Padres Bullpen Falters Again in Loss to Braves

Friars waste another great start from Manaea in late loss in Atlanta

Earl Weaver is credited with the quote "Momentum is the next day's starting pitcher." Whoever authored it was 100% spot on.

A day after scoring 11 runs on 16 hits the Padres mustered just four hits, but got some help from a sloppy Atlanta defense to take a late lead, only to watch their suspect bullpen slip up again in a 6-5 loss to the Braves on Saturday afternoon.

Sean Manaea got the start and he was fabulous. The lefty allowed three runs in 7.0 innings and struck out 12 Braves hitters, one short of his career high, but for a while it looked like he was going to be saddled with a loss because 38-year-old Charlie Morton was doing his crafty veteran thing.

Morton struck out nine Friars in 6.0 innings. The only run he allowed came on a Trent Grisham RBI double in the 5th inning. But, Braves skipper Brian Snitker made a bad choice in the 8th inning. He brought in reliever Will Smith to face the Padres. In 2022 Will Smith has not fared well against the Padres.

The lefty got the first out of the inning then Grisham hit a soft grounder up the 1st base line that Olson, usually a solid fielder, went Full Metal Buckner on. The ball went right through his legs for a 2-base error.

It was the spark the Padres needed.

Jorge Alfaro rifled a line drive to right field to bring in Grisham and tie the game. Jake Cronenworth doubled off the wall and Jurickson Profar walked to load the bases. That's when Snitker removed Smith, who has allowed 12 runs this season ... 10 of them against the Padres. He's only given up six earned runs ... four of those against the Padres.

Closer Kenley Jansen came on trying to keep it a tie game. He got Manny Machado to hit a grounder to 3rd base. It could have been an inning-ending double play. It wasn't. Riley threw it wide to 2nd base and into right field, letting Alfaro and Cronenworth score and make it a 4-2 game. Eric Hosmer grounded into a fielder's choice to bring in the Friars' 5th run of the game, and the extra cushion was necessary with a San Diego bullpen that's been up-and-down this season.

On Saturday it was the latter.

Manaea came out for the 8th inning and walked Adam Duvall, his first walk of the game, and it would cost him another earned run. Steven Wilson got the first two batters he faced before Ozzie Albies singled home Duvall and Marcell Ozuna launched a 2-run homer to left field to tie the game 5-5.

Wilson kept unraveling. He hit Travis d'Arnaud with a pitch then Riley smoked a double to left-centerfield to bring in d'Arnaud and put the Braves up 6-5. Jansen, who is well-acquainted with the Padres from all his years in Los Angeles, didn't let the momentum swing the other way again. He worked a perfect 9th inning to get the save.

The Padres can still win the series on Sunday with Joe Musgrove on the mound. To see the game you're going to need an early alarm and the help of an ornately feathered bird. The Padres and Braves are streaming on NBC's Peacock service. For information on how to watch, click here.

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