Spangenberg keeps soaring with walk-off homer

Pinch blast comes in second career game; Despaigne strong in duel

Spangenberg keeps soaring with walk-off homer

SAN DIEGO -- It's not as if Cory Spangenberg has taken a dim view of home runs, but given his particular skill set, he's smart enough to recognize them for what they are.

"They're mistakes, honestly," Spangenberg said. "I want to hit line drives. And sometimes, when you get under those line drives, the ball goes out. But the [home runs] that I do hit, I mishit them."

Try telling that to his teammates, who were delighted when the rookie, in his second big league game, connected for a pinch-hit, walk-off home run in the ninth inning Tuesday night to send the Padres to a 2-1 victory over the D-backs before a crowd of 14,316 at Petco Park.

A day after Spangenberg -- an infielder who last week was playing for Double-A San Antonio -- knocked in two runs and made two fine defensive plays at third base in a victory, he took one swing and made it count, sending a slider from Brad Ziegler (5-3) into the short porch in right field.

Spangenberg, 23, was asked after the game if he's stopped smiling yet -- since he was told he was going to San Diego, that he would start Monday and now, after his walk-off home run.

"I don't think so," he said, smiling, of course. "I'm trying to enjoy the moment. I hope it lasts for a long time."

Power hasn't been a part of his game, as Spangenberg entered Tuesday with 12 professional home runs in 1,665 Minor League plate appearances or one every 138.5 plate appearances. His game sets up a different way: spraying line drives around the field, using his speed to take the extra base and the ability to take a walk.

"This guy comes as a hitter," said Padres manager Bud Black. "The last month and a half [in San Antonio] he's been hitterish."

The Padres (66-71) opted to use Spangenberg as a pinch-hitter for Cameron Maybin, who is 0-for-6 with four strikeouts against Ziegler. The Padres had Seth Smith available but were holding onto him to potentially hit for the pitcher later. Spangenberg didn't wait long, jumping on a first-pitch slider, up and in.

"It was quick ... but productive," Black said.

He didn't factor in the decision, but Padres pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne allowed one run on four hits over seven innings with no walks and four strikeouts. He got 13 ground-ball outs.

Despaigne, the 27-year-old Cuban defector, has a 3.06 ERA after 13 big league starts this season after making his Major League debut on June 23 against the Giants.

"The last two outings, I've been more aggressive and trying to throw more strikes early in the count," said Despaigne, who hasn't walked more than one batter in any of his last four starts.

Arizona starting pitcher Wade Miley allowed one run on seven hits over seven innings, with two walks and five strikeouts.

The D-backs (57-81) scored first as Cliff Pennington and David Peralta opened the fourth inning with base hits. One out later, Miguel Montero dropped a soft single into center field to score a run.

The Padres answered with a run in the fifth inning. Rene Rivera -- who had two hits -- singled and raced to third base on a double into the right-field corner. One out later, Alexi Amarista singled to left field to tie the game.

The Padres put runners on the corners with hits with no outs in the eighth inning but D-backs reliever Evan Marshall struck out the next three hitters to preserve the tie.

It stayed that way until the ninth inning. Kevin Quackenbush (3-3) pitched a scoreless top of the ninth and then Spangenberg took care of the rest with one swing.

Nearly 30 minutes after his game winner, Spangenberg stood in front of his locker, beaming. He stole a quick glance at his phone to see he had 46 text messages awaiting him. He answered every question of him, including one about the faith the coaching staff has shown in him on a short look so far.

"They trust me already," he said. "If the head coach and the hitting coach trust you on the second day ... that lifts your spirits."

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.