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Matt Potter 6 a.m., Sept. 28
Padres pitcher Anthony Bass, making a start in place of Casey Kelly who has been shut down until spring training next season, would like a pitch back. Bass threw a two-ball-and-two-strike-count fastball to Milwaukee Brewers rookie catcher Martin Maldonado with the bases loaded and Maldonado deposited the pitch into left-center field for a grand slam, and the Brewers beat the Padres, 4-3, to take the first two games of the final series of the season for both clubs.
Otherwise, the pitching was outstanding and the Padres outhit the Brewers 10-5. The Padres, as has sometimes been the case during the 2012 season, simply couldn't manage to get their hits in a more timely manner.
All of the damage done by the Brewers happened in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Norichika Aoki bunted for a single. Aoki then stole second base, but Bass got Logan Schafer to strike out looking and there were two outs.
Bass then walked Ryan Braun and Travis Ishikawa to load the bases. Martin Maldonado came up and ran the count to 2-2 before Bass threw Maldonado a fastball that he liked, and the grand slam put the Brewers in front 4-0 after three innings.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Padres began trying to chip away at the Brewers. Chase Headley opened the inning with a single, and Yonder Alonso moved Headley to second base with a ground out.
Mark Kotsay then flied to center field, and Headley tagged and took third base. Will Venable dropped in a single to center, plating Headley, and the Padres got a run back to train 4-1.
Miles Mikolas replaced Bass in the bottom of the fourth inning, the first of seven relief pitchers the Padres used to shut down the Brewers for the rest of the game. Bass went three innings and gave up the four runs on three hits and three walks, striking out three.
In the top of the sixth inning, after Brandon Kintzler had replaced Brewers starting pitcher Tyler Thornburg in the fifth, Manny Parra replace Kintzler after Kintzler struck out Logan Forsyth to open up the inning. The Padres took advantage of the change on the mound.
Chase Headley singled to right field, and Yonder Alonso walked putting Headley in scoring position. Jesus Guzman pinch-hit for Mark Kotsay and smacked a single into right field, plating Headley, Alonso taking second base.
Will Venable was then hit by a pitch, and the Padres had the bases loaded with one out. Kameron Loe replaced Parra, and Chris Denorfia grounded into a force-out of Alonso at home, leaving the bases loaded with two outs.
Yasmani Grandal hit an infield single, scoring Guzman, again leaving the bases loaded. Carlos Quentin came up and pinch-hit for Miles Mikolas, but grounded out to end the inning.
Leaving the bases loaded, or having them loaded with only one out and coming up with only two runs in that situation in that inning appeared more frustrating than it otherwise would have if the Padres weren't playing catch-up. But the Padres did get the two runs, and closed the gap to 4-3, Brewers.
In the bottom of the seventh inning , Dale Thayer relieved Brad Brach (Brach replaced Mikolas), and got into some trouble right away. Thayer allowed back-to-back singles by Jean Segura and Jeff Bianchi, and after striking out pinch-hitter Nyjer Morgan, Thayer was pulled.
Tommy Layne relieved Thayer and hit Norichika Aoki with a pitch to load the bases. Layne then gave way to reliever Brad Boxberger.
Boxberger was brilliant. He got Carlos Gomez to pop-up to the infield, invoking the infield fly rule for the automatic out, and then struck out Ryan Braun to end the inning and leave bases full of Brewers stranded.
The Padres made one last effort to catch the Brewers in the bottom of the ninth inning. With two outs, Andy Parrino and Everth Cabrera hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and third base with two outs, but closer John Axford for Milwaukee got Logan Forsythe to ground out to end the game.
Anthony Bass suffered the loss to fall to 2-8 while Jim Henderson got the win for Milwaukee to improve to 1-2. Axford got his 35th save of the season for the Brewers.
We should have mentioned it yesterday, but Chase Headley took National League Player of the Month honors for September. Headley led the league in runs batted in at 30 and tied for the most home runs in September with nine. Chase also won the award for the month of August, so that's two more trophies in the trophy case.
The last game of the regular season happens today, at least so far as the Padres and the Brewers are concerned (there are races in the American League so tight that there could be a one-game playoff before the actual one-game playoffs begin, so stay tuned for that). The last hurrah's begin at 5:10 PM PDST and the game features Andrew Werner (2-3, 4.78) of the Padres going up against Josh Stinson (0-0, 0.00) for the Brewers. The rock-solid radio broadcast is on XX 1090 AM as always, and Fox Sports San Diego will have the moving pictures in color. This would appear to be our last chance to chastise the profit-hungry, customer-ignorant Time Warner Cable and AT&T U-verse, but really it isn't. Oh no. We can devote an entire piece taking apart how those providers have screwed 40% of San Diego out of their Major League Baseball team because their profit margin wasn't high enough.