Hellickson gains confidence with strong start

D-backs righty improves command in one-run outing

Hellickson gains confidence with strong start

SAN DIEGO -- Jeremy Hellickson was not about to celebrate his performance Saturday night, certainly not after his team suffered a 3-0 loss at the hands of the Padres.

Hellickson allowed just one run on four hits over six innings and looked sharp with his breaking ball.

It was his second straight strong start. In his previous outing, against the Giants, the right-hander allowed just two runs on three hits over five innings, but both games ended in losses for his team.

"It feels good to get my command back a little bit," Hellickson said. "But I've got to pitch better. It's two losses. It doesn't really matter what else I do."

Hellickson's command was off when he last faced the Padres on Sept. 14, in large part because it was his first outing since spending a month on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain.

"He had the injury and it really put him back," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "That really hurt him that one outing [against the Padres]. After that he's been solid again. He's a veteran and he's done a nice job for us so it's good."

The lone run off Hellickson came when Cory Spangenberg led off the sixth with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sac fly by Jedd Gyorko.

"I thought my stuff was pretty good," Hellickson said. "Fastball command was good early. I started to elevate some pitches later in the game, especially that sac fly. Really trying to get a grounder right there. I just elevated a little too much. That's the last thing I want to do, for a pitch to get in the air."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.