baseball

Padres Bullpen Falters in 1st Loss of 2020

Friars get another good start but can't hold lead

The Padres were the last team in Major League Baseball with a chance to start the season 3-0. They came up two inning shy of doing it.

San Diego built one of the best bullpens in baseball but it had a rare off day, letting a late lead get away in a 4-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks for their first setback of 2020.

One thing that went well (extremely well, actually) was yet another sensational start from the pitching staff.

Even back in March, before baseball shut down for a few months, the Padres knew who the first three pitchers in their rotation were going to be, they just weren't sure about the order. It ended up being Chris Paddack, Dinelson Lamet and Garrett Richards but with the way they looked in the first three games of the year they're more like 1, 1A and 1AA.

Richards took his turn against the Diamondbacks on Sunday and tossed 5.0 shutout innings, allowing one hit and walking three while striking out six so through three starts he, Paddack and Lamet have a combined line of:

16.0 innings pitched, 10 hits, one run, five walks, 18 strikeouts.

Richards was on the line for the win because Eric Hosmer looks like a different player than Padres fans saw his first two years in San Diego. In the 3rd inning Hosmer crushed a home run to right-center to give the Padres a 1-0 lead. On Opening Day, Hosmer drove in six runs with a pair of doubles. He was out of the lineup with a stomach issue on Saturday night and the way he's swinging the bat he may never get a day off again.

Richards was then given a no-decision because in the 8th Emilio Pagan had troubles. He walked leadoff man Ketel Marte then gave up back-to-back singles to David Peralta and Starling Marte that tied it 1-1. Eduardo Escobar then grounded into a double play but it allowed Peralta to score and give Arizona a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom half Hosmer led off with a walk and Wil Myers drew another one right behind him. Padres skipper Jayce Tingler sent in rookie Jake Cronenworth to pinch-run for Hosmer, a move that paid off when Jurickson Profar hit a fly ball to centerfield. It likely wasn't deep enough for Hosmer to advance but Cronenworth tagged and went to 3rd with just one out. So, a sacrifice fly would tie the game.

A Valhalla High School alum did them one better. Greg Garcia pinch-hit for Austin Hedges and dropped a single into center to plate Cronenworth and tie it 2-2.

All-Star closer Kirby Yates came in to keep it a tie game. Normally as steady as they come, Yates struggled. He gave up a single and walked two to load the bases and Ketel Marte hit a sacrifice fly to give the DBacks a 3-2 lead. Peralta followed with an RBI single to make it 4-2 and Yates was pulled, replaced by Pierce Johnson to get the final out.

The Padres can still win the series with a win on Monday afternoon at Petco Park.

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