Padres' rally falls short in 6-5 loss to Brewers
Will Venable homered to lead off the game and San Diego scored three times in the ninth inning off Milwaukee closer John Axford, but still fell to the Brewers 6-5 on Sunday.
San Diego — hitting just .192 with runners in scoring position coming into play — left 11 runners on base in the game and stranded the bases loaded in the ninth.
"That's been a problem for us overall, the batting average with runners in scoring position," manager Bud Black said. "We've got to do a better job, plain and simple. We have to get that hit. We have to make some adjustments. I know our guys are aware of it, they're not happy about it."
Ryan Braun homered and Yovani Gallardo pitched seven innings to lead Milwaukee.
Martin Maldonado homered to cap a four-run sixth inning for Milwaukee and Braun drove in three runs for the Brewers, who went 5-4 on a homestand against the Pirates, Cubs and Padres.
San Diego has lost four of five to fall to 20-41, a half-game below Chicago for the worst record in the NL.
The Padres rallied in the ninth against Brewers closer John Axford when Chase Headley hit an RBI single and Carlos Quentin walked with the bases loaded.
Jose Veras replaced Axford and struck out Yonder Alonso looking, but he walked Jesus Guzman on four pitches to force home another run before he struck out John Baker looking for his first save since June 16, 2011, with Pittsburgh.
"It was a great run there in the ninth, really thought we were going to do it," Black said. "Had some really, really good at-bats throughout the ninth. It came down to a couple backdoor breaking balls at the end to get Alonso and to get Baker."
Gallardo (5-5) gave up five hits and two runs, one earned, in seven innings, striking out five and walking two.
Anthony Bass (2-6) gave up four runs, five hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings.
Bass has allowed 19 runs in his last four starts after posting a 2.94 ERA over his first eight starts this season. He was given a 2-0 lead and pitched well early, striking out the side — all looking — in the fifth. But Milwaukee scored four times in the sixth.
Norichika Aoki reached on an infield single, stole second and advanced to third when Baker's throw went into center field. Aoki scored on Braun's single, Aramis Ramirez and Taylor Green flied out and Rickie Weeks walked. That brought up Maldonado, who hit his second homer in three days and third since being called up on May 29.
Edwin Maysonet followed with a triple to center, just over the leaping Cameron Maybin's glove. Maybin hit the wall hard with his right shoulder and left as part of a double switch after the play. Manager Bud Black said Maybin had a sore neck but should be OK.
"It seems like just a recurring thing, around the middle part of the game, after the sixth — just a couple hits here and there, then one big hit," Bass said. "It's happened too often."
Braun hit his 15th homer of the year in the seventh.
San Diego scored two early runs thanks to some sloppy play by the Brewers.
Venable led off the game with an opposite-field homer to left on the fourth pitch from Gallardo. It was his second leadoff home run this season and seventh of his career, tying him with Quilvio Veras for the Padres' franchise mark.
"Whenever you can jump on top, it's nice, and we were able to do that," Headley said. "(Gallardo) settled in nice and we gave ourselves a couple chances and I thought had a couple balls that we swung at, hit good, that just went to people."
"To his credit, he made pitches when he had to. With us a lot of this year, sometimes it was our doing that we weren't able to get runs in, but I thought we had some decent at-bats."
The Padres left runners in scoring position in six of the nine innings.
They threatened in the seventh when, with two outs, Chris Denorfia and Venable singled. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke visited the mound and stayed with Gallardo, who had thrown 102 pitches. Gallardo got Logan Forsythe to ground out.
NOTES: San Diego is in the middle of a 10-game road trip and a stretch of 29 of 41 away from home. ... Quentin saw his eight-game hitting streak snapped. Headley extended his striking to eight games and went 6 for 12 in the series. ... Before the game, the Padres optioned RHP Andrew Cashner to Double-A San Antonio and called up RHP Brad Boxberger from Triple-A Tucson. Boxberger made his major league debut Sunday and threw a scoreless eighth. ... Cashner started in the Padres' 5-2 win Saturday over the Brewers, giving up two hits and one run over 2 1-3 innings, striking out five and walking two. Black said Cashner would begin his transition from reliever to starter. ... The Padres also transferred RHP Tim Stauffer (strained right elbow) to the 60-day disabled list.
Last updated: 8:49 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012