Matthew Lickona 10:22 a.m., May 24
The Padres seem to be getting better, but are still often coming up just short. After losing in extra-innings in their last game in Miami this season, the Padres traveled to Cincinnati to face the Reds for a four-game series. After spanking the Reds 11-5 on Monday, they came back from a six-run deficit on Tuesday, only to then lose by a run, 7-6.
The Reds got on the board in the bottom of the first inning. Chris Heisey led off with a double, and after Padres starter Jason Marquis got the next two reds batters to ground out, Heisey stood on third base. After Jay Bruced walked, Ryan Ludwick singled to left field and Heisey scored to make it 1-0 Reds after an inning.
In the bottom of the third inning, Jason Marquis faltered. With one out, Wilson Valdez singled, and then stole second base. Brandon Phillips then hit into a fielder's choice with Valdez thrown out trying to take third base.
Now with two outs in the inning and Phillips at first base, Marquis had a chance to get out of the inning unscathed. Unfortunately for the Padres, that didn't happen.
Jay Bruce came up and singled to center field, with Phillips taking third, and Ryan Ludwick homered to center, his 18th of the season. But the Reds weren't finished.
After a Scott Rolen single, Todd Frazier then hit his twelfth home run of the year and the Reds were off to an early 6-0 lead after three innings. All season the Padres have had trouble when falling behind so early.
But in the top of the fourth inning, the Padres answered back. With one out, and after consecutive singles by Yonder Alonso and John Baker, Cameron Maybin belted his fifth home run of the season over the center field wall and the Padres cut the lead in half.
After Everth Cabrera flied out, Jason Marquis singled and then Alexi Amarista tripled to score Marquis. Will Venable followed that with a triple of his own to plate Amarista, and Chase Headley singled to right and brought in Venable for the tying run.
The Padres chased Reds starter Homer Bailey, and Sam LeCure came in and retired Yonder Alonso. The Padres had tied it back up, 6-6.
Marquis settled down and the score remained tied until the bottom of the seventh inning, when with one out, Brandon Phillips uncorked his 13th home run of the season, a solo shot. That made the score 7-6, Reds, and that is how it ended.
The Reds Sean Marshall pitched a perfect eighth to pick up the win in relief, and closer Aroldis Chapman pitched a flawless ninth inning to earn his 22nd save. The Reds improve to 62-41 while the Padres fall to 44-61.
While there are few, if any, moral victories in a loss, it is noteworthy that unlike in the first half of the season, the Padres have proven themselves more capable of staging offensive rallies after falling behind. It is also noteworthy that this is best accomplished by jumping on Reds starters, as their relief pitching is statistically the best in the league.
Catcher Yasmani Grandal was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, according to Padres media relations. Grandal suffered a right oblique strain swinging at a pitch on Monday. Catcher Eddy Rodriguez has been called up from single-A Lake Elsinore, a bit of a surprise in seeing a player called up to the big leagues from a lower-level in the minor leagues. To make room for Rodriguez on the 40-man roster, the Padres transferred injured pitcher Anthony Bass (right shoulder inflammation) from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.
On Monday, the Padres placed pitcher Joe Thatcher on the 15-day disabled list with tendonitis in his right knee. His replacement is Brad Boxberger from AAA Tucson, his second stint with the big club this season.
Wednesday, the Padres will start Kip Wells (2-3, 3.82) on the hill while the Reds will offer Bronson Arroyo (6-6, 3.76). First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PDST and can be heard on radio via XX 1090 AM or seen on Fox Sports San Diego. Time Warner and AT&T U-verse subscribers can look forward to tape-delay Olympic coverage of rowing and table tennis.