Lauer, Hedges help Padres beat slumping Diamondbacks 6-3
PHOENIX (AP) — By two percentage points, the Arizona Diamondbacks are no longer in the lead in the NL West.
Losing six of seven at home will do that.
Eric Lauer limited Arizona to a run over five-plus innings, Austin Hedges homered for the first time since April 10 and the San Diego Padres opened a four-game series in the desert with a 6-3 victory over the slumping Diamondbacks on Thursday night.
The Diamondbacks fell to 1-6 in what will be a 10-game homestand and dropped into a virtual tie with the idle Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West. Arizona had been alone in first since June 8.
"We know that we are in a pennant race, if you want to call it that right now at the halfway point of the season," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "I think we enjoy that part of the game. We know it is going to be a dogfight for the rest of the year."
Wil Myers drove in two runs with a triple and single, and Carlos Asuaje reached base four times — a triple, RBI single and two walks — for the last-place Padres, winners for only the fourth time in 17 games.
"Offensively, I think Carlos Asuaje is probably the story of the day for us," San Diego manager Andy Green said.
Shelby Miller (0-3) was better in his third start coming off Tommy John surgery, but still got the loss, allowing five runs — three earned — and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked two.
"I feel good," Miller said. "I think today the command was a little bit better. I would have liked to go out there and finish the sixth, put up a zero out there and get out of the game. Have us in a little better situation, 2-1 instead of 5-1, leaving that inning but we kind of beat ourselves that inning a little bit."
Arizona's Ketel Marte hit a two-run homer off Matt Strahm in the eighth.
Lauer, a 23-year-old left-hander, gave up seven hits — mostly to soft contact — walked two and hit a batter, but only one of those baserunners managed to score in his first win in four starts.
Brad Hand gave up an infield single, then struck out the next three in the ninth for his 24th save in 28 opportunities.
Miller, who had allowed 11 runs and 15 hits in 8 2/3 innings during his first two starts back from the surgery, got off to a rocky start in the first inning when the second batter, Asuaje, tripled to deep center and scored on Myers' single.
But the Arizona right-hander settled down, blanking the Padres for three innings before Hedges' line shot into the left-field seats put San Diego up 2-1 in the fifth. Hedges missed 41 games with right elbow tendinitis before being reinstated on June 24.
An error by usually sure-handed shortstop Nick Ahmed led to two unearned runs in San Diego's three-run sixth. Asuaje led off with an 11-pitch walk and scored when Myers tripled to deep right-center.
Ahmed muffed Eric Hosmer's hard one-bouncer to allow Myers to score. Freddy Galvis' two-out single off reliever Andrew Chafin brought home Hosmer and the Padres led 5-1.
With runners at first and third and two outs in the fifth, Lauer struck out Paul Goldschmidt with a pitch that Green never had seen the pitcher throw: a cutter.
"It's fun to watch a kid throw a pitch that you've never seen him throw before," Green said. "I haven't seen the 90 mph cutter out of him before. If I haven't seen it, Goldschmidt hasn't seen it, either."
Lauer said he has been working on the cutter as his slider evolved and was "amped up" when he threw it to Goldschmidt.
Diamondbacks: OF Steven Souza Jr. (right pectoral strain) was activated from the 10-day DL and OF Jarrod Dyson was placed on the DL with a strained right groin. Souza started in right field and went 0 for 3 at the plate with a walk in just his 15th game of the season. Dyson was injured in Arizona's loss to St. Louis Wednesday night.
Padres LHP Joey Lucchesi (4-3, 3.26 ERA) makes his fourth start since coming off the disabled list (right hip strain) and the Diamondbacks counter with RHP Zack Godley (9-6, 5.07) in the second game of the four-game series.
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