Benoit's hiccup a Padres bullpen rarity

Benoit's hiccup a Padres bullpen rarity

LOS ANGELES -- Joaquin Benoit found himself in yet another high-leverage situation at Dodger Stadium on Friday night, and much like his outing here on April 7, it didn't end well.

Benoit surrendered a home run to Joc Pederson, the deciding run in a 2-1 loss to the Dodgers.

Pederson's clutch shot in 8th

On April 7, Benoit allowed a game-tying home run to Adrian Gonzalez in the eighth inning, in a game the Padres eventually won, 7-3. He was charged with a blown save in that game.

But Benoit's rough outing on Friday represented one of the few blights in a month of solid pitching by the Padres' relievers -- especially compared to a disastrous April, when they had a collective ERA of 5.35.

"I think the bullpen's starting to show signs of life, which is what we need moving forward," said Padres manager Bud Black. "Joaquin's been a big part of that resurgence. It's a good sign that our guys are throwing well.

"They're throwing with more confidence. We're getting nicked a little bit, but they are throwing better. That's a good sign for our 'pen."

Since May 1, Padres relievers have combined for a 3.60 ERA, down nearly two runs from where it was in the opening month of the season.

Brandon Maurer, who tossed a scoreless inning on Friday, hasn't allowed a run since April 29 -- a string of 11 consecutive scoreless innings in which he's allowed just four hits.

"They're making better pitches as a group. Some guys are pitching in new roles, like Maurer in the seventh," said Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley. "I think the stabilization has helped out, these guys knowing when they're going to pitch."

Even Benoit has pitched better. Before the Pederson's home run, on a 0-2 pitch, no less, he had gone six consecutive outings without a run.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.