Padres’ bats quiet, bullpen blows lead in 9th in 4-2 loss


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It was a tough night for the San Diego Padres on Saturday night in the second game of their weekend series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  After defeating the Pirates Friday night, the Padres looked to win the series and their 30th game of the season before their series finale Sunday afternoon but fell short 4-2.

It was an ugly game for San Diego offensively, with Manny Machado given the night off to nurse a minor injury, leaving 16 runners on base and going 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.  Even with all of the missed opportunities at the plate, which also included leaving the bases loaded three times, San Diego had a great chance to win the game thanks to the pitching of Joe Musgrove, Robert Suarez, and Luis Garcia, who combined for 12 strikeouts while only allowing a combined one run through eight innings.

With the game tied at one heading into the bottom of the seventh, Trent Grisham broke the Padres’ 0-for-10 streak with runners in scoring position with a 2-out RBI single to put the Padres ahead 2-1.

After a scoreless eighth inning from Garcia, the Padres again failed to drive in a runner in scoring position and went into the top half of the ninth, clinging to the 2-1 lead.

Padres’ closer Taylor Rogers, who has been excellent all season, came in to shut down the game for the Padres but did not have his normal command from the start.  A leadoff double and then a walk put Rogers and the Padres in a tough spot with runners on first and second with nobody out.  While Rogers struck out the next batter, he then left a hanging slider right over the heart of the plate to Pirates’ third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes who drove the pitch over the center field wall for a three-run home run, putting Pittsburgh up 4-2.

It was only Rogers’ second blown save in 19 tries, but this one definitely stung after the pitching had been so good all game.

“Every now and then, he’ll throw an errant one, but that one was just up to a pretty good right-handed hitter at the time, but like I said, we could have made it easier on ourselves early on,” said Padres’ manager Bob Melvin regarding Taylor’s uncharacteristic lack of command and the Padres inability to drive in runs.

Musgrove, the Padres’ starting pitcher, went six innings of one-run ball, striking out seven and walking only two.   Though he wasn’t his sharpest, he was able to get out of a handful of jams to hold the Pirates to only the one run.

“That’s as hard as he’s worked, I think.  They made him work pretty hard.  He had to get out of some jams, and it might not have been his best stuff, but I think they made him work hard enough to where I think six innings was enough for him even though we’re used to seeing him go seven,” said Melvin about the grind that Musgrove fought through Saturday.

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Musgrove extended his streak of games in which he throws at least six innings while giving up two or fewer runs to nine games, the second-best by a Padre in history.  A streak that was snapped in Saturday’s loss for San Diego was a perfect record in which Musgrove has started.

The Padres will look to take the series and reach the 30-win plateau on Sunday, with MacKenzie Gore getting the start against the Pirates.

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