Cesar Vargas probably deserved his first major league win in any of his first three starts and didn't get it. The loss in his fourth was justified.
The San Diego rookie will try to recover from that and get that first victory Sunday as the Padres try for a series win in the conclusion of a four-game road set with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Vargas (0-2, 3.54 ERA) was 0-1 with a 1.10 ERA after his first three starts, never allowing more than a run or five hits and going deep enough for a win in each. That trend ended in Tuesday's 8-7 loss to the Chicago Cubs, with the right-hander giving up six runs and 10 hits in four innings. He walked three for a fourth straight game.
"If you leave it in the zone, it's going to get hit," Vargas told MLB's official website. "They're attacking. I was trying to be too perfect, and that probably played into it, but they're good hitters."
Counterpart Zach Davies has allowed three more earned runs this season in 9 1/3 fewer innings than he did in six starts last year as he made his major league debut. The right-hander has started to level out with four runs allowed in 11 innings over his last two starts after beginning the year with three straight losses.
The 23-year-old gave up two runs and five hits in five innings of Tuesday's 10-2 win in Miami for his first victory of the year.
"It was great to get the first (win) out of the way," Davies said. "Kind of get the monkey off my back and go through the next few starts and become the pitcher that I've been in the past."
Davies (1-3, 6.29) still walked three and has issued nine bases on balls in 16 innings over his last three starts. His 4.81 walks per nine innings is up from 3.97 last season.
"He got through his five innings," manager Craig Counsell said. "He was behind a bunch of hitters. I just thought he had to work to get through those five innings. I know he put up a zero in the fifth, but I thought it was time to go to somebody else."
Davies turned in likely his best major league start in a 5-0 win in San Diego on Sept. 30, giving up five hits in seven innings, though Melvin Upton Jr. was 2 for 2.
San Diego (17-21) has won three of the first four in the series after Saturday's 8-7 victory in 12 innings. Upton was 4 for 5 and hit back-to-back home runs with Derek Norris in the top of the 12th to give the Padres their fourth win in five games. Upton is 7 for 12 with two home runs in the series.
The Brewers (15-22) lost for the third time in four games despite three-hit efforts from Jonathan Villar and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. The former is 11 for 24 in his last six games, while the latter is 5 for 9 in the last two.