hit into a double play and a couple other guys grounded out with a couple [on]," Snyder said. "It's a tough loss. Fortunately we won the series, but it would have been nice to have a sweep going into this road trip." At the end of the day, the D-backs won't complain about taking two of three from the Wild Card-leading Padres, especially after ending the first half with a 2-8 road trip to three losing teams, including a five-game losing streak. With Arizona's ace on the mound and San Diego's shelved for the weekend, however, the D-backs were looking for more. "After the break looking at two of three, if we take two of three here obviously you're happy with that," Melvin said. "Once you get two and you've got Brandon Webb on the mound, you want to get greedy, and we expect to win the game today, but going in you've got to take two out of three."
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.