James Shields was brilliant today. He held the Dodgers to one run on five hits in seven innings of work, and left the game looking to claim his eighth win. But the bullpen didn't hold up their end of the bargain, with Joaquin Benoit taking his third blown save and Dale Thayer getting pegged with his second loss.
The Padres offense wasn't at their best today, but they managed to do a little damage against Mike Bolsinger in the fifth. With two outs, Shields got the rally started by slipping a grounder into right field for a single. Will Venable did the exact same thing, and Shields got all the way to third on the play. That brought Yangervis Solarte to the plate, and the first pitch he took was chest high, so obviously it was called a strike. That got Mark Kotsay pissed, and rather than calling a proper strike zone, home plate umpire Adrian Johnson tossed the hitting coach. Solarte soldiered on and worked a 5-ball walk to load the bases. And then Justin Upton did what he does best and put a 2-run single into center field.
That lead held until the seventh, when Andre Ethier dropped a homer into the right field porch.
Then Benoit entered in the eighth with a one run lead. He retired Enrique Hernandez and Joc Pederson without trouble, but then he walked Yasiel Puig. That brought former Friar Adrian Gonzalez to the plate, and he made Benoit pay for that walk with a game-tying double to right field.
The Padres came very close to walking off in the ninth. Alexi Amarista led off with a single to left, and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Clint Barmes. Venable drew a walk, and then Solarte flied out to bring Upton back up with two outs. He hit a fly ball deep to center field... only to see Joc Pederson reel it in as he collided with the fence.
And then came that brutal twelfth inning. Dale Thayer started out on the right note by striking out Chris Heisey, but then Alberto Callaspo doubled to right. A pair of walks later, he managed to get Alex Guerrero to fly out without a run coming in, but then Gonzalez had to go and ruin everything with a two-run single, and that was all she wrote.
The A's come to town tomorrow, and Tyson Ross will try to help the team bounce back. First pitch at 7:10 PM.