Spurred by a motivational video that showed highlights of race leaders easing up at the finish line and losing to others running hard to the end, the Arizona Diamondbacks came out swinging from the start of Monday’s game and didn’t let up.
After a six-run second inning, Josh Rojas, Eduardo Escobar and Christian Walker homered in the sixth off converted infielder Javy Guerra and the Diamondbacks beat the San Diego Padres 14-7.
“It was very well received,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said of the coaches’ video ploy.
“I think we were still smarting a little bit after yesterday’s game (4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 11 innings), still a bitter taste in our mouths, and that pushed us through and gave us a little energy today,” he said.
The Diamondbacks have won seven of eight and kept pace in the NL wild-card race at 3 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second spot. The Padres had won three of four.
Rojas also doubled and singled twice and Ketel Marte drove in four runs for the Diamondbacks, who totaled 18 hits.
“It was a lot of fun. Starting to feel a little bit more comfortable at the plate,” said Rojas, who played his 17th career major league game. “Sticking with the approach. The approach is getting the right pitches.”
Six runs in the second put the Diamondbacks comfortably ahead for good, helped by a wild pitch and throwing error. Rojas, Marte, pitcher Mike Leake (11-10) and Nick Ahmed drove in runs in the inning.
Marte hit his 29th homer, connecting off Padres starter Cal Quantrill (6-6). Quantrill, in his first career appearance against Arizona, was charged with eight runs on 10 hits in five innings.
Quantrill has allowed 16 runs in his last two starts, after giving up just 15 runs combined in his previous eight.
“I definitely wasn’t putting the ball where I wanted to. Honestly just wasn’t good enough. Not giving my team chances to win in these last couple of games,” Quantrill said.
Down 8-0, the Padres scored four times in the sixth, highlighted by Ty France’s three-run homer. France gave the Padres 105 homers on the road this season, a franchise record.
Leake got through 6 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on eight hits.
“Any time you can start and eat up innings at this point in the season, it’s more important than the beginning,” Leake said.
Guerra was a top shortstop prospect in the Padres’ system and made his big league debut last year, batting .125 in 13 games. The 23-year-old was switched to a pitcher this year, and had never thrown above the Double-A level before coming in to relieve in the sixth.
Guerra started by striking out Jarrod Dyson, but then Rojas homered. With two outs, Escobar hit his 33rd homer of the season and Walker added his 25th. Guerra was pulled after giving up a double and a single.
Former Padres player Abraham Almonte, in his first start for the Diamondbacks, had three hits and scored three runs.
Both teams made roster moves. The Padres called up RHP Ronald Bolaños from Double-A Amarillo.
The Diamondbacks called up RHP Jimmie Sherfy from Triple-A Reno on Monday, a day after using seven relievers in a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Diamondbacks’ Tim Locastro was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. He matched a club record for HBPs in a season, 19, tied with Justin Upton in 2011.
Padres: LHP Jose Castillo (left middle finger strain) was transferred to the 60-day injured list.
Diamondbacks: RHP Luke Weaver (elbow) threw a simulated game before Monday’s first pitch. He’s been out since late May.
Padres: Bolaños, primarily a starter in the minors, is in line to make his major league debut in Tuesday’s game against Arizona. He was 8-5 with a 4.23 ERA at Amarillo.
Diamondbacks: RHP Merrill Kelly (9-13 4.91 ERA) is set for this fourth career start against the Padres. He’s 1-1 with a 7.82 ERA against San Diego.
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