Padres' bullpen meltdown leads to Giants' 6-2 win

Associated Press
San Francisco Giants' Pablo Sandoval lines a base hit to left with the bases loaded that brings in two runs against the San Diego Padres during the Giants' five run  rally in the 12th inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 14, 2011 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
.

View gallery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Unfortunately for the San Diego Padres, they picked up right where they left off before the All-Star break.

All-Star closer Heath Bell surrendered a tying home run to Aubrey Huff leading off the ninth inning and Luke Gregerson issued a bases-loaded walk to Mike Fontenot to force in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 12th, sending struggling San Diego to a 6-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night.

The bullpen collapse extended the last-place Padres' losing streak to six games, tying their season high.

Bell was trying to preserve a 1-0 win for Aaron Harang, who threw seven strong innings in his second start back from a stint on the disabled list. But Huff muscled an 0-2 pitch several rows into the stands down the right-field line for his ninth homer.

Bell had gone 99 games and 102 innings — the longest stretch in franchise history — since giving up his last homer, to San Francisco's Juan Uribe on April 19, 2010.

It was Bell's second blown save in 62 chances dating to last year and second in 28 opportunities this year.

"It's unfortunate because I blew the game," Bell said. "I'll just try not to make the same mistake twice."

Giants All-Star closer Brian Wilson came on with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 12th for his 27th save in 31 chances. He allowed Will Venable's sacrifice fly and walked Chris Denorfia to load the bases before getting Jason Bartlett to ground out.

Cody Ross started the winning rally in the five-run 12th with a leadoff walk against Gregerson (2-3) and was replaced by Emmanuel Burriss, who stole second. Gregerson then walked Brandon Crawford and committed an error trying to field Eli Whiteside's bunt, loading the bases. Miguel Tejada fouled out and Andres Torres struck out before Fontenot walked on four straight pitches.

The NL West-leading Giants piled on with Pablo Sandoval's two-run single and RBI base hits by Nate Schierholtz and Huff. All five runs that inning were unearned.

Gregerson "had trouble with his release point," manager Bud Black said. "Didn't look comfortable once he got into his inning, which is very uncharacteristic of Luke. He's a guy who throws in those situations. He doesn't mind the heat."

Santiago Casillas (2-1) threw two perfect innings for the win.

The Padres, the lowest-scoring team in the NL, dropped 13 games behind the defending World Series champions and 13 games under .500.

The Padres had scored only two runs in their last 44 innings before the All-Star break. Their losing streak includes consecutive shutouts at Los Angeles, including a game in which the Dodgers didn't get their first hit until there were two outs in the ninth inning.

Harang held the Giants to five hits while striking out four and walking one. In his previous start, Harang handed a no-hit bid to the bullpen after six innings before the Dodgers won 1-0 after getting two hits with two outs in the ninth.

Whiteside tied his career high with three hits.

The Padres had three consecutive hits off Madison Bumgarner for a run with two outs in the third. Denorfia singled to right, advanced on Jason Bartlett's base hit to center and scored on Chase Headley's single to left.

Bumgarner allowed seven hits in six innings, struck out four and walked none.

NOTES: San Diego State football coach Rocky Long threw out the ceremonial first pitch, to Padres manager Bud Black, an SDSU alum. ... The Padres wore 1983 throwback brown uniforms as a tribute to Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams, who died July 7. There was also a video tribute and a moment of silence. Williams managed the Padres from 1982-85, including reaching the World Series for the first time in franchise history in 1984. Williams managed the Oakland Athletics to back-to-back World Series titles and also led the Boston Red Sox to the 1967 World Series. ... Headley left in the eighth with a bruised left ankle.

View Comments (3)