Darvish (back) exits early, Diamondbacks beat Padres 12-3

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San Diego Padres starting pitcher Yu Darvish tosses the ball between pitches during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX (AP) — Yu Darvish left a rocky start early with lower back tightness, and the Arizona Diamondbacks took advantage to beat the San Diego Padres 12-3 on Thursday night.

Pavin Smith had four RBIs and Caleb Smith pitched 5 1/3 quality innings of relief for the last-place Diamondbacks.

Darvish exited in the third. The right-hander didn’t look comfortable on the mound and was pulled after throwing a ball in the dirt to Josh VanMeter.

San Diego manager Jayce Tingler wouldn’t speculate about whether Darvish will make his next scheduled start and said the team will see how he responds to treatment.

“Long, frustrating game tonight for sure,” Tingler said.

Darvish (7-7) gave up five runs on six hits and a walk through 2 2/3 innings. He struck out four and threw 74 pitches.

If he misses significant time, it would provide another obstacle for the Padres as they try to climb in the NL West standings. They’re in third place, nine games behind first-place San Francisco and five back of the Los Angeles Dodgers. San Diego currently holds the second NL wild-card spot.

The Padres already have several important players on the injured list, including star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., infielder Jurickson Profar and pitchers Drew Pomeranz, Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack.

Suddenly, the team’s playoff chances look tenuous.

“We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves or anything like that,” Tingler said. “This is what we’ve got. This is baseball. Everyone deals with some type of adversity. We’ve got to continue to fight and battle.”

San Diego jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first after three of the first four batters reached base. Tommy Pham opened the game with a double and scored on Adam Frazier’s triple. Jake Cronenworth followed with a one-out single to score Frazier.

But the Diamondbacks took command with five runs in the third and three in the fourth. Pavin Smith had a two-run double in the third and a two-run single in the fourth. David Peralta added a two-run homer.

Carson Kelly and Josh Rojas both had four hits, which set a career high for Kelly and tied one for Rojas. Arizona finished with 15 hits.

“It seemed like every time, the right guy was in the right spot,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “Those are special days.”

Caleb Smith (4-8) gave up one unearned run over 5 1/3 innings. He relieved Matt Peacock, who started for the Diamondbacks after Taylor Widener was a late scratch. The Diamondbacks said Widener was experiencing “cold-like symptoms” and didn’t come to Chase Field as a precaution.

Peacock gave up two runs over 1 1/3 innings.

Caleb Smith had struggled with his command in recent starts — walking 11 batters and giving up 10 runs over three total innings — which led Lovullo to drop him from the rotation earlier this week. The left-hander was much sharper out of the bullpen, walking one, giving up four hits and striking out five.

“He was pounding the zone and gave us a chance to get that lead and extend that lead,” Lovullo said.

MAKING MOVES

The Padres optioned RHP Reiss Knehr to Triple-A El Paso and called up RHP Nabil Crismatt.

TRAINER’S ROOM

The Diamondbacks placed OF Kole Calhoun (strained left hamstring) on the injured list for the third time this season. He dealt with a knee injury during spring training and later had problems with his hamstring. … Arizona also placed Widener on the injured list and called up RHP Humberto Castellanos from Triple-A Reno.

UP NEXT

The Diamondbacks will send LHP Madison Bumgarner (6-7, 4.42 ERA) to the mound to face LHP Blake Snell (4-4, 5.44) on Friday in the second of a four-game series.

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