Again using an assortment of breaking pitches and arm angles, the 27-year-old Despaigne outdueled fellow rookie Michael Bolsinger to win his second straight start as the Padres beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 Sunday to pop out of their one-day stay in last place in the NL West.
Cameron Maybin keyed the two-run fourth inning for San Diego, which scored their most runs in four games.
"He's got a nice pulse to him," manager Bud Black said of Despaigne, who defected last summer. "Our heartbeat's down. He doesn't get fazed. Working his way through a 2 1/2 hour work day, he is pretty composed and clear-thinking. This guy knows how to pitch."
Despaigne (2-0) held Arizona to one run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking four and striking out two. He is the sixth Padres pitcher to win his first two starts, and the seventh San Diego pitcher overall to get a win in his first two appearances.
In his big league debut last Monday at San Francisco, he held the Giants to four hits in seven shutout innings, striking out one and walking none in a 1-0 win.
Despaigne allowed three of the first four Arizona batters to reach base, but allowed only one run. Leadoff batter Ender Inciarte beat out an infield single and stole second before Paul Goldschmidt walked. Miguel Montero singled in Inciarte before Despaigne got Aaron Hill to fly out to center and struck out Martin Prado to strand runners on first and third.
"He wasn't stressed a great deal last week in San Francisco," Black said. "He was stressed there in the first and hung in there. It was good that he didn't let that second run score. His heartbeat's pretty good. He knows his game. He knows what he can do with the ball."
Despaigne, who signed a minor league contract with the Padres on May 2, said he felt good in making his first start at Petco Park.
"I was excited to pitch here in front of the fans," he said through interpreter Yasmani Grandal, who caught both of his starts. "We had lost two games so I wanted to get that win for us.
"I felt good," said Despaigne, who played eight seasons with the Havana Industriales of Cuba's Serie Nacional. "My breaking pitches were outside the zone so I had to make adjustments and I got it through."
Grandal said he told Despaigne the same thing he did in San Francisco: "Make sure you don't shake me off. He did that the first six innings and at the end he wanted to throw something else. You've got to give him the benefit of the doubt. If he wants to pitch his own game for an inning, hey, I'll give him that."
Despaigne got the Diamondbacks to hit into three double plays.
"A lot of deception," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We had some opportunities. He's thrown two games and he's given up one run. He's doing something right."
The Padres scored their most runs in four games. Through 81 games, they had scored one or fewer runs 27 times. They swapped places with the Diamondbacks, who had leapfrogged the Padres into fourth place after winning 3-1 Saturday night.
Huston Street pitched the ninth for his 21st save in as many chances.
The Padres scored twice in the fourth on two hits, two walks and a sacrifice fly off Bolsinger (1-4). Chase Headley drew a leadoff walk, advanced on Tommy Medica's one-out single to left and scored on Maybin's double down the right-field line. Medica scored on Alexi Amarista's sac fly.
Bolsinger allowed two runs and three hits in six innings, struck out six and walked four.
"Since I have been up here I prided myself on not walking people," Bolsinger said. "Kind of like the San Francisco game, where the one walk I gave up, the run scored. So, I just have to try to eliminate that. Besides that, everything else was pretty good."
Nick Ahmed was selected from Triple-A Reno before the game and made his big league debut for the Diamondbacks, starting at SS and batting eighth. He grounded into a double play in his first at-bat and got his first big league hit, a single, in the seventh. ... The Padres open a three-game series against Cincinnati on Monday night, when former San Diego ace Mat Latos (1-0, 2.89) is scheduled to start against rookie Jesse Hahn (3-1, 2.38). ... The Diamondbacks are off Monday before opening a three-game series at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, when the scheduled starters are Wade Miley (3-6, 4.78) against Jeff Locke (1-1, 3.74) in a matchup of lefties.