On a day when a 20-something took the mound undefeated and another manned third base with ink still drying on a fat new contract extension, a pair of old dogs saved the day for the Diamondbacks. Tony Clark tied the game on a solo home run in the eighth inning, and Shawn Green drove in the winning run with a hard-hit single that hopped over the glove of second baseman Josh Barfield as the Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 6-5.
“Those guys are going to be our future,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said of undefeated ace Brandon Webb and newly extended third baseman Chad Tracy. “But the present is this group we have in there right now.”
The Padres suffered just their second loss in their last 16 games and saw a five-game winning streak snapped. Their lead in the National League West slipped to half a game over the Diamondbacks.
Clark’s homer snapped an 0-for-26 slump and conjured images of 2005, when the veteran first baseman routinely came through in the clutch. Green’s single drove in Eric Byrnes — who led off the 10th with a double — and led the Diamondbacks to their third win in their last seven games.
Clark, who shaved off his Afro after the team was greeted at the airport Sunday night by triple-digit temperatures, said his new look was not the reason he broke out Monday.
“If it was I would’ve cut it a long time ago,” Clark said. “I haven’t made a contribution in a while, so it’s nice to offer something and put us in a position to win.”
Clark batted .304 with 30 home runs and 87 RBIs last summer in his first season with the Diamondbacks, but he entered Monday’s game with a .140 average and just one homer.
“T.C. cut his hair and that’s what he needed,” Webb joked. “It was a big time for him to come in and hit that ball. He was in a bit of a slump and to come out and hit that ball I think it’s going to jump-start him for sure.”
Webb is going to have to take a loss eventually, and Monday looked like as good a day as any for it to happen. The Diamondbacks ace surrendered five runs on 10 hits and left the game with his team trailing 5-4 in the sixth.
Only Clark’s towering shot in the eighth allowed Webb to escape with a no-decision. He remains the only undefeated pitcher with more than five wins in baseball.
After missing out on the decision in his first two starts this season, Webb had reeled off six straight wins going into Monday’s game. During the stretch he never gave up more than three runs.
On Monday he gave up three runs in the fourth inning alone when Josh Bard hit a two-run home run and Adrian Gonzalez added a solo shot to make the score 4-3. He surrendered the Diamondbacks’ lead on opposing pitcher Chan Ho Park’s two-run single with two outs in the sixth.
Park was 3-for-3 against Webb.
“Still undefeated. It was not one of my better outings,” Webb said with a grin. “If I could get that Park guy out I think I’d be all right. He seemed to own me tonight.”