Padres’ comeback falls short as Reds hold on to win 4-3

Credit: David Kohl, USA TODAY Sports
The Padres dropped the rubber match on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds 4-3, making it their fourth consecutive series loss and dropping their record on the season to 38-46.

In a rubber match that the San Diego Padres needed to win in order to give themselves some momentum to build off of, their efforts fell short. The team decided to use a bullpen day on the mound with lefty Adrian Morejon getting things started. While he did allow a couple of hits, Morejon would work three scoreless innings before handing the ball off to Tim Hill, who pitched an inning and allowed a 2-run homer to Spencer Steer. Pedro Avila would then pitch three scoreless innings himself and allow Ha-Seong Kim and Fernando Tatis Jr. to even the game for San Diego with back-to-back home runs in the eighth. However, Tyler Stephenson would respond with a pinch-hit, go-ahead home run in the bottom of the inning. San Diego would score once more in the ninth on a Jake Cronenworth double, but that would be it as the Reds hung on.

Here are three takeaways from another disappointing loss:

Bullpen day doesn’t work out

The Padres were forced to send out their bullpen arms from the beginning on Sunday due to lack of starter availability and knew that they were in for a tough-fought game against Andrew Abbott. To open the game, they sent out Adrian Morejon, who had only thrown 4 total innings prior to the game. However, he was impressive and set the tone with 3 scoreless innings. Unfortunately for the team, it was Tom Cosgrove and Nick Martinez who each picked up an earned run in the bottom of the eighth when Tyler Stephenson blasted the go-ahead shot. Overall, 4 total runs from a bullpen that is not typically used to being responsible for runs from start of the game to the finish is not too bad. The Padre lineup was just unable to string enough consecutive hits together to put more than 2 runs on the board. Fans will continue to grow frustrated until the team’s high-octane offense is able to consistently provide solid offense and give the team a chance on days when the pitching staff might need an extra boost.

Abbott shreds through the San Diego lineup

One pitcher who has been a pleasant surprise for the Cincinatti Reds this season is left-hander Andrew Abbott. Through six appearances this season, Abbott holds a record of 4-0 and an elite ERA of 1.21 after his domination of the Padre batting order. On the day, he pitched a dazzling 7.2 innings and struck out 12 batters. He was able to display excellent control as well, only allowing 1 runner to reach base via a walk. His one blemish on the scorecard came in the top of the eighth, as he allowed a solo home run to Ha-Seong Kim and was then removed from the game. Unfortunately for Abbott, he was unable to record a win in the start due to Fernando Tatis Jr.’s game tying home run in the very next at-bat after his removal from the game. Regardless, the Padres looked confused all game while he was on the mound, and only tallied 4 hits off of him. The offense is going to have to avoid these types of outings going forward if they look to make any progress to climb back into the standings. As far as Abbott goes, he will look to keep his momentum rolling in his next start, which is projected to be against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Highlights from Abbott’s dominant showing

The long ball sinks the Padres

On paper, it would seem as if the Padre pitching staff had themselves a respectable game. They only allowed 5 hits, while the Reds gave up 7. The problem: 2 out of the 5 hits they gave up were 2-run home runs that ended up being all the Reds needed to secure a big victory. Meanwhile, the Padres themselves had 2 solo homers, but their other 5 hits were unable to result in any offensive production. It is going to be critical for the Padres to limit the amount of home runs that they give up going forward if they want to remain within the realm of contention throughout the dog days of summer.

Blasts such as Stephenson’s have been one of the reasons for the Padre’s struggles thus far into the season. As a team, the club has allowed 93 home runs to opponents, which leaves them in the bottom half of baseball in the category. This comes as a somewhat surprising stat considering that their team ERA sits at 3.83, which is the 8th best mark in baseball. Perhaps their luck will begin to turn around if they are able to limit the home-run as well as improve upon their 24th place .233 team average.

The team will have another chance to try and win a series for the first time since they played the Rays back in the middle of June, with a three-game set against the Angels up next.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PST.