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Padres can't hold off Giants in 10th

Padres can't hold off Giants in 10th

SAN DIEGO -- These final few weeks of the regular season are supposed to be a time for Padres manager Bud Black to assess players on his roster with an eye turned toward the 2009 season.

He probably didn't figure he would get a look at so many of them on one day, though, as Black essentially emptied his bench and bullpen during the Padres' 8-6 loss to the Giants in 10 innings Sunday.

The Padres, who will need to go 6-6 over their final 12 games of the season to avoid 100 losses, burned through nine pitchers at PETCO Park, eight after starter Cha Seung Baek left after two innings with a strained right triceps.

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The results from the bullpen thereafter were a mixed bag, though the finish likely didn't leave Black with a positive impression after relievers Dirk Hayhurst and Scott Patterson combined to allow two runs in the 10th inning.

The 10th inning saw Hayhurst and Patterson, both rookies, allow two hits, three walks -- one with the bases loaded -- and a wild pitch that allowed another Giants run to score.

Hayhurst would have liked to think none of it would have happened if not for a missed pitch against rookie Pablo Sandoval in the 10th inning -- and he wasn't talking about the double Sandoval hit to start the inning.

Hayhurst appeared to have Sandoval struck out earlier in the at-bat but didn't get a call. That would prove important as, two batters later, Sandoval raced home from third base when Hayhurst uncorked a wild pitch.

"I thought it was a really great pitch. ... I was pleased with the location of it," Hayhurst said of the pitch that was called a ball. "He's definitely talented. I know he can hit and has been hot. You've got to execute your pitches."

The Padres (57-93) certainly didn't do enough of that -- not during the 10th inning when Patterson walked Rich Aurilia with the bases loaded to force in a run and not earlier in the game when reliever Cla Meredith, staked to a 6-2 lead, allowed four runs during the fourth inning when he allowed five consecutive hits.

In a game that lasted three hours and 47 minutes, the Padres were forced to go to their bullpen early after Baek -- who allowed a run in the first inning -- didn't return after he pitched a scoreless second inning.

The early diagnosis was a strained triceps and Black wasn't certain if the right-hander would miss any time.

"It's too early to tell," said Black, who indicated he would know more Monday, when the Padres open a three-game series against the Rockies in Denver.

Baek said the injury didn't occur on any one specific play but at some point in the second inning. Baek was certain the injury wouldn't keep him from his next start.

"Today, there was sharp pain," Baek said. "I wanted to go back out, but they stopped me."

Despite Baek's early exit, the Padres didn't look as if they would need so much help from the bullpen, not after racing out to leads of 4-1 following the second inning and 6-2 after the fourth inning as they chased Giants starter Barry Zito after 4 2/3 innings.

The Padres scored four runs in the second inning off Zito as Edgar Gonzalez drove in two runs with a single and rookie catcher Nick Hundley had a run-scoring single.

Then in the fourth inning, the Padres chased Zito for good when rookie Will Venable had an RBI single. Another run scored on a throwing error.

"Today he was just a little bit erratic," Black said of Zito, who allowed five earned runs on eight hits with five walks.

All told, the Giants, who used seven pitchers themselves, combined for 10 walks. But the Padres, who didn't score over the final six innings, couldn't capitalize.

Venable had two hits and a walk Sunday to raise his average to .321. Gonzalez, another rookie, albeit a 30-year-old rookie, had three hits. Black said you can expect to see the Padres' young faces over these final 12 games.

"We'll continue to get a look at our young players; they'll continue to get playing time," he said.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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