Bats unable to pick up struggling Skaggs

Bats unable to pick up struggling Skaggs

Bats unable to pick up struggling Skaggs

PHOENIX -- Riding high after turning in arguably their most complete team performance of the season Friday, the D-backs couldn't duplicate the same success Saturday night, falling flat on the mound, in the batter's box and in the field.

Tyler Skaggs lasted just 3 2/3 innings, the defense committed a couple miscues and the offense went hitless with runners in scoring position as the D-backs fell to the Padres, 12-3, in front of 30,033 fans at Chase Field and dropped 1 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the division.

Hoping to build off Randall Delgado's shutout on Friday, Skaggs instead endured perhaps the worst outing of his young career Saturday, surrendering seven earned runs, all with two outs. The 22-year-old southpaw only gave up three hits, but he issued five walks and hit two batters.

Following the conclusion of the game, the D-backs optioned Skaggs to Triple-A Reno. After tossing eight shutout frames vs. the Rockies on July 5, the lefty allowed 13 runs over his last 14 innings.

"He just gets a little too excited sometimes, he needed to slow the game down," D-backs catcher Miguel Montero said. "He's a young kid though, it's part of the learning process. He wants to be perfect and he puts too much pressure on himself. He needs to relax a little bit."

The lack of command was the overriding reason for Skaggs' shortcomings Saturday. Out of the 85 pitches he threw, only 44 went for strikes.

"I just could not find the zone with any pitch," Skaggs said. "It's not like I'm going out there getting rocked, I just couldn't throw strikes. My body felt good, my arm felt great, I just was not around the zone."

Offensively, the D-backs managed six hits Saturday with all three runs coming via the long ball. This after the club pounded out 17 hits and scored 10 runs on Friday.

Playing in his first game in four days after sitting out with back inflammation, Montero hit the first pitch he saw out of the yard in the second inning for a solo homer.

"It felt good, but it really doesn't matter, a loss is a loss," said Montero, who also singled in the ninth. "I would've taken 0-for-4 with a win."

Paul Goldschmidt, who committed just his fourth error of the season Saturday, also went yard, launching his 23rd home run of the year in the fifth to snap an 0-for-11 drought at the plate.

That was all the D-backs would get as Padres starter Andrew Cashner worked six strong innings then handed the ball over to his bullpen to close it out.

The Padres jumped on Skaggs in the first inning when Carlos Quentin doubled home Chris Denorfia, who reached on a two-out walk. On the play, Adam Eaton bobbled the ball hit into left-center field, allowing Denorfia to score all the way from first. Although Eaton wasn't given an error, the mishandle likely cost the D-backs a run.

Skaggs appeared to settle down after that, retiring the next six batters he faced. But then with two outs and nobody on in the third, the left-hander lost his command, loading the bases on two walks and a hit batter before issuing another free pass to force in a run. Still with an opportunity to escape the jam with minimal damage, Skaggs hung an 0-2 curveball to Yonder Alonso, who ripped it down the right-field line for a three-run double.

"I tried to remind him he was one pitch away from getting out of the jam, but he was trying too hard and it created more problems," Montero said. "If you throw strikes and get ahead, good things happen. But if you fall behind, as a catcher, where are you going to go? You have nowhere to go."

For Skaggs, stopping the snowball effect puzzled him. He tried using every pitch to get out of the inning, but because he couldn't locate his fastball, the runs kept piling up.

"It's really tough," Skaggs said. "It was frustrating. Up here you need to throw the fastball for strikes, you need to work in and out. I haven't been doing that."

One inning later, the final nail in the coffin for Skaggs came when Denorfia smashed an 87-mph fastball into the upper deck in left field for a two-run shot.

"You could just see by his mannerisms that he was feeling it," Gibson said. "It was tough going out there, it wasn't his night."

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.