SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 11: Ernesto Frieri #39 of the San Diego Padres congratulates Chris Denorfia #13 after Denorfia hit a two-run homer during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park on April 11, 2012 in San Diego, California. The Padres won 2-1. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Chris Denorfia pumped both fists as he rounded third base on his home run trot, almost as if flexing his muscles.
San Diego badly needed a clutch hit and Denorfia provided it with a two-run shot with one out in the eighth that carried the Padres to a 2-1 win Wednesday over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who had been the last unbeaten team in the major leagues.
"I think there was a collective sigh of relief from the team there," Denorfia said. "We're kind of off to slow start offensively, and to be able to pick up our pitchers today, who did such an outstanding job, was really important. It's something we can build off."
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Denorfia's clutch shot just to the right of 396-foot sign in straightaway center field -- his first of the season -- came on a 2-1 pitch from David Hernandez (0-1). Cameron Maybin was aboard on a walk.
"That was pretty much all I got right there, but that's enough, as they say," Denorfia said.
Center fielder Chris Young lost his glove over the fence trying to make a leaping grab. The ball hit the glove as both cleared the fence. Someone from the Padres' bullpen retrieved it for him.
"You never know," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Cool day and the ball didn't seem to be carrying. I knew he hit it good. In that part of the park, there's a homer there. We've seen a lot of homers in that area. It stayed in the air long enough."
Denorfia is a .358 hitter (24-for-67) against the Diamondbacks.
"Denorfia is a dead fastball hitter and that's his strength," Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero said. "If you're going to hit it, hit it. Unfortunately, we fell behind 2-1 and I don't want to go to 3-1 and throw an off (speed) pitch. It was probably a bad pitch, a little out over. He was looking dead red and he put a really good swing on it."
Ernesto Frieri (1-0) threw 1 1-3 innings, and Huston Street pitched a perfect ninth for his first save with the Padres.
Until the homer, the Padres had only one baserunner advance as far as second.
Arizona was trying for the first 5-0 start in franchise history.
Hernandez had replaced Joe Saunders, who allowed four hits over seven innings in his season debut. He struck out four and walked two.
"Joe was outstanding," Montero said. ""He mixed pitches, he worked and he battled."
San Diego's Cory Luebke struggled in the first inning, when he threw 43 pitches and walked four. With two-outs, he loaded the bases by walking Chris Young and then forced in Willie Bloomquist with a walk to Jason Kubel. Luebke struck out Paul Goldschmidt to end the threat.
Luebke then threw 61 pitches over his final 4 1-3 innings. He allowed one run and four hits, struck out five and walked four.
With two outs in the second, Bloomquist hit a ball off the top of the wall in left field that was ruled a triple. Three of the umpires went in for a video review and upheld the call. Bloomquist was stranded when Aaron Hill flied out to center.
Arizona loaded the bases again in the seventh on a single and two walks before Frieri got Kubel to pop up to second baseman Orlando Hudson.
Luebke allowed one run and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, struck out five and walked four.