Right up until the moment Jody Gerut's ball touched down in the right-field bleachers for a two-run homer that gave the Padres a 4-2 walk-off win on Monday night, the D-backs never envisioned losing.
"All along we thought we were going to win the game," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "It's just that Gerut came up with one big swing."
In most respects, the game, a rematch of last week's Dan Haren-Jake Peavy pitching matchup, went according to script for the D-backs.
While Peavy didn't have his good stuff last week, he did on this night, so the D-backs did what they felt they needed to do. They made the right-hander work hard in hopes of getting his pitch count up so that he would not be able to pitch deep into the game.
"You try to just grind on him and make him throw some pitches, take some and foul some off, try to get deep counts and get him out of the game," Melvin said.
That's exactly what the D-backs did, as Peavy's pitch count rose rapidly despite the fact that Arizona had just two baserunners in the first three innings.
In the fourth, trailing 1-0, the D-backs really made Peavy labor while scoring two runs. Arizona sent six men to the plate, two of which scored on Chris Snyder's two-out single up the middle, and Peavy threw a whopping 36 pitches in the inning, nine to Snyder.
"He's a great pitcher," outfielder Chris Young said. "You want to take advantage if he gives you something over the middle of the plate, but he doesn't do that very often. So you try to get up his pitch count, have some high-pitch-count at-bats."
While Peavy mostly kept the D-backs off the bases, Haren applied more of a rope-a-dope strategy. The Padres got plenty of runners on against him -- 10 in seven innings -- but could only push across two, the second coming on Brian Giles' two-out RBI single in the fourth to tie the game.
"I knew I had good stuff and my split got better as the game went along, and I was able to strike guys out when I needed to," said Haren, who struck out a season-high 11. "I battled out of some jams. It wasn't too pretty, but I kept us right there."
After giving up five runs on 11 hits over six innings last week to the Padres, Haren adjusted the way he attacked them. Whereas last week he threw a lot of strikes early in the count, this time he pitched inside more, using cut fastballs on the left-handers.
"A lot of the hits I gave up were on balls out over the plate," Haren said. "In this ballpark they're not going to hit a ton of home runs; they're just going to get singles and try to get guys on base."
"I thought he pitched great," Melvin said. "Gave up some hits, but when he had to made big pitches. When he left we were in a tie game with a chance to win, and against a guy like Peavy that's all you can expect."
Peavy was out of the game after just six innings, but Clay Hensley, Heath Bell and Trevor Hoffman each threw a scoreless inning to keep the game tied.
Reliever Jon Rauch struck out pinch-hitter Scott Hairston to start the ninth, and Giles then hit a check-swing roller down the third-base line that Mark Reynolds fielded and threw wildly to first. The D-backs caught a break when the ball bounded off the wall to first baseman Chad Tracy, who threw to second to easily nail Giles.
Luis Rodriguez then grounded a single through the hole to right, and Gerut followed by hitting the first pitch he saw into the seats.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less