SAN DIEGO -- With all that Doug Davis has been through this year, a perfect game would have been quite a bonus.
Davis, who underwent surgery for cancer this season, was untouchable before allowing Brian Giles' two-out single in the seventh inning of the Arizona Diamondbacks' 3-0 victory against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
"I was conscious about it the whole time," Davis said. "I was trying to challenge the hitters. I was just thinking throw strikes and let them hit it. That's what I was thinking the whole game."
Giles spoiled Davis' shot at perfection when he lined a single to center field. Davis (4-5) settled for a combined two-hitter with two relievers for the NL West leaders.
But it took a sensational catch by rookie right fielder Alex Romero to save the Diamondbacks from a possible loss.
Romero made a long run into right-center to rob pinch-hitter Jody Gerut with a basket catch with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth.
The catch, with Romero's back to home plate, was made as he hit the outfield wall in the deepest part of cavernous Petco Park.
"It was the best catch that I've seen that wouldn't have been a home run," said Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young, who has made some great grabs himself. "I have no idea how he caught it. Somehow he had his glove out there and the ball went in.
"When the ball was hit, I'm thinking there was a good chance they're going to get three (runs)."
The Padres had not come close to reaching base against Davis through 6 2/3 innings before Giles' single on a 2-2 pitch.
"He threw cutters, fastballs, changeups, sliders, breaking balls, whatever for strikes anytime he wanted," Giles said. "When you have four or five pitches you can throw for strikes, it makes for a tough night."
Said Davis: "The ball Giles hit was a mistake. It was supposed to be down and away. It still wasn't a bad pitch but he got a good swing on it. I just thought it was a good run and let's get the next guy out."
The Padres struck out eight times, hit into 10 groundouts and popped up twice against Davis, who left with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth.
"I was terrible warming up before the game," he said. "During the game I got into a groove."
Arizona remained one game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who beat San Francisco 2-0.
"The catch out in right field was something amazing," Davis said. "When (Gerut) hit the ball, I thought he had no chance to catch it, let alone staying in the park. Everybody jumped up like we won the pennant."
Davis allowed a one-out infield single in the eighth to rookie Chase Headley. The left-hander then walked Khalil Greene before loading the bases on a two-out walk to pinch-hitter Josh Bard before Romero's catch.
"I was just trying to catch the ball any way I can," said Romero, recalled from Triple-A Tucson on July 4.
Romero drove in two runs during Arizona's three-run sixth against Clay Hensley (1-2).
Davis was bidding to throw the second perfect game in the Diamondbacks' 11-year history. Five-time Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson tossed one in a 2-0 victory at Atlanta on May 18, 2004.
Davis was making his 13th start since coming off the disabled list following surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid. He made two starts to begin the season, the second on April 8, only two days before he underwent surgery. He returned to make his next start on May 23 at Atlanta.
The performance overshadowed the return of San Diego's Chris Young, who made his first start since sustaining a broken nose and fractured skull when St. Louis' Albert Pujols hit a line drive off his face on May 21.
Young was outstanding in five innings, allowing two hits and striking out eight before leaving the scoreless game when he came close to his 90-pitch limit.
"I was more relaxed than normal," Young said. "I was so excited to be back out there pitching. I didn't take it for granted. I tried to enjoy it more and appreciated it more than I did before I got hurt."
Young, who threw 88 pitches, struck out the side in the first around a single by Orlando Hudson. The right-hander struck out the side in the second.
Conor Jackson and Tony Clark had one-out singles in the sixth. Jackson scored when Mark Reynolds reached on a fielding error by third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff. After a walk to Chris Snyder loaded the bases, Romero singled in two runs when center fielder Scott Hairston failed to hold onto his sinking line drive.
- The two-hitter was the 14th in Arizona's history.
- The Diamondbacks, 24-30 on the road, have won four of their first five games on a 10-game road trip.