SAN DIEGO -- Chris Paddack was looking for a comeback and was for the first time facing a team for the second time.
As he warmed up before the first inning, a song by Johnny Cash, which Paddack chose, played throughout Petco Park.
It was about the second coming -- the four beasts, thunder, a white horse.
Then the glaring 23-year-old rookie, the man with the black glove, got back to throwing strikes, early and often.
Other than delivering two of them a little too fat in the third inning, Paddack accomplished what he wanted in his first start since his worst start.
After six innings in which he allowed five hits and a run and struck out seven, Paddack was lifted for a pinch-hitter. He was one out away from being a possible hard-luck loser (or at least having no chance to be credited with a win) when Greg Garcia singled and Franmil Reyes homered to give the Padres a 2-1 lead they held to the end.
Paddack (4-2) stayed at Dodger Stadium late last Tuesday, even into Wednesday morning, after the Dodgers had roughed him up, scoring six runs (three earned) in Paddack's 4 2/3 innings. It was the most runs, most hits (five) and fewest strikeouts (three) Paddack had put up in any of his eight major league starts.
Later, in the visitors' clubhouse, he wrote down some things, as is his habit. He tried to not leave until he had let the loss go.
"I told myself my next outing is probably my most important one because not only does it reset me," he said this week, "but it's also the first time I've faced a team twice in my career."
After a night of restless sleep, he got back to work.