- 142 wins
- 110 wins
SAN DIEGO -- Despite their first double-digit strikeout performance from a starting pitcher this season, the Padres could not complement Jason Marquis' solid effort with enough offense to overcome an early deficit, falling, 2-1, to the Texas Rangers in the opener of a three-game series at Petco Park on Monday night.
Marquis (3-6) struck out a season-high 10 batters but faltered enough in the first inning to put San Diego into a hole it could not overcome. Making his third start for the Padres, Marquis allowed two hits and walked two batters in the first as the Rangers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.
The two walks, according to Marquis, hurt the most. The run-scoring hit he allowed to David Murphy came on a ground ball that was just out of the reach of shortstop Everth Cabrera. Both Texas runs came home on the play.
"Obviously, I didn't execute early on like I wanted to," Marquis said. "I put myself in a hole early, getting a couple of guys on and Murphy found a hole. I made a good pitch on him, it just happened to find a hole, and I was able to settle down after that."
Marquis' strong outing followed his 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a win over Seattle, giving San Diego more solid returns after the club signed him to a Minor League contract in May. Marquis began the season with Minnesota but was released after making seven starts for the Twins.
"I think this is sort of a second lease on life for him," manager Bud Black said. "The guy, you look at his track record, there is some well-pitched baseball. [Padres general manager Josh Byrnes] went and got him when there was a need for us, and he has taken a hold of this opportunity. He's pitching well. Let's hope it continues."
The Padres answered back in the first against Texas left-hander Matt Harrison. Chris Denorfia and Cameron Maybin each singled before Chase Headley hit a booming double to center that may have scored both runners, but Denorfia held up between second and third base waiting to see if Leonys Martin caught the ball at the wall.
All three runners bunched up near second base, as Headley waved at the two lead runners to keep moving, and Denorfia eventually scored. Maybin and Headley ended up at third and second, respectively, before Harrison (9-3) stranded the next three batters to maintain the lead.
"I don't know what happened there," Headley said. "I was just running as hard as I could, and I looked up and there were still a couple of guys there. We scored a run there, we still had guys on second and third with nobody out, so you're feeling pretty good about yourself. With the guys coming up behind us, you'll take your chances."
The Padres went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners, including a pair in the eighth against Rangers reliever Mike Adams, who returned to San Diego for the first time since he was dealt at the Trade Deadline last season.
Denorfia started a two-out rally in the ninth with a single against Texas closer Joe Nathan, who had converted 11 straight saves and 13 of 14. John Baker followed with a single to put the tying run at second base, but Nathan got Headley to ground out to preserve the win.
"Our rally in the bottom of the first only resulted in one," Black said. "From that point on, it was pitching all the way. We stressed them a couple of times, and they stressed us. Neither team could really add on. Tough ballgame. We just couldn't get that big hit to give us the lead."
Marquis cruised after the first, at one point retiring 10 straight batters, including three consecutive strikeouts. Along the way, he also collected his 1,000th career strikeout in his 13th season in the Majors. The 33-year-old reached double digits in strikeouts for the second time in his career, and the first since recording 13 on Aug. 3, 2001, at Milwaukee as a member of the Atlanta Braves.
"I thought after the first inning we were going to have a chance to do something with him, but he settled down, made his pitches, he swung the bat, and ran the bases -- he really settled in," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I didn't think he'd be around for the seventh inning, but he was, so I tip my hat to him. Just the two runs we put up early we were able to make stand up, but he did a great job, kept his team in the game also, good pitching duel out there tonight."
Headley finished with three hits, and Carlos Quentin singled in the sixth and has reached base in each of the 17 games he has played for San Diego.
Tim Powers is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.