When the San Diego shortstop looked up, speedy Texas baserunner Delino DeShields was sprinting toward home plate. Middlebrooks threw home, but it was too late.
The first-inning run on Prince Fielder's 150-foot sacrifice fly ended up being the difference in a 4-3 loss to the Rangers on Friday night that extended the Padres' longest losing streak this season to six games. Four of the losses have been by one run.
"It seems like there's always one play offensively or defensively that is turning the game for us one way or the other," said Middlebrooks, who didn't think DeShields had tagged up because the runner was off the bag the last time he looked. "It's been a tough stretch."
Fielder's run-scoring hit off Ian Kennedy (4-9) went quite a bit deeper — 415 feet into the upper deck in right field for his 14th home run. Adrian Beltre went back-to-back with his seventh homer as the Rangers ended an eight-game home losing streak, one shy of a Texas franchise record.
But the popup was the talker for the Padres.
"That obviously was a little bit of a debacle," Padres interim manager Pat Murphy said. "It's kind of alarming that it's happened so consistently and then we're losing one-run games."
Rangers starter Wandy Rodriguez (6-4) ended his seven-game losing streak in Arlington, where he hadn't won in nine years. In 5 1-3 innings, he allowed three hits and one run — Melvin Upton Jr.'s leadoff homer in the sixth.
Upton had his first three-hit game this season. Matt Kemp added a single and a double.
The Rangers' Rougned Odor tripled and singled.
Rodriguez said he felt more comfortable on the mound, six days after allowing five runs in five innings in a loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Between starts, Rodriguez threw off the game mound instead of in the bullpen.
"I felt a little weird my last time on the mound, so I talked to the guys that fix the field," he said. "They worked on it a little bit and fixed it."
San Diego pulled to 4-3 against Tanner Scheppers, Texas' fifth pitcher, in the eighth inning.
NO REWARD FOR KENNEDY
Kennedy has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last eight starts. He has lost each of his last four starts despite a 3.38 ERA (8 earned runs in 20 1-3 innings).
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland (strained shoulder) threw a bullpen session Friday. ... LHP Martin Perez, out since undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2014, is scheduled for another injury-rehab start with Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday.
Padres: Justin Upton (sore left oblique) returned after being scratched from the previous game's lineup on Wednesday at Pittsburgh. ... RHP Brandon Morrow (inflamed right shoulder) is with the Padres, and is scheduled for a simulated game Saturday. ... C Tim Federowicz (right knee surgery) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Lake Elsinore on Saturday.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (8-4, 4.83) had won four straight decisions before giving up five runs in five innings against the Angels on Saturday. Lewis could cross San Diego off the list of teams he hasn't faced, leaving just the Dodgers and Pirates.
Padres: RHP James Shields (7-3, 3.88) is 0-3 in his last six starts. In 13 career starts against Texas he is 7-3, 2.44.