The San Diego Padres began their critical road trip on Tuesday night in Arizona and lost in dramatic fashion to the Diamondbacks, dropping a 7-6 game in which they led 6-0.
The Padres desperately needed a win after losing three of four to the Phillies over the weekend, especially with a four-game series in Los Angeles looming on Thursday. There is always a chance for a team to look ahead to the next team when a big series looms while there are still games to be played before that. Whether or not that was on the mind of the Padres, it was another bad loss. One that they should have won.
In what looked to be a pitchers’ duel again for the Padres against Diamondbacks’ starter Zac Gallen, it was Sean Manaea who was the better pitcher of the night, even though he lost his command late in his outing when he went back out for the seventh with 98 pitches already thrown.
Manaea went six scoreless innings allowing a single hit and walking two while striking out seven. Though he didn’t have his most crisp command (98 pitches in six innings), he battled in at-bats and ended up having a spectacular outing with only three baserunners allowed.
Manaea was then sent back out in the seventh inning and couldn’t command his pitches, giving up a single, a walk, and then a two-run double to close out his outing. Whether it was Manaea who convinced Padres’ manager Bob Melvin to go back out or Melvin’s choice, it was clear that Manaea was low on gas.
“He was rolling along pretty good. If I could do it over again, I’d probably take him out after the second hitter in the inning, not the third,” said Melvin about his decision to leave Manaea in for three hitters in the seventh.
Manaea and Gallen were both holding the opposing offenses down through four innings, but in the fifth, the Padres bust opens the flood gates. Nomar Mazara put San Diego on the board with a two-run home run that scored Luke Voit, who had singled before Mazara. Ha-Seong Kim followed the home run with a double, which was followed by a C.J. Abrams bunt single that moved Kim to third.
An RBI groundout from Trent Grisham put the Padres up 3-0 on Arizona with just one out. After back-to-back walks to load the bases, Jorge Alfaro came up and delivered a bases-clearing double on the first pitch he saw from Gallen, giving the Padres a 6-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth, the Padres batted around for the tenth time this season and collected five hits, two walks, and six runs.
Unfortunately for San Diego, things went downhill from there.
The Diamondbacks took advantage of a fatigued Manaea in the seventh inning, jumping on him and collecting four runs of their own after Tim Hill took over and allowed a double and an RBI groundout that allowed the Diamondbacks to score their third and fourth runs.
In the bottom eighth inning, with the Padres leading 6-4, Luis Garcia loaded the bases with nobody out and then hit the next batter to force in a run and cut San Diego’s lead to one. Garcia was then replaced by Taylor Rogers, who hit the first batter he faced, allowing the tying run to score while the bases were still loaded with nobody out.
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Rogers was able to wiggle out of the jam with the score still tied at six. Though the Padres got a runner to third with one out in the top of the ninth, they were unable to score the go-ahead run.
Rogers sent back out for the ninth, struck out the first two Diamondback hitters, but then gave up back-to-back hits, followed by a tough infield grounder that Eric Hosmer smothered. An errant throw to second allowed the runner from second to score, and the Diamondbacks walked it off with the 7-6 victory.
It is certainly one of the more painful losses for the Padres, especially after the rough series and the challenging four-game series against the Dodgers coming up. Tomorrow, however, the Padres have a chance to revenge their loss Wednesday afternoon against the Diamondbacks to close out the series with a win while heading into Los Angeles with a little positivity.
Kevin is a San Diego Native covering the San Diego Padres and their affiliates