After being swept in their last series, the Arizona Diamondbacks have few things to blame other than suspect relief pitching. They'll hope the bullpen will have patched up its struggles prior to meeting the upstart San Diego Padres Friday night in the opener of a three-game set at Petco Park.
The Diamondbacks (15-13) squandered a lead in each contest while losing three straight at home to San Francisco. The bullpen gave up seven hits, seven walks and eight earned runs in six innings during the series.
Wednesday's 9-6 defeat saw Arizona score more than four runs for the first time in eight contests and also marked its major league-leading 10th blown save as David Hernandez surrendered a three-run homer in the eighth. Hernandez walked two before giving up the home run.
"This is a tough time. It's a tough game," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We just have to pick ourselves up."
Thursday marked the Diamondbacks' first off day since April 15, providing a valuable rest for the bullpen - which worked 46 2-3 innings over 16 games in as many days since then.
Heavy work for Arizona's relievers could be necessary again if left-hander Wade Miley (2-0, 2.37 ERA) produces an outing similar to his last one. Miley didn't allow a run against Colorado on Saturday but lasted 4 1-3 innings after walking a career-high seven.
He had walked seven in 26 innings over his first four starts and averages 2.3 per nine innings for his career.
"I just didn't have it tonight and that was pretty much the bottom line," said Miley, whose team still managed a 3-2 win in 10 innings.
The Diamondbacks run into a Padres squad that completed a late comeback Thursday to salvage a road split against the Cubs and post its sixth victory in eight games.
Yonder Alonso's pinch-hit bloop single with two outs brought home the first of four runs in an eighth inning that also saw two infield singles and a passed ball, leading to a 4-2 win for the Padres (11-17).
"It's one of those things where, regardless of what the situation is with the outs or what the score is, you can always take advantage of the mental lapses that go on the field," outfielder Kyle Blanks said.
Starting for the Padres will be Jason Marquis (2-2, 4.20), who has also struggled with walks. Marquis issued four in three of his five starts, including Sunday against San Francisco. He still limited the Giants to two runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings to pick up the victory.
Marquis and Miley will look to shake off recent history against each other's teams, as Marquis is 0-4 with a 6.39 ERA in his last seven starts against Arizona while Miley is 1-2 with a 6.08 ERA in four starts versus San Diego.
Martin Prado is 13 for 33 (.394) in his last eight games against the Padres, while Chris Denorfia is hitting .433 in his last nine versus the Diamondbacks.
Nick Hundley is riding a seven-game hitting streak with six RBIs, but he's 1 for 17 over his last six against Arizona.
San Diego was the only NL West team the Diamondbacks posted a sub-.500 record against in 2012, with the Padres winning 11 of 18 meetings.
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