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MLB: Struggling Padres bid to find footing vs. Diamondbacks

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The San Diego Padres likely thought Wednesday afternoon’s loss in Oakland was bad when they squandered leads in both the ninth and 10th innings.

Well, they might’ve topped that Friday night. The Padres seized a five-run lead in just two innings against the worst team in the majors before surrendering eight runs in a span of three outs to lose a home game to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

If not in serious trouble, the Padres are walking a tightrope above an abyss. And manager Jayce Tingler knows it.

Tingler sounded the alarm before Friday’s opener of a six-game homestand against two division cellar dwellers in Arizona and the Miami Marlins.

“With the time of the year, we know this homestand, this month is going to be critical,” Tingler said. “Our main focus is, we have to play good baseball. We can’t worry about watching the scoreboard and what the other teams are doing. We have to play good baseball. If we do that, we are going to win games and we’re going to stay in the fight.

“If we stay in the fight, looking at the last month’s schedule we play a lot of those teams ahead of us quite a bit. That will be our chance to get back in this thing.”

And after Friday’s loss to the lowly Diamondbacks?

“No doubt, it’s disappointing,” Tingler said. “We’ve been spinning our wheels. It’s now.”

Which is what makes Saturday night’s game against the Diamondbacks an intriguing matchup. See, the Padres have lost five of theplast seven games they’ve played at home against teams with two of the worst road records in the majors (Colorado and Arizona). They’ve fallen to 7 1/2 games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West but are holding on to the second wild-card spot.

Saturday night features a matchup of Padres All-Star right-hander Yu Darvish (7-6, 3.48 ERA) against Arizona righty Taylor Widener (1-1, 5.05).

Darvish has lost four straight decisions and has a 7.66 ERA over his past five starts. He has served up nine home runs in those five starts after giving up only 10 in his first 16 outings. In fact, he has given up the same number of earned runs in his past five starts as he had yielded in the previous 14.

Darvish owns a 3-1 record with 3.27 ERA in seven career starts versus the Diamondbacks.

Widener has surrendered five earned runs in each of his past three outings. He was able to walk away with a pair of no-decisions, including one after his 4 1/3-inning stint against the San Francisco Giants on Monday.

Widener’s lone win this season came at the expense of the Padres. He scattered three hits over six scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory on April 4.

Widener is 1-0 with a 3.97 ERA in four career appearances versus San Diego.

Despite the Diamondbacks’ place in the standings, manager Torey Lovullo credited the determination and resolve of his players in the series opener.

“I love the way we fought back tonight, chained hits together and won,” Lovullo said. “We didn’t quit when things didn’t look good.”

–Field Level Media

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