Starting pitchers sparkle in losing streak

Padres starters have 2.08 ERA in four straight losses

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres plight of wasting strong starting pitching extended to a fourth straight game Friday night as the club opened a nine-game homestand against three teams expected to contend for playoff berths with a 3-2 loss to Arizona.

This time the victim was James Shields. The right-hander allowed two runs on six hits and four walks with six strikeouts over seven innings.

Beginning with Tuesday night's game in Philadlephia, Padres starters - left-hander Robbie Erlin followed by right-handers Colin Rea, Drew Pomeranz and Shields -- combined to allow seven runs (six earned) on 17 hits and 11 walks with 24 strikeouts in 26 innings.

That's a 2.08 earned run average.

The result: 0-4 as the offense scored a total of three runs, including one run in the last three games in Philadelphia.

Both Rea and Shields allowed two runs in seven innings. Rea and Pomeranz each worked six. All four were economical as well as effective. Erlin averaged 13.3 pitches per inning Tuesday. Rea averaged 13.4 pitches per inning Wednesday. Pomeranz averaged 16.8 pitches per inning Thursday and Shields averaged 15 a pitches an inning Friday night.

• Third baseman Yangervis Solarte swung a bat Friday and ran in the therapy pool. But Padres manager Andy Green is hesitant to say Solarte will come off the disabled list when eligible on April 26. "I don't want to rush him back," Green said of Solarte, who has a right hamstring strain. "Hamstrings can be finicky."

• First baseman Wil Myers doubled in the eighth inning Friday night to end a 0-for-14 streak during which he had struck out nine times. Myers, who is hitting .214, has struck out at least once in each of the Padres first 11 games and has 16 strikeouts in 42 at-bats.

• The game-ending doubleplay that center fielder Jon Jay grounded into Friday night was his 14th straight hitless at-bat since he doubled Tuesday night to extend his season-opening hitting streak to eight straight games.

• Third baseman Alexi Amarista is the Padres hottest hitter, although he missed a squeeze bunt and struck out with runners on first and third with none out in the ninth Friday night. Since he was recalled from Triple-A April 10 to take Solarte's spot on the 25-man roster, Amarista has gone 7-for-15 with two RBIs, including a squeeze-bunt single that drove home the Padres winning run Tuesday night in Philadelphia.

• Left fielder Melvin Upton Jr., who hit in the cleanup spot for the second straight game Friday night, has hit safely in six of his last eight games, going 9-for-28 (.321) with five runs scored. He was 1-for-4 Friday night.