Sunday, May 10, 2009

Padres-Astros: Padres Bullpen Unable to Hold Late Lead, Lose to Astros

It's becoming a familiar saying, something Padre fans are becoming a little too used to during the 2009 season. The offense grabs a late lead and it looks like they're going to win a game this team normally wouldn't win, then the bullpen gets a hold of the game and lets it slip away.

Such was the case on Saturday night against the Astros. The Padres took a late 4-3 lead in the eighth inning thanks to an RBI double from Chase Headley, celebrating his 25th birthday last night.

That 4-3 lead was short lived as Cla Meredith, brought into the game for Luke Gregerson, gave up a game tying single to Carlos Lee and, with the bases loaded, fielded a grounder from Miguel Tejada but with Hunter Pence running on contact, Meredith couldn't get a clean hold on the ball to get Pence at the plate, allowing him to score and giving the Astros a 5-4 win.

It was another one of those games where they got good pitching effort from right hander Kevin Correia who gave up just two runs on four hits, striking out four and walking three through his six innings of work, but his offense was only able to put up one run in support. Correia has received a no decision in four of his six starts this season.

The game was scoreless through five innings until David Eckstein broke through against Astros starter Brian Moehler in the top half of the sixth with an RBI double, scoring Correia who had doubled two batters earlier.

The Astros would take the lead in the home half of the sixth, thanks to an RBI single from Carlos Lee and a sacrifice fly from Miguel Tejada, putting the Astros ahead, 2-1.

The very next inning, the Astros would extend that lead to 3-1 on a wild pitch from Padres' reliever Luke Gregerson, scoring Darin Erstad who had doubled earlier.

That's when the Padres' comeback began. Short stop Chris Burke would get a lead double to start the eighth inning off Houston reliever Geoff Geary. Burke would score on an RBI single from David Eckstein to pull the Padres to within a 3-2 score.

Geary would then be relieved by Alberto Arias who got Scott Hairston to strike out. Arias was then pulled in favor of Wesley Wright who gave up a one out single to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. LaTroy Hawkins was then brought in to elleviate the damage, but Chase Headley roped a two run double to right center, scoring Eckstein and Gonzalez to give the Padres a 4-3 lead.

Unfortunately for San Diego, the game would get away from them, leading to their 15th loss in 19 games. These are the types of losses that will lead San Diego to go from "buyers" to "sellers" prior to the trade deadline in July.

The two teams will finish up their three game set from Minute Maid Park in Houston on Sunday afternoon. The Padres will have young right hander Josh Geer (0-0, 3.96), still looking for his first win of the season, on the mound against Astros' ace Roy Oswalt (0-2, 4.26).

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