Seth Lugo, who has been on a roll lately, got the start against the Cardinals in the second game of the series. He once again pitched well, as he got through the first 6 innings of the game and helped the Padres grab a 4-3 lead. In the top of the 8th, Ha-Seong Kim would give the squad some insurance on a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3. However, the lead would slip away in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a game-tying, two-run home run from Willson Contreras. The game would eventually head into extra innings and the Padres would be unable to score in their half of the tenth. Consequently, Tommy Edman would end the game on a walk-off single in the bottom of the tenth to give the Cardinals a dramatic 6-5 win.
Here are three takeaways from the loss:
Padres big 4 struggle again
The heart of the lineup for San Diego consists of their 4 big-name players who were expected to carry the offense all season long. Unfortunately, they have not been able to pull together enough consistency and success to lead the Padres to a winning season. Throughout the month of August, their struggles have only continued with Fernando Tatis Jr. slashing .226/.316/.357, Juan Soto slashing .186/.255/.360, Manny Machado slashing .205/.312/.449, and Xander Bogaerts slashing .244/.278/.384. These August numbers summarize what the theme of San Diego’s season has been so far: a large collection of talent that has been unable to string together successful stretches of games. In Tuesday’s game, they went a combined 3/18 with 1 RBI and left the rest of the lineup to try and pick up the slack. This type of strategy is simply not sustainable or built for success, and changes are going to need to occur next season if the Padres have any intentions of improving and returning to the postseason.
Lugo pitches well again despite the loss
While the bullpen for the Padres had their issues in the loss, Seth Lugo did his job well enough to leave the team with a lead heading into the later innings of the game. With three straight starts allowing 2 ER or less heading into the contest, he was able to keep the streak going. Despite allowing 3 runs to score, only 2 of them went down as earned runs thanks to an error from Xander Bogaerts in the fourth that allowed Willson Contreras to reach base and come around to score on a sacrifice fly later in the inning. Lugo ended up pitching 6 innings and striking out 6 batters while throwing just 80 pitches. His efficient work put him in position for a win, but unfortunately, San Diego was unable to hold things down.
Lugo has been mostly solid all year for the Padres and has provided a veteran presence on a solid pitching staff. While things have not worked out for the staff as a whole this season, his contributions have earned him a solid case to return next year and keep up the good work. With a month’s worth of starts left, Lugo will look to keep improving upon his 3.67 ERA and make an argument to finish as the second-best starter on the team this season.
Suarez blows the lead, Hader allows the finishing punch
It was not a day to be proud of for the Padre bullpen, who found themselves working with a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 8th. Just 6 outs away from a second consecutive win, Robert Suarez stepped in to pitch the 8th and allow San Diego to give the ball to Josh Hader in the ninth. St. Louis had other plans, as with 2 outs and a runner on second base, catcher Willson Contreras hit the game-tying home run. It was his second home run of the day and it gave the Cardinals the jolt of life that they needed to rally and come out with a win. With a 5-5 game headed to the ninth, it was Nick Martinez who helped to push the game into extras with a scoreless inning of work. The Padres were unable to capitalize off of the free runner in the top of the 10th, and it only took 5 pitches from Josh Hader for Tommy Edman and the Cardinals to walk it off and close out the Padres.
For Hader, it was his second loss of the year (0-2) despite the fact that the winning run will not count as an earned run. The game will certainly leave a bad impression for San Diego, who will quickly have to rally with the rubber match on Wednesday morning.
The Padres will look to win and grab their first series victory since playing the Marlins and head toward the month of September feeling the right way.
First pitch is scheduled for 11:15 p.m. PT.