San Diego's Andrew Cashner pitched six solid innings and hit his first homer. "I've been thinking about that my whole life," he said.


PHOENIX - With two veteran starters working their way back from the disabled list, the Diamondbacks have decisions to make in their rotation. After what happened Saturday night at Chase Field, one of those decisions became a lot easier.

Rookie left-hander Tyler Skaggs was shelled for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings of a 12-3 loss to the San Diego Padres, and after the game the D-backs optioned him to Triple-A Reno, making room for right-hander Brandon McCarthy's imminent return from the DL.

The loss cost Arizona a game in the National League West as the first-place Dodgers, who beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-1, increased their lead to 1 1/2 games over the Diamondbacks.

Skaggs, whose velocity has disappeared this season, saw his control vanish as well against the Padres. Each of the career-high-tying five walks he issued led to a run.

"For whatever reason he had no command of his fastball today," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "He was trying to throw the ball in and he couldn't get it in there."

In seven starts in the majors, Skaggs has a 5.35 ERA, with 23 runs allowed in 38 2/3 innings.

Arizona will have another rotation decision to make in the coming weeks once right-hander Trevor Cahill is ready to return. He's set to make a rehab start for Reno this week.

Skaggs seemed to be cruising after he retired the first two batters of the third inning, bringing Chris Denorfia to the plate with the bases empty. But Skaggs walked him on four straight pitches and hit Chase Headley in the leg with curve.

He then walked Carlos Quentin to load the bases and Jesus Guzman to force in a run, and after getting ahead 0-2 on Yonder Alonso, Skaggs hung a breaking ball that Alonso ripped down the first-base line for a bases-clearing double to make it 5-1 Padres.

Denorfia and Headley added back-to-back homers in the fourth off Skaggs. Padres starter Andrew Cashner (7-5) gave up four hits and three runs in six innings and hit his first career home run in the sixth.