There are losses … and then there are humiliating defeats.
The San Diego Padres endured the latter on Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix.
Not only did San Diego blow a 6-0 lead, but the Padres took a 7-6, walk-off loss when Josh Rojas scored from second base on a two-out, ninth-inning grounder that never left the infield.
“We thought we had that game wrapped up earlier and we didn’t,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said after his club squandered a lead and lost for the second straight game.
“We felt pretty good about having a 6-0 lead,” Melvin continued. “It’s hard.”
Tuesday night marked the fifth time this season that the Padres lost a game they led entering the eighth inning. But this one might have been the worst. Arizona had only one hit — an infield hit — through six innings.
“We fought for that one and won,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’ve been seeing more of that recently, it’s a good sign for a young team. And when we got down, Caleb Smith came out of the bullpen and pitched three scoreless innings to give us a chance. Then Mark (Melancon) kept the runner at third in the ninth.”
The victory was only the Diamondbacks’ second in eight games against the Padres this season.
On Wednesday afternoon, Arizona will try to complete a two-game series sweep as left-hander Madison Bumgarner (3-7, 3.75 ERA) is paired against Padres right-hander Mike Clevinger (1-0, 3.52) in a repeat of a June 22 matchup. The Padres won that game 10-4 in San Diego.
Will Tuesday’s win further fuel the Diamondbacks’ recent surge? And have consecutive come-from-ahead losses exposed problems in the Padres’ bullpen?
Stay tuned, for after Wednesday’s game the Padres are headed to Los Angeles for the first time this year to take on the National League West-leading Dodgers while the Diamondbacks head to Denver trying to keep the Rockies in the division basement.
Melvin isn’t overly concerned about his bullpen.
“It seems like we go through stretches,” the Padres’ manager said. “Then we go through other stretches where we are really good.”
The one constant for the Padres this season has been solid starting pitching, and that could get better if Clevinger and former Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell regain their old form.
Clevinger will be making his seventh appearance (sixth start) of the season. In his most recent outing, he held the Diamondbacks to one run on four hits and two walks, with three strikeouts over four innings on June 22. That was the first time he faced Arizona in his career.
Clevinger returned from a second round of Tommy John surgery this season, but he began the season on the disabled list due to a knee strain and has been out two other times with a triceps strain and COVID-19.
He has completed five innings only once, so the Padres could have either Nick Martinez or Nabil Crismatt follow him in a piggyback role on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Bumgarner is still looking for his first win as a Diamondback against the Padres. He took the loss against San Diego on June 22, giving up six runs (four earned) on nine hits with five strikeouts in four innings.
The four-time All-Star is 0-4 with a 6.68 ERA in seven starts against the Padres since moving to Arizona before the 2020 season. For his career vs. San Diego, he is 13-14 with a 3.80 ERA in 43 games (42 starts).
–Field Level Media