Erlin twirls gem to lead Padres over D-backs

Erlin twirls gem to lead Padres over D-backs

SAN DIEGO -- Robbie Erlin allowed just two hits over seven innings as the Padres beat the D-backs, 3-0, on Saturday night to even the series at Petco Park.

Erlin, who was coming off a disastrous start against the Rockies, in which he allowed seven runs on nine hits in just three innings, had a no-hitter until Ender Inciarte tripled with two outs in sixth inning. Erlin (1-1) turned things over to Joaquin Benoit, who worked a scoreless eighth before Craig Kimbrel closed things out in the ninth for his 38th save.

"The goal was to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate,'' Erlin said. "Even if you miss, you miss off the plate and kind of live to throw another pitch.''

The Padres broke through for a run against Jeremy Hellickson in the sixth on Jedd Gyorko's sacrifice fly and then padded their lead with pair of runs in the ninth, thanks to an RBI double from Justin Upton and another sacrifice fly by Gyorko.

"You'd have to ask the hitters," D-backs manager Chip Hale said of what Erlin was doing to keep the D-backs at bay. "From the side it looked like he was changing speeds and his breaking ball really didn't become effective until later in the game. He did use his changeup. He just stayed off the barrel. He did a nice job of staying off the barrel and competing and he was just better than us today. You've got to give him credit. He did a nice job."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Right at 'em: The D-backs looked to have the beginnings of a rally when A.J. Pollock led off the seventh with a single to right. That brought Paul Goldschmidt to the plate and he smoked a one-hopper the the right side of second base. But the Padres had him played perfectly and it was a 4-6-3 double play.

Gyorko's nice stop starts DP

No No-No: The Padres, who were established in 1969, have never pitched a no-hitter. Erlin became the latest to flirt with the accomplishment, but Inciarte spoiled Erlin's bid and the Padres remain the only Major League team without a no-hitter. More >

Murphy on Erlin, Gyorko

Upton funk: Justin Upton was in a skid before his two-out, RBI double in the eighth gave the Padres a 2-0 cushion. Upton was 0-for-16 on the homestand prior to his key extra-base hit.

J. Upton's RBI double

Positive one for Hellickson: He didn't come away with a win, but it was the second straight positive start for Hellickson, who has had an inconsistent season. After allowing two runs over five innings in his last start, Hellickson allowed just one run in six innings Saturday. More >

"I was very happy with his outing," Hale said. "Mixed his pitches, threw that breaking ball a bunch, that changeup and again stayed off their barrel a lot."

QUOTABLE
"I was thinking at one point that would be pretty unbelievable if Robbie Erlin throws the first Padres no-hitter with an 11-something ERA coming in.'' -- Padres interim manager Pat Murphy or Erlin, who actually came in with a 21.00 ERA

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With the team desperate to find an everyday shortstop, the Padres' Alexi Amarista has become the odd man out. With the team turning to Gyorko at the position, Amarista started at short Saturday for consecutive games for the first time in five weeks. Gyorko played second base. Amarista still leads the club with 78 starts at shortstop.

Myers begins double play

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Padres third baseman Cory Spangenberg tagged up at third base and attempted to score on Gyroko's fly to right in the sixth. Spangenberg was ruled safe by home-plate umpire Jerry Meals, but the D-backs challenged the call on the field. A review determined the call would stand.

Gyorko's sac fly stands

WHAT'S NEXT
D-backs: Zack Godley will start for the D-backs in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Petco Park. Godley has not pitched in a game since Sept. 15 when he came on in relief. The club had intended his Sept. 9 start against the Giants would be his last of the year.

Padres: James Shields (13-6) makes his final start at Petco Park in Sunday afternoon's game with first pitch at 1:10. Shields is going for his fourth straight win and his third in four decisions against the D-backs this year.

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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs. Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.