SAN DIEGO - Doug Davis took a little hop off the mound as the ball went over his head, pounded his glove once and spit.
“I was thinking — it was a good run. Get the next guy out,” said Davis, who retired the first 20 batters before Brian Giles lined a single to center field with two outs in the seventh inning to end his perfect game Tuesday.
The Diamondbacks’ heroics hardly stopped there.
Right fielder Alex Romero saved Davis’ 3-0 victory with a running catch at the fence in right-center field on Jody Gerut’s deep fly with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth inning as the D-Backs won for the fifth time in six games.
Romero did not seem to have a chance to make the play, but caught it with his glove stretched out to his left side a foot from the fence.
“That was a (great) catch,” said Chris Young, who got his glove over the center-field fence to take a grand slam homer from Mike Cameron here last season. “It was better than mine. I had time to set my feet.”
The D-Backs (54-52) remained a game ahead of Los Angeles with a four-game series against the Dodgers beginning Thursday.
“That’s as good a play as I’ve ever seen,” D-Backs manager Bob Melvin said. “All the things that were involved — as far as he had to run, the magnitude of the play. When he hit it, I couldn’t imagine him catching it.”
Romero also had a two-run single in a three-run sixth that also included singles by Conor Jackson and Tony Clark.
“I knew the ball was going deep, so I had to run hard,” Romero said.
“That saved the game,” said Davis, who allowed only one ball out of the infield until Giles hit a 2-2 fastball to center field in the seventh.
Davis struck out eight and walked two, and the Padres had only one or two hard-hit balls before Giles’ single.
“Warming up, I didn’t feel I had a sinker, but during the game I just got into a groove,” said Davis, 4-5.
“I was conscious (of the perfect game) the whole way. I was thinking, challenge the hitter. Throw strikes and let them hit it. When I got ahead, I was able to elevate the high fastball.”
Davis, who averages a walk every two innings, got two three-ball counts on only two batters until walking his only two men in the eighth.
“Everything worked. He had a great change-up and good cutter to both sides and just enough curve balls,” Melvin said.
“That’s as good as we’ve seen Doug pitch.”