Late wins pile up for Padres, who seek sweep of Astros

MLB

The San Diego Padres played their fourth consecutive extra-inning game on Saturday, a club record, and while the result was again favorable, the need for some sort of break is growing.

The Padres rallied from a 5-0 deficit to defeat the host Houston Astros 11-8 in 12 innings. Fernando Tatis Jr. smacked a late, game-tying home run for the second straight game, this time drilling a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to force extra innings.

Wil Myers added a three-run homer in the 12th to secure the series victory, the fifth in six series for the Padres.

Padres manager Jayce Tingler acknowledged the need for a respite of sorts for San Diego, starting with light work prior to the interleague series finale on Sunday.But the Padres’ willingness to work hard and late to avoid a negative result has earned his praise.

“From pitching to defense to offensively, it’s a group that won’t go away,” Tingler said. “And I love every aspect of it.”

Left-hander Blake Snell (1-1, 4.50 ERA), a former Cy Young Award winner, will start the series finale for the Padres. He has scuffled of late, going 0-1 with a 5.89 ERA and .824 OPS allowed over his last four starts. Snell is 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA over six career starts against the Astros.

Another former Cy Young winner, right-hander Zack Greinke (4-2, 3.97 ERA), will start Sunday as the Astros attempt to avert a series sweep.

Greinke took the loss in his previous outing after allowing four runs over six innings in a 9-2 setback to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday. He also reached 3,000 innings in his career.

Greinke is 13-3 with a 2.44 ERA in 26 career starts against the Padres.

The Astros’ bullpen suffered another collapse Saturday, allowing 10 runs (seven earned) on 10 hits and five walks over 6 2/3 innings.

Houston starter Jake Odorizzi, who had not pitched since April 24 due to a forearm strain, pitched effectively over 5 1/3 innings, only for the bullpen to stumble once again, with closer Ryan Pressly surrendering the first of two of San Diego’s late-inning three-run homers.

Pressly had been largely impervious to the struggles of his fellow relievers, allowing no earned runs over his previous eight appearances and a 0.75 ERA over 11 appearances at Minute Maid Park this season.

Pressly was 7-for-7 in save opportunities upon entering with two outs in the eighth inning. He recorded the final out there and two quick outs to open the ninth before issuing a four-pitch walk to Manny Machado and a two-out double to Jake Cronenworth. Tatis followed.

The Astros had pitched Tatis up and in to great success only for the shortstop to turn on a 1-1 fastball and drive it 448 feet out to left field. That Pressly couldn’t protect a three-run lead was the latest gut punch in a series of them for the Houston bullpen, a unit that can’t find any easy solutions.

“We play 162 of these (games), and it’s in May right now,” Pressly said. “You’re obviously pretty upset that you let a game like this get away from you. It’s early in the season. I’m glad we’re going through this now rather than September. We’ll definitely figure things out shortly.”

–Field Level Media

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