Padres rally, blow lead in season finale with Cincinnati

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The rain intervened for the third straight day in Cincinnati.

The Padres, for the first time in a while, let one get away from them. Tyler Stephenson’s walk-off single plated Jonathan India, which salvaged the final game of the season series for the Reds. For the first time in two weeks, the Padres lost a game decided by less than nine runs.

The Padres were unable to get anything offensively early, as their only base runner for the first four innings came on a leadoff walk by Trent Grisham. The rain delay seemed to change momentum for the Padres. Four batters after the game resumed, the Padres had halved the Reds lead and had two runners in scoring position. Aristides Aquino caught pinch-hitter Ha-Seong Kim’s line drive, and the Padres stranded two runners. Jurickson Profar started in left, and he took advantage of the opportunity, doubling home Manny Machado. Aquino appeared to think he had less room than he did, and he allowed the ball to drop in. 

As announced on Tuesday night, Ryan Weathers joined the Padres to make a spot start, getting the opportunity to fill in after Blake Snell and Dinelson Lamet both went on the IL. Weathers spent much of his youth in Cincinnati, with his father spending four and a half years in a Reds uniform. Weathers lacked control from the outset, walking four batters and hitting one in four innings of work. The combination of base runners from walks and bloop hits hurt Weathers in the second inning. He allowed two runs after the bottom of the Reds order loaded the bases with nobody out. However, Weathers minimized the damage and kept the Padres in the game. Jayce Tingler said, “Maybe he [Weathers] was a little jacked up early on. I thought his misses were small.” Mason Thompson relieved Weathers and pitched the fifth for the Padres, and the Reds managed to tag him for a run, with Aquino making up for his difficulties in the field by doubling home Alejo Lopez to restore the Reds advantage. 

The Padres offense came back to life in the sixth, with Machado, Hosmer, and Profar coming together to load the bases for Tommy Pham, who pinch-hit for catcher Webster Rivas. After the game, Tingler commented, “Obviously, Tommy is one of, if not our hottest hitter right now.” Pham made Jayce Tingler’s decision look good, winning an eight-pitch battle to both tie the game at three, and force Castillo from the ball game. The Padres stranded two runners for the second time in three innings but drew level after trailing since the bottom of the second. Luis Castillo, facing the Padres for the second time in eleven days, pitched very well for his first six innings but allowed four of the first five Padres to reach in the seventh, ruining what a gem for the hard-throwing right-hander.

The heart of the Padres order was up in the eighth, and thanks to a pair of stolen bases, one of which were overturned after a challenge, and a Reds error, the Padres took the lead. Machado, who reached on a fielder’s choice, scored after Alejo Lopez threw away Eric Hosmer’s ground ball. 

The Padres bullpen and the Reds bullpen were at opposite ends of the spectrum headed into the game, with the Padres at a league-best 2.86 ERA, while the Reds were the worst in the league at 5.48. Many of the Padres relievers were forced to battle, with Thompson and Pierce Johnson each leaving two runners, and Austin Adams left the game with the bases loaded before Tim Hill retired Jesse Winker to keep the ball game tied. Drew Pomeranz instantly worked himself into trouble, as Nick Castellanos and Tyler Stephenson each singled. However, he worked himself back out of it, getting a fly-out and a tailor-made double-play ball to send the game to the ninth with the Padres in the lead. 

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The Padres weren’t able to obtain any insurance in the top of the ninth despite Jurickson Profar’s leadoff double, which gave Mark Melancon a chance to pull off a fourth save this season against the Reds. After the game, Jayce Tingler touched on that “We didn’t execute in the ninth. We didn’t move a runner and get him in,” Tingler said. That proved costly as Kyle Farmer tied the game with one swing of a bat, putting the pressure on Melancon to send the game to extras. After a pinch-hit walk, Jurickson Profar butchered a line drive, setting up the Reds with second and third with just one out. The Padres chose to pitch to All-Star starter Jesse Winker, and he grounded to Jake Cronenworth, who fired home to keep the game tied. Jayce Tingler intentionally walked Nick Castellanos, but it didn’t matter as Tyler Stephenson ripped a single into right to walk it off for the Reds.

The Padres loss dropped them to a game and a half back of the Dodgers, and they stayed two back of the Giants. They’ll head to Philadelphia for three games next.

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