SAN DIEGO -- Early in Sunday's 8-2 loss to the Padres, the D-backs were simply a team for which the "game of inches" just wasn't adding up. But late in the game, those inches turned into feet -- 779 of them on two seventh-inning homers from Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin, to be exact -- which lengthened the Padres' lead and sent Arizona to its 10th loss in 15 games against San Diego this season.
A few inches here and there, and the D-backs very well could have been in a tie game heading to the seventh inning. Had Carlos Quentin's second-inning line drive down the line been an inch to the left rather than on the chalk of the foul line, for example, it would have been a harmless foul ball rather than a rally-sparking double.
Or had Cameron Maybin's line drive two batters later been a half-inch lower, it might have hit the glove of leaping D-backs third baseman Chris Johnson and turned into an out, rather than a two-run double.
Those two runs were big in a tough-luck loss for rookie southpaw Patrick Corbin (5-7), who threw 5 1/3 innings and allowed just one more run on a home run to San Diego right fielder Chris Denorfia.
"Patrick threw the ball fine. Made a couple mistakes, the one to Denorfia," Gibson said. "Overall, a pretty solid performance."
"I felt all right. There's a couple pitches that I'd like to take back, the one to Denorfia, the double to Quentin." Corbin said. "On both of the hits that I'd like to take back I was thinking, 'Throw it for a strike.' ... I just need to go out there and don't change anything which is what I did on [the pitch to Denorfia], and it's obviously something I want to take back. It's frustrating that I kind of just laid it in there for him."
But Corbin's offense couldn't back what was, despite those few mistakes, a solid performance, and the Arizona bullpen couldn't keep the D-backs within striking distance. After two walks and an Aaron Hill error loaded the bases in the seventh, Headley unloaded them with his 27th home run and second grand slam of the season. Quentin followed that up with a shot of his own, his 16th on the year, to give the Padres their first set of back-to-back homers this season.
One play that did measure up for Arizona came from rookie center fielder Adam Eaton, playing in just his fifth big league game. With San Diego shortstop Andy Parrino on first with no one out in the fifth, Maybin hit a deep fly ball to center that looked like it might carry over Eaton's head. But the speedster tracked it down, whirled, and fired a 200-foot strike to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to double up Parrino.
"The ball was a pretty good shot out there to left-center, and I happened to come down with it," Eaton said. "I saw that he was decently far off, usually a few steps to second is kind of the gauge ... [and I] happened to make a good throw, Goldschmidt made a good snag over there, and it happened to work out."
Eaton, who has 10 hits in his first 25 Major League at-bats, singled, doubled, stole a base and scored a run.
"He's shown us a lot of different ways that he can help the ballclub. ... He's walked, got on base, been scrappy, seen good hustle from him," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's played some very good outfield, so that's been a bright spot for us."
He was one of just three D-backs with hits, joining Johnson and catcher Miguel Montero with two apiece. Much of Arizona's offensive futility was due to Padres starter Andrew Werner (2-1) yielding just four hits and one run in 6 1/3 innings, striking out six.
The D-backs went 5-5 on this 10-game NL West road trip, numbers that are not measuring up in the National League Wild Card standings, as the loss sends the D-backs to seven games back with 21 games to go.
"It's disappointing. We lost a lot of close games besides today. A lot of them were close. We had a chance to certainly take the series in Los Angeles, lost the one-run game where the Giants walked us off. Then this series here, we just haven't been good against the Padres," Gibson said. "We were 5-5 on the trip, been pretty close to a .500 club for most of the latter part of this year ... and it hasn't been good enough."
Chelsea Janes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.