SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 5: Michael Morse #38 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after hitting a solo home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park July 5, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
The Padres bullpen leads Major League Baseball in ERA, baserunners allowed per inning, opponents batting average, and fewest losses.
And all that is AFTER what happened Saturday at Petco Park.
The Padres relief corps has been so good this season, it's almost a shock when things don't go perfectly. Here's where manager Bud Black provides some perspective.
"They've had a great run," said Black after the Padres' 5-3 loss in 10 innings to the Giants. "You play 162 (games) they're not going to be invincible. These guys have been so good for so long, there's going to come a time when you get nicked. A couple guys got nicked today."
After another effective start from Odrisamer Despaigne (6 IP, 1 ER, 2 hits), the Padres hit the 7th inning with the game tied 1-1. Alex Torres came in and had a fit of wildness, walking the only two batters he faced. Leadoff walks are the scourge of close baseball games.
Gregor Blanco would advance on a balk by Kevin Quackenbush, who replaced Torres, and score on a sacrifice fly by Joe Panik to put the Giants up 2-1.
But, the Padres offense provided a nice surprise, mounting a 7th inning rally. Yasmani Grandal doubled, then scored on a triple by Jake Goebbert, the first extra-base hit of the young outfielder's MLB career. Goebbert scored on a sacrifice fly by Cameron Maybin, giving the Padres a 3-2 lead after seven innings.
When leading after seven innings, the Friars were 28-0 in 2014. Alas, I had to use the past tense.
Michael Morse led off the 9th inning with a laser in to the second deck in left field off closer Huston Street, snapping Street's string of 23 consecutive converted save chances (the longest streak in the big leagues this year).
The Padres actually had a chance to give Street a win. Chase Headley led off the 9th inning with a double and advanced to third when Grandal grounded out to shortstop. Well, that's understating things a bit. Brandon Crawford made a tremendous play, diving to his left to rob Yasmani of a walk-off single.
After an intentional walk to Goebbert, Cameron Maybin popped up to Crawford and Carlos Quentin struck out swinging to end the Padres best, last chance at a victory.
In the 10th, Dale Thayer gave up a 2-run home run to Brandon Belt. San Diego's bullpen, which had allowed just two earned runs in its previous 35.2 innings, was touched up for four runs in four innings on Saturday.
Luckily for the Padres, that kind of performance is the exception rather than the rule. The Padres try to win the series in their final home game before the All-Star Break on Sunday with Jesse Hahn on the mound. He's won four consecutive starts.
However, the Giants counter with Tim Lincecum. And lately he has really liked throwing against the Padres.