Padres lose late lead vs. Athletics, fall in extras 5-4

Credit: SF Chronicle

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The San Diego Padres had a golden chance on Wednesday afternoon to sweep a good Oakland A’s team on the road and head back to San Diego with some positive momentum.

After an impressive 8-1 victory on Tuesday, the Padres had won their first two games in August after a tough month of July in which they went 11-14.  With an off day scheduled for Thursday before six games back at Petco Park, it seemed like a big opportunity for San Diego.

With Joe Musgrove on the mound for the Padres Wednesday, there was certainly plenty of optimism, with Musgrove coming off an impressive outing on July 29 in which he went seven scoreless innings with eleven strikeouts.

In his 21st start of the season, Musgrove did exactly what he has done all season for the Padres, putting them in a great position to win a ballgame. After allowing a second-inning home run to A’s DH Jed Lowrie, Musgrove locked in gave the team scoreless innings to finish with six innings and only giving up one run.

To that point, the Padres had given Musgrove some support offensively, scoring three times to hold a 3-1 lead. Adam Frazier singled home the Padres’ first run in the third inning, tying the game after the Lowrie home run.

In the fourth inning, the Padres scored on a Trent Grisham double and again on a Victor Caratini single, giving them the 3-1 lead.

Following Musgrove, Pierce Johnson and Drew Pomeranz had scoreless innings out of the San Diego bullpen, which paved the way for Major League Baseball’s saves leader, Mark Melancon, to try and close out the victory.

The bottom of the ninth didn’t start great for Melancon as Ramon Laureano led off with a double.  After getting the next two men out, Melancon allowed a walk, followed by two straight singles, which allowed the A’s to tie the game at three.  Melancon retired the next batter, but not before a blown save seemingly deflated the Padres.

In extra innings, the Padres scored on a fielders’ choice to take a 4-3 lead with the inning beginning with a runner on second due to the new rule but were unable to push across any more runs.

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San Diego reliever Tim Hill took over in the tenth and allowed a single right away, putting runners at first and third.  The next batter, A’s first baseman Matt Olson. doubled deep to right field, bouncing off the wall and scoring both runners.  The double gave the A’s a 5-4 victory and a crushing defeat for the Padres.

The Padres’ bullpen, normally their strength, could not hold on to a two-run and then one-run lead, keeping the Padres from earning a much-needed victory.  The team now has a day off with a crushing loss on their minds before another important stretch of games in San Diego starting Friday.

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