Padres rally before bullpen folds in loss to Braves
ATLANTA — The Padres have been riding the back end of their bullpen, living on the edge at times and going over a cliff at others.
Saturday, what would have arguably been the most resilient of their victories this season turned into another bad loss when the Braves scored four runs in the eighth inning to win 6-5.
It was the fourth time this season the Padres have lost a game in which they led in the eighth inning or later.
After the Padres scored four unearned runs to take a 5-2 lead in the top of the eighth, Padres acting manager Ryan Christenson opted to try to get a little more from starting pitcher Sean Manaea.
That decision, almost certainly predicated on relievers Luis Garcia and Robert Suarez being unavailable, contributed to the Braves' comeback.
Manaea walked Adam Duvall to start the bottom of the eighth before being replaced by Steven Wilson.
Wilson got two quick outs, the second of which was a grounder that moved Duvall to second base. Ozzie Albies' single scored Duvall, and Marcel Ozuna followed with a home run that tied the game.
Wilson (3-1) hit Travis d'Arnaud with a pitch before Austin Riley's double put the Braves ahead.
The Padres went down in order against Braves closer Kenley Jansen (2-0) in the ninth.
The Padres had hung on, got past Charlie Morton and made sure Manaea wouldn't lose another game he had pitched well enough to win.
Manaea walked off the mound after the seventh inning having struck out 12 and with the Padres down 2-1.
He took the mound in the eighth with the Padres up by three after they scored four unearned runs with help from errors by the Braves' two capable corner infielders.
The eighth inning began with Ha-seong Kim facing reliever Will Smith, against whom he had hit a three-run homer the night before. Kim popped out this time.
Trent Grisham followed by rolling a grounder down the first base line and over the bag, behind which waited Matt Olson, a two-time Gold Glove winner, who had the ball bounce off his glove. Grisham ended up on second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch and tied the game 2-2 by scoring on Jorge Alfaro's single.
Jake Cronenworth, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, then sent a double to the wall in right-center field that moved Alfaro to third. Jurickson Profar walked to load the bases, and Braves manager Brian Snitker went to Jansen to face Manny Machado with the bases loaded.
Machado, who was 0-for-3 and had gone a season-high nine at-bats without a hit, grounded a ball to Riley at third. But what appeared would be an inning-ending double play ball turned into two runs when Riley's throw to second base sailed wide and into right field. That allowed Alfaro and Cronenworth to score and Profar to get to third base.
When Eric Hosmer beat out another would-be double play grounder, Profar scored to make it 5-2.