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Padres fall in 10 after Kirby Yates gets six outs

Padres fall in 10 after Kirby Yates gets six outs

AJ Cassavell

SAN DIEGO — Gerardo Reyes had thrown only five pitches when Padres manager Andy Green sprung from the top step of his dugout in the eighth inning Saturday night at Petco Park.
That’s the nature of the Padres’ bullpen these days. They’re fighting to gain ground in a crowded National

SAN DIEGO — Gerardo Reyes had thrown only five pitches when Padres manager Andy Green sprung from the top step of his dugout in the eighth inning Saturday night at Petco Park.

That’s the nature of the Padres’ bullpen these days. They’re fighting to gain ground in a crowded National League Wild Card picture. But there simply aren’t many trustworthy options among the relief corps. In fact, there might only be one.

Box score

Clinging to a one-run lead against the Braves, Green asked closer Kirby Yates for the first six-out save of his career. Instead, Josh Donaldson, who worked a walk against Reyes to start the frame, scored three batters later on a sacrifice fly, tying the game at 4.

“That comes with the job and the territory that we’re in right now,” Yates said of the workload. “We need to win. I warm up, the call is for me to get the ball. My job is to go out there and get us a win. I didn’t do it.”

Yates — whose blown save preceded a wild 10th inning and, ultimately, a 7-5 Braves victory — was mostly sharp. He escaped the eighth inning, then worked a scoreless ninth to lower his ERA to 1.10.

But when the game went to extras, the Padres’ bullpen came unglued again. Like Reyes, Luis Perdomo surrendered a leadoff walk to Donaldson. Then Ozzie Albies gave Atlanta the lead with an RBI single in the 10th before Tyler Flowers tacked on two more with a double.

The Padres fought back in the bottom of the frame, bringing Francisco Mejía to the plate as the winning run. He sent a deep drive to the wall in right field, where Nick Markakis made an acrobatic leaping catch.

Mejia had gone deep earlier, a majestic drive to the right-center-field beach area in the fifth inning, and Manny Machado homered to both fields, as well. But the Braves’ offense kept pace, taking advantage of an enigmatic Padres bullpen.

“What we’re all going for is consistency,” said right-hander Craig Stammen. “That’s what we know Andy wants out of us. He wants to know who he’s bringing into the game.”

These days, it’s hard to tell. Green lifted Joey Lucchesi after five strong innings in favor of pinch-hitter Josh Naylor, who put San Diego in front with a sacrifice fly. The decision paid off in the short term. But the long-term effects came back to bite the Padres.

With a one run lead, Green planned for an inning from Trey Wingenter. Then, he hoped to cover the final three frames with: “Craig for an inning and change and Kirby for an inning and change.”

But Stammen surrendered a game-tying home run to Ronald Acuna Jr. and was forced to throw some high-leverage pitches to Freddie Freeman later in the seventh. Green decided Stammen’s night was over, and he summoned Reyes for the eighth.

“He’s pitched himself, over the last number of games, into that type of an opportunity,” Green said. “The leash isn’t going to be very long with Kirby behind you.”

Reyes’ leash lasted all of five pitches. Afterward, Green said he wasn’t committed to removing Reyes after just one baserunner. But the young right-hander was erratic, so Green felt he needed to ask for two innings from Yates — which he hadn’t done since last July.

“We were not dying to use him for six outs,” Green said. “I think we were kind of forced to do that at that point.”

There’s been plenty of trade speculation surrounding Yates, whose value will almost certainly never be higher than it is right now. But if the Padres were to deal Yates, they’d be stretching their bullpen awfully thin. That was made clear once again on Saturday night.

Speed on the bases

The Padres have won a lot of baseball games with their power this season. On Saturday night, they took a late lead on the strength of their speed.

With Fernando Tatis Jr. on first and Manuel Margot on third, the Padres opened their playbook. Tatis took a few steps toward second, intent on getting himself in a rundown. Braves reliever A.J. Minter threw over, and Tatis found himself in the pickle he’d planned for.

When Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman threw to second, Margot broke for home. The speedy center fielder slid safely ahead of a swipe tag from Flowers, the Braves’ catcher. It was masterful baserunning on both ends and gave the Padres a short-lived 4-3 lead.

Perdomo at the plate

After Mejia’s deep fly ball moved the tying runs into scoring position, Braves manager Brian Snitker opted to walk Margot to load the bases. The Padres’ bench was empty, and up stepped Perdomo.

How, exactly, did the Padres run out of bench pieces by the 10th inning? Tactically, Green didn’t manage any differently than he has all season. He burned Naylor when he pinch hit for Lucchesi in the fifth, and he burned Wil Myers in a double-switch to shore up the outfield defense in the seventh.

As it would happen, those decisions loomed large in a two-run game in the 10th inning. Perdomo worked a feisty seven-pitch at-bat before he struck out looking to end the game.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.



https://www.mlb.com/padres/news/padres-fall-in-10-after-kirby-yates-gets-six-outs

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