Bad luck and bullpen blunders sink Padres against Twins

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Less than 24 hours after one of the best offensive performances of the season, the San Diego Padres returned to its struggling ways at the plate in front of a national audience. An eighth-inning bullpen collapse put the nail in the coffin of a 7-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Joe Musgrove got the ball and requested a change shortly before the game. The San Diego native wanted to wear the new City Connect uniforms. The Padres only have worn on Friday to this point. Musgrove navigated multiple jams, allowed just two runs in six innings with eight strikeouts. Once again, he gave his team a chance to win.

Manny Machado showed his support for the Padres’ ace with his team-leading 18th home run to get the Padres out to a 1-0 lead in the third inning. That lead lasted two batters as Musgrove allowed a 434-foot home run to Byron Buxton in the fourth inning. The Padres never led again.

One of the stories of the season for the Friars has been the hitting with runners on and in scoring position, or lack thereof. That trend continued Saturday, going 2-10 with runners in scoring position.

Although both hits with runners on were off the bat of Jurickson Profar, his first at 103 MPH did not reach a fielder. In one of the unluckiest plays of the season, Profar hit a one-hopper off the left leg of second base umpire Jerry Layne.

With a runner on first or second base, the second base umpire is to position himself on the infield grass, just as Layne did. If the ball is to hit him in front of the fielders, the batter is always rewarded first with a single, and runners can only advance if they are forced. C.J. Abrams was not, being on second with no Padres behind him at first.

Profar’s hit was clearly going to get through the infield to bring home Abrams to tie the game up, but instead, with Abrams and Profar still on base, Machado and Eric Hosmer did not come through. The next time the Padres came to the plate, they looked at a six-run deficit.

Although the Padres struggled with runners in scoring position, the eight hits and four runs undersell how well they hit the ball. 11 times, the Padres put the ball in play at over 100 MPH, but never for hits when it mattered the most. Profar added a towering home run, his tenth of the season, in the ninth inning to bring home three runs.

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That home run didn’t mean much because the Padres bullpen collapsed in the eighth inning to let the game get out of hand. Adrian Morejon, who is the subject of trade rumors for the Padres, allowed a mammoth home run to Carlos Correa en route to allowing four earned runs in what might be his final outing leading up to the August 2 trade deadline. Dinelson Lamet didn’t look much better. Michel Baez pitched for the first time since 2020 in the ninth inning and threw a scoreless inning.

A frustrating loss Saturday seemingly erased any “momentum” the Padres gained after a 10-1 win Friday. The offense didn’t get the job done, and the bullpen faltered for another big inning, once again drawing the line in the sand for Padres general manager A.J. Preller as the time ticks closer to the 2022 MLB trade deadline.

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