But strange things have happened to the Padres here over the years. And after they nearly blew a 10-run lead, the Padres were happy to leave town with a 14-10 victory and the NL West lead.
San Diego watched in disbelief as the Diamondbacks tied a team record in an eight-run sixth to draw within 11-10. The Padres weren't safe until Brian Giles, who drove in a career-high seven runs, hit a three-run homer off Luis Vizcaino in the seventh.
"It looked like one of those easy games, and then it got interesting real quick there," San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. "We haven't had a lot of luck in this ballpark, and it seemed like it was headed that way again."
With the victory, the Padres improved to 20-49 all-time at Chase Field, formerly known as Bank One Ballpark. They also averted a three-game sweep by the Diamondbacks, who swept three from San Diego in Petco Park last month.
It was the sort of wild game that has become common in the topsy-turvy NL West, where every team is over .500. The Diamondbacks used two starting pitchers -- Juan Cruz (1-2) and Claudio Vargas -- to record a total of eight outs. After leading 11-2 in the sixth inning, San Diego had to call on closer Trevor Hoffman to finish the game.
The smallest crowd in Arizona history, 18,012, watched the Padres rock Diamondback starting pitcher Cruz, who retired only two of the 12 batters he faced.
"I just had a bad day," said Cruz, who allowed the nine runs on five hits, three walks and two hit batsmen. "That was the worst game in all my career."
Padres starter Mike Thompson (1-0), who was promoted from Triple-A Portland Tuesday night, allowed three runs in five innings to earn a victory in his major league debut.
Arizona had won the first two games of the three-game series to vault over the Padres and take sole possession of first place for the first time since May 25, 2005. But the Diamondbacks' hopes for a sweep dimmed in a disastrous first inning.
The inning began when Dave Roberts led off with a double. After Cruz walked Mike Cameron, Giles singled to make it 1-0.
Khalil Greene doubled to make it 3-0, and after Cruz struck out Mark Bellhorn for the first out, Geoff Blum singled home two runs to give San Diego a 5-0 lead.
Four batters later, Cruz walked Cameron -- for the second time in the inning -- to force in the Padres' sixth run. Arizona manager Bob Melvin lifted Cruz after Giles' bases-clearing double made it 9-0.
Giles finished 4-for-6 with two singles, a double and a homer. He credited leadoff man Dave Roberts and No. 2 hitter Mike Cameron, who reached base a combined seven times Wednesday night, for his record RBI performance.
"They're setting the table great for me," Giles said.
The Diamondbacks set a record for runs allowed in a first inning. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the previous mark was eight in a 12-7 loss to San Francisco on April 23, 2000.
It was San Diego's biggest inning since May 31, 1994, when the Padres tied a club record with 13 runs in the second inning against Pittsburgh.
Taking the mound with a nine-run cushion, Thompson seemed assured of his first career victory. But the Diamondbacks made him sweat it out.
Trailing 11-2, Arizona scored eight runs in the sixth inning. The rally began with three consecutive singles off Thompson, who was lifted by Padre manager Bruce Bochy. Conor Jackson greeted reliever Scott Cassidy with a two-run double, and then Johnny Estrada doubled to make it 11-5.
Greene's fielding error set the stage for Tony Clark's three-run pinch home run, which trimmed Arizona's deficit to 11-8.
After Craig Counsell singled, Eric Byrnes hammered a Cassidy pitch into the left field seats to make it 11-10, San Diego. Bochy summoned Alan Embree, who retired Chad Tracy to end the inning.
Arizona's eight-run inning tied a club record, achieved five times.
"We finally got out of that inning," Bochy said. "It seemed like it was never going to end."
Arizona has done this before, rallying from a six-run fifth-inning deficit to beat Los Angeles 10-8 May 2 in Chase Field. The Diamondbacks also erased six- and seven-run deficits in games they went on to lose against San Francisco here last month.
"I tell you, every time we get in that position we battle back," Melvin said.
It took Scott Linebrink, who pitched the seventh and eighth innings, and Hoffman to shut down the Diamondbacks.
Melvin was forced to call on Vargas, Friday's scheduled starter, to pitch the last two innings.
"It would have been disappointing to lose a lead of that many runs," Greene said. "It was good to at least win one coming out of here."
After using Friday's scheduled starter, Claudio Vargas, to pitch the last two innings, Melvin announced that Miguel Batista and Brandon Webb will each move up a day. Batista will start Friday against Atlanta and Webb will face the Braves on Saturday. Because the Diamondbacks are off Thursday, both pitchers will go on their usual four-day rest. ... Umpire Mark Hirschbeck missed the game after leaving Tuesday night's game with back spasms. He was replaced Wednesday night by Rob Drake, who worked third base. ... The Diamondbacks, who drew a franchise season-low 2,058,741 last year, have drawn the three smallest crowds in team history this season.