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ARI@SD: Denorfia connects on a go-ahead two-run homer

SAN DIEGO -- Take that, cool marine layer.

Chris Denorfia didn't say as much Wednesday, though that's what the Padres left fielder was thinking as his fly ball to center field in the eighth inning kept carrying and carrying, as opposed to the action that it might have taken had this been a night game at Petco Park.

"You never know when you hit it to center field," Denorfia said. "I'm just glad it was a day game and the heavy air didn't knock it down."

Instead, the only thing that took a tumble was the glove of D-backs center fielder Chris Young as well as Arizona's once-spotless record, as Denorfia's two-run home run in the eighth inning lifted the Padres to a dramatic -- or improbable, if you prefer -- 2-1 victory before a crowd of 16,091.

For nearly eight innings, the D-backs (5-1) did just about everything right, other than give themselves a little breathing room against the Padres (2-4), a team that has scuffled mightily offensively in these first games of the regular season.

Arizona pitcher Joe Saunders allowed four hits over seven scoreless innings, but his bullpen failed him in the eighth inning when reliever David Hernandez (0-1) issued a one-out walk to Cameron Maybin. That brought up Denorfia, he of five career home runs his first 390 at-bats at Petco Park.

But Denorfia jumped on a 2-1 fastball from Hernandez and drove it high and deep toward center field where Young appeared to be tracking it well as he positioned himself at the base of the fence. At the last possible second, Young leaped, but his glove fell back and over the fence.

Ironically enough, the ball actually hit Young's glove as both tumbled over the padded wall in center.

"It's unbelievable. That hasn't happened to me in my career before," Denorfia said.

From his vantage point, Young felt as though he was in good position, although he would have liked to have been one step closer to the wall.

"I probably just ran out of room," Young said. "My only other option was to go to climb the wall but at the time I thought I may have a chance just going back and trying to jump and get it."

San Diego manager Bud Black was certainly glad it did, though like Denorfia, he wasn't entirely sure the ball was destined for a home run once it left the bat.

"You never know on a cool day and the ball didn't seem to be carrying today," Black said. "But it stayed in the air long enough.

Black then stopped and smiled.

"There was cooperation there."

Whatever it was, it allowed the Padres to win a game that appeared to be going the other way, as new closer Huston Street picked up his first save in his third appearance by retiring the D-backs in order much to the delight of the fans who stayed to the finish of a game that started at 3:35 p.m. PT.

"We're definitely trying to get it going. Maybe that's the spark we need," Denorfia said.

There seemed to be some cooperation in the first inning, though it involved Padres pitcher Cory Luebke walking four in the first inning alone to the D-backs, who obliged, fouling away pitches they did not like, passing on others that were close.

The result was a 43-pitch inning for Luebke, who walked Jason Kubel to force in a run after leadoff hitter Willie Bloomquist advanced to third base with one out.

"I got a little too greedy not trying to let that run in," Luebke said, referring to Bloomquist being on third base. "And they did a good job of laying off pitches."

After that inning, Luebke looked to be a different pitcher. Where he used 43 pitches in the first inning, he went through 40 over the next four innings, pitching into the sixth inning.

"It helped that [catcher Nick Hundley] made me use my changeup. That helped me keep my pitch count down," Luebke said.

Black said that he was proud of the way that Luebke worked deep into the game after a start that might have appeared rougher than it actually was.

"It wasn't like Cory was wild," said Black, noting that the key pitch in the inning was when Luebke struck out Paul Goldschmidt with the bases loaded.

"They kept fouling off pitches and he kept missing. I'm proud of the fact that he was able to take it into the sixth inning."

Luebke left after 5 1/3 innings with Brad Brach, Josh Spence, Ernesto Frieri (1-0) and Street covering the final 3 2/3 scoreless innings with one hit allowed and five strikeouts.

That proved just enough for the Padres, who are hitting .183 with 20 runs over their first six games. It has been a struggle, to be sure, but Black is convinced better results aren't far away.

"Offensively, we're off to a slow start, but [hitting coach Phil Plantier] and I were talking, and the guys look as though they're seeing the pitches. They're not flailing at pitches. We're just not squaring them up enough." Comments