Diamondbacks look to win elusive streak against Padres

Now that the Arizona Diamondbacks have won their first road game since April 25, can they also win their first series since May 2?

That’s the question to be answered on Sunday as the Diamondbacks seek a second straight road victory over the San Diego Padres.

Arizona broke a major league record of 24 straight road losses on Saturday night with a 10-1 loss to the Padres.

“Tonight feels good,” said Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo. “But it’s a game. It was a tough race.”

And suddenly the pressure shifts to the Padres. Their two starters the last two nights only lasted 2 1/3 innings, which meant the reliever pen handled the heavy lifting.

“With a day off before this series and another Monday, everything should be fine,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler, when asked about the condition of his paddock after Saturday’s loss that ended a eight-game winning streak.

The best asset in the Padres’ enclosure on Sunday is Yu Darvish (7-2, 2.50 ERA), who will face his right-handed compatriot Zac Gallen (1-3, 3.67).

Darvish is the ace of the Padres staff. He has worked at least five innings in each of his last seven starts and has completed seven innings in six of his 15 outings. The Padres are 12-3 in Darvish’s starts.

In his most recent outing, Darvish limited the Los Angeles Dodgers to one run on two hits in six innings. He made 11 to become the fastest pitcher in major league history with 1,500 strikeouts.

“I am impressed every time Darvish goes there,” Tingler said recently. “He has a great throwing arsenal. When something doesn’t work, he moves on. He knows how to navigate a roster and a game.”

On Sunday, that could mean getting earlier outs and using his normal streak of about 100 shots to go seven, maybe eight innings. The Padres have enough box arms to cover the last two innings, but not the middle of the game.

One of Darvish’s strengths is his ability to adapt to the situation. Three of his previous seven-set outings were in the same situation as the Padres facing Sunday: a steam-powered reliever box.

“There’s a reason Darvish is an ace,” Tingler said.

Darvish has limited opposition to a 0.189 batting average this season while striking out 108 batters in 90 innings.

Arguably Darvish’s worst start to a season came on April 1 against the Diamondbacks at Petco Park. He allowed four runs on eight hits and one walk with six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

Darvish is 3-1 with a 3.57 ERA in six career starts against Arizona.

Meanwhile, Gallen, 25, will make his third start since returning from an extended stay on the injured list. Gallen limited the Milwaukee Brewers to one point on three walks without a walk and eight strikeouts in five innings on Tuesday.

Gallen has limited opposition to a 0.195 batting average this season. He has 43 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings.

Gallen is 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two career starts against San Diego.

– Field level media

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