Joe Musgrove was passed over as San Diego’s Opening Day starter, and manager Bob Melvin wanted to give the right-hander a reward.

But for it to work out, Musgrove had to be dropped to No. 3 in the rotation, so he will take the mound on Saturday night when the Padres face the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third contest of a four-game series in Phoenix.

The prize will arrive in Musgrove’s second start as he will receive the honor of being on the mound for San Diego’s home opener on Thursday against the Atlanta Braves.

That works fine for Musgrove, who grew up in the eastern part of San Diego County as an avid fan of the Padres.

“That’s a kid’s dream, throwing in your hometown in your home opener,” Musgrove told reporters. “There’s a lot of hype in San Diego now for baseball, so I know that stadium is going to be packed. It’s going to be loud. To be the guy that gets the ball on that day is pretty special.”

But first, Musgrove will have to contend with the Diamondbacks, who have yet to get a hit in 13 innings against San Diego starters while splitting the first two games of the series.

Right-hander Yu Darvish tossed six no-hit innings on Thursday before Arizona recovered with four ninth-inning runs — the final three on Seth Beer’s walkoff blast — for a 4-2 victory.

Left-hander Sean Manaea threw seven no-hit frames on Friday in a 3-0 win in which the Diamondbacks ended up with two hits.

Left-handed reliever Tim Hill gave up the first hits in both contests.

Meanwhile, the 29-year-old Musgrove put together a career-best season last year in his first campaign with the Padres. He went 11-9 — matching his career high for victories — in 32 appearances (31 starts) and set personal bests for ERA (3.18) and strikeouts (203).

Saturday is also the one-year anniversary of when he produced a feat that will be forever remembered in franchise lore — tossing the first no-hitter in Padres history against the Texas Rangers.

Musgrove went 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts against Arizona last season. Overall, he is 2-2 with a 4.08 ERA in seven appearances (six starts) against the Diamondbacks.

Arizona outfielder David Peralta is 5-for-17 with two doubles and one triple against Musgrove.

Peralta broke up the no-hitter on Friday, leading off the eighth with a single to center. Arizona’s other hit came later in the inning, a single by Geraldo Perdomo.

“Once again, it was a grind, it was just a grind for us,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “I thought we got to that very pivotal pitch of the at-bat and then we just maybe went out of the zone. We didn’t complete the at-bats offensively.”

Jurickson Profar hit a two-run homer and Eric Hosmer went 3-for-4 with two runs scored to pace San Diego on Friday.

“Contributions all over the place,” Melvin said. “We had some baserunners out there and did just enough to win the game.”

Right-hander Zach Davies will be making his Arizona debut on Saturday.

Davies struggled last season while going 6-12 with a career-worst 5.78 ERA in 32 starts for the Chicago Cubs.

In the shortened 2020 season, Davies pitched for the Padres and went 7-4 with a 2.73 ERA in 12 outings.

Davies beat his former club on June 8 of last season when he allowed just one hit over six scoreless innings during a 7-1 victory in San Diego. That continued his career-long success against the Padres. He is 5-0 with a 2.79 ERA in seven career starts.

Hosmer is 3-for-5 with a homer against Davies but Wil Myers is just 1-for-11 with five strikeouts.

–Field Level Media