Padres squander 4-run lead, split series with Arizona

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Looking for their first series win of the season, the San Diego Padres jumped all over Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen.

Leading 5-1 after five innings, Padres manager Bob Melvin turned to the bullpen looking for the final 12 outs.

Nabil Crismatt allowed three runs in the sixth inning before Luis Garcia gave up four runs and the lead in the eighth inning. All of a sudden, the Padres were losing 8-5, ultimately falling 8-6. San Diego is now 3-3 and failed to win the homestand.

Xander Bogaerts continued his impressive start to his Padres tenure with two more hits, including a two-run home run in the fifth inning. As of this afternoon, he is tied for the most home runs in Major League Baseball with three while hitting .409 with a hit in all six games.

Nelson Cruz joined Bogaerts in the home run party with his first big fly in a Padres uniform. Cruz, however, was not in the starting lineup today. Manny Machado served as the designated hitter today as a “half day off” but got ejected after getting called out due to a pitch clock violation. Machado attempted to call time and then pled his case to home plate umpire Ron Kulpa, who tossed Machado as he began to walk towards the dugout with Melvin between the two. Cruz struck out to end the game representing the tying run.

There are some glaring defensive weaknesses for the Padres, some of which were exposed in Arizona rallies on Tuesday. David Dahl got a late jump a ball hit to shallow right in the sixth inning that he dove and failed to catch, which would have saved at least one run.

More noticeably, the Diamondbacks picked on Luis Garcia’s struggles to hold runners on and Austin Nola‘s slow pop time behind the plate. In the eighth, Jake McCarthy stole second with no outs before moving up on a ground out to the right side.

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Geraldo Perdomo bunted down the first baseline, sacrificing himself perfectly on a squeeze play. Matt Carpenter, who had only served as the DH to start the season, tried to make a tough play and get McCarthy at home. Carpenter misplayed the ball, Perdomo reached first base safely, and the inning snowballed. Had Carpenter fielded the bunt and made the easy play to get the second out at first, it can be assumed that only one run scores in the inning.

“We could’ve gotten ourselves out of some jams and not gotten into that predicament,” Melvin said about the Diamondbacks’ five stolen bases. “We did not play well defensively. We did not throw enough strikes today and got in some positions where they could steal some bases.”

Yu Darvish got the ball for the first time and turned a solid start. He threw 91 pitches in five innings while striking out five and allowing just one run.

San Diego will hit the road for the first time in 2023 for an east coast trip. It starts with the Atlanta Braves for a four-game set before going north and returning to Citi Field to take on the New York Mets for the first time since knocking them out of the playoffs. Blake Snell is the Padres’ scheduled starter for Thursday after a day off on Wednesday.

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