Not even Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman went an entire season without blowing a save. So as good as he's been this year, converting 26 straight save chances, it was only a matter of time before Kirby Yates was going to let one get away.
As it turns out he was not the only one to blow a save.
San Diego's presumptive All-Star stopper let a 7-4 lead get away in the 9th inning of what turned into an 11-10 Pittsburgh win that was truly a wild affair in Western Pennsylvania.
The Friars did their offensive damage the old-fashioned way, getting hits at the right times. They went 7-for-18 with runners in scoring position, a welcome departure from an offense that has made its living hitting lots of (solo) home runs in 2019.
As he usually does Fernando Tatis Jr. was the San Diego spark plug. In the first inning Tatis scored on a sacrifice fly to the 2nd baseman. This was not one of those balls that's popped up down the line and the 2nd baseman made a great sliding catch that allowed the runner to score. Hunter Renfroe hit a sky-high fly ball that Kevin Newman was camped under just behind 2nd base but Tatis tagged and scored anyway. The rookie shortstop also had a pair of hits and drove in two runs.
Manny Machado continued his torrid stretch with three more hits, two of them doubles, and a bloop single in the 8th inning that brought in two runs and put the Padres on top 7-4. Machado ran his hitting streak to 11 games, during which he's hitting .469.
But he misplayed a ground ball to lead off the bottom of the 9th and the Pirates piled on Yates. Adam Frazier and Newman doubled, Bryan Reynolds singled, Starling Marte hit a sacrifice fly and Melky Cabrera brought in the tying run with a dribbler that turned into a fielder's choice and tie the game 7-7.
In the 11th the Padres started their own rally with an Eric Hosmer walk. He went to 3rd on a double by Machado so Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle walked Hunter Renfroe intentionally to load the bases. After Wil Myers struck out looking and Ian Kinsler popped out on the infield Manuel Margot dropped a gorgeous bunt down the first base line and beat everyone to the bag. Hosmer scored the go-ahead run then Austin Hedges drove in what looked like insurance runs with an opposite field single to score two more runs and make it 10-7.
In the bottom half Phil Maton committed a sin of relievers. He walked the leadoff hitter with a 3-run lead. When that happens you are courting disaster and sure enough disaster struck. Maton put Reynolds on with a free pass then Josh Bell singled and Cabrera doubled to cut the lead to 10-8. Maton was replaced by Matt Wisler who immediately gave up a 2-run single to Jacob Stallings that tied it 10-10.
Wisler then completed the bullpen meltdown with a pair of walks, the last one to Newman (a Poway High School alum) to bring in the winning run and hand the Pirates a 3-game sweep on the Padres.
The Friars fall two games under .500 at 38-40. They get a day off then start a brief 2-game set in Baltimore on Tuesday.