The Padres schedule in September is far and away the toughest in baseball. It's not off to a great start.
A pair of Houston homers, some slacking from a veteran (1st baseman Eric Hosmer), and plenty of missed opportunities to score runs doomed the Friars in a 6-3 loss to the Astros on Friday night at Petco Park.
Manny Machado got the scoring started with his bat and his legs. In the 3rd inning he broke his bat on a slow grounder to the left side and busted his tail up the line. Shortstop Carlos Correa charged and made a low throw to 1st. Machado was ruled out but the call was overturned on a challenge, allowing Ha-Seong Kim to score and make it 1-0 Padres.
Jake Arrieta came off the Injured List to make his second Padres start and was pretty good. He really made just one mistake, elevating a fastball to Correa in the 4th inning. The All-Star smoked it over the centerfield wall for a 3-run home run. Of course, Correa should not have been hitting with two runners on.
Earlier in the inning Michael Brantley hit a grounder towards right field. Hosmer watched it go to his right and assumed it was a base hit, not realizing the shift was on and Kim was in the area. Kim made a fantastic play to cut the ball off but Hosmer failed to hustle to the bag and Brantley beat him there. It was the kind of lapse that veteran leaders should never have and it cost San Diego at least one run.
The Friars offense went about whittling down the lead. In the 5th, Tommy Pham pinch-hit for Arrieta and doubled home Trent Grisham to make it 3-2. In the 6th, Austin Nola snuck a single down the right field line to bring in another run and tie it 3-3. Then they missed on too many chances.
After Nola's single they had runners at the corners with one out. Grisham inexplicably tried to bunt and popped out to 1st baseman Yuli Gurriel to kill the rally.
In the 7th they put runners at 2nd and 3rd with one out. Jake Cronenworth struck out. Wil Myers walked to load the bases and had a good view of Hosmer striking out on a pitch well above the strike zone.
In the 8th, Houston broke through again. Kyle Tucker got a fastball right down the middle from Emilio Pagan and put it over the right field wall for a 2-run homer that was the difference in the game. Just to make sure, Hosmer gave Houston another run with an error in the top of the 9th inning. Jake Meyers hit a check-swing soft liner right at the 1st baseman, who kicked it and allowed Jose Siri to score.
What really hurts is the Reds lost to the Tigers so the Padres could have taken back control of the 2nd National League Wild Card spot.
On Saturday the Padres send Joe Musgrove to the mound against Houston lefty Framber Valdez.
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