Padres' bullpen stunned and stung in epic loss

Padres' bullpen stunned and stung in epic loss

SAN DIEGO -- The decisive seventh inning of the Padres' 16-13 loss to the Mariners Thursday night didn't feature a singular defining moment that changed the game.

Instead, the San Diego bullpen -- which came undone as the Padres relinquished a 10-run lead for the first time in franchise history -- fell victim to a string of seven consecutive two-out singles. Over a span of mere minutes, a five-run lead had evaporated into a four-run deficit.

Simply put, nobody stopped the bleeding.

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"Someone just has to hop on the mound, execute a pitch, get the job done," Padres manager Andy Green said afterward. "I know everybody out there is giving everything they absolutely have. ... It snowballed at that point in time.

"We had plenty of opportunities to get guys out. It wasn't necessarily Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz every single at-bat. We had guys -- on their end, you gotta tip your cap -- but we had opportunities to get those guys out."

Green talks wild loss to Seattle

The inning started with the typically reliable Ryan Buchter on the hill. The rookie southpaw, who has taken hold of the seventh inning job this season, entered the game having allowed just two runs in 23 1/3 innings.

He recorded two outs, but loaded the bases, before giving up a single to Kyle Seager. At that point, Buchter had thrown 34 pitches, with three consecutive righties due up for the Mariners. Green signaled to the bullpen.

"Nobody wants to come out -- It doesn't matter the situation, it doesn't matter if it's left-on-left, right-on-right," Buchter said. "Everybody wants to battle and compete. I don't think there's anybody in this clubhouse that thinks they should've come out of the game depending on matchups."

Two of Buchter's bequeathed runners scored. He would finish, having allowed four runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter.

"It just goes down to doing your job," Buchter said. "It started with me in that inning. I didn't do my job. It led into the next guy."

The "next guy" out of the left-center-field bullpen was right-hander Brandon Maurer, who entered the game having allowed nine runs over his previous six outings.

Maurer didn't record an out, as Dae-Ho Lee, Chris Iannetta and pinch-hitter Stefen Romero recorded a trio of hard-hit singles.

Said Maurer: "I was just trying to do too much out there and stop the bleeding, trying to make that perfect pitch and leaving the ball up."

For the past year, Maurer has served as the Padres setup man -- and generally a reliable one. But given Maurer's recent struggles, Green said the club will now "re-evaluate ... where his spot is right now and help him succeed in that spot."

As for the decision to go to a struggling Maurer with the game on the line in the seventh, Green said it was a mix between matchups and Buchter's high pitch count.

"[Maurer] had three righties in a row, then it was a switch-hitter followed by a couple lefties, so it was conventional, in a sense," Green said. "And I have plenty of faith [in Buchter] to get a righty out. I think it came down, more than anything else, to pitches. He was laboring to a degree today, and you expect somebody else to hop in and help him out."

After Maurer, left-hander Matt Thornton got the ball. By then, the Mariners' comeback felt inescapable. Shawn O'Malley singled to give Seattle the lead, before Norichika Aoki and Franklin Gutierrez capped the seven-single rally by extending that advantage to four.

The bullpen's struggles spoiled a second consecutive strong night from the Padres' offense, which scored at least 10 runs in back-to-back games at Petco Park for the first time in franchise history.

Center fielder Jon Jay -- the biggest offensive contributor with a career-high five hits -- was quick to support his beleaguered bullpen.

"We've just got to keep on going," Jay said. "The bullpen's picked us up all year, and it's just one of those days. We've got to show up tomorrow and be ready to go for a new series."

But, credit to the relief corps: They shouldered their share of the responsibility for a loss in which the Padres recorded a season-high 20 hits and received five strong frames from starter Colin Rea.

"Colin battled, our hitters did great," Buchter said. "We want to reward those guys. We've got to go out there and grind it out."

Added Maurer: "It's tough. We let the guys down tonight."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.