Murphy: Bullpen woes 'frustrating'

Murphy: Bullpen woes 'frustrating'

PHOENIX -- Pat Murphy was one frustrated manager when the Padres' bullpen blew a two-run lead and allowed five runs to the D-backs during the bottom of the seventh Tuesday night in a 6-4 loss at Chase Field.

Murphy then allowed it to boil over as he stood astounded in the dugout in the top of the eighth as pinch-hitter Brett Wallace took what the manager thought was ball four from Brad Ziegler with two out and the tying runs on base.

Murphy was ejected by home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez for the fifth time since he replaced Bud Black on June 16 -- before he could even take a step on the field.

"You guys can look at the tape. I went and looked at tape. Make your own decisions," Murphy said afterward. "I went and reviewed a lot of close pitches tonight. It's just one of those things where you have a difference of opinion sometimes."

Despite the ejection, Murphy still had his say, striding out to home plate to discuss the matter at length with Marquez before being escorted off the field.

"I just said, 'Hey, where was that?'" Murphy said.

When the game resumed, Wallace struck out swinging on a full-count pitch and then gave Marquez a piece of his own mind.

But the real breaking point was clearly the seventh. Starter Tyson Ross staked the Padres to a 3-1 lead by tossing six innings of one-run, four-hit ball with three walks and nine strikeouts. But Ross -- at least partially -- caused the problem by tossing 106 pitches so early in the game. That wasn't where Ross wanted to be.

"I had to battle out of some jams there," Ross said. "They're one of the best offensive teams in baseball."

Thus, Murphy had to go too early to a bullpen that has been depleted by injuries to Shawn Kelley and Brandon Maurer. Murphy went to Bud Norris and Kevin Quackenbush, and the pair of right-handers faced three batters each without recording an out.

They combined to allow five runs on three hits and three walks, including A.J. Pollock's three-run homer hit on the first pitch Quackenbush threw.

Frustrating? Nick Ahmed drove home the inning's first run when left-fielder Justin Upton belly-flopped on a liner, turning what should have been a base hit into a triple on a ball Murphy said Upton lost in the lights.

"Again, there were a couple of close pitches, but you can't let it get to that point where you leave it in the hands of whether it was a ball or a strike," Murphy said. "You have to attack. Not all of them were strikes. It's frustrating. Believe me, it's frustrating especially when you're trying to turn it around here and get on a roll a little bit.

"That sixth or seventh inning has been our downfall for the last month. You can attribute it to injuries, but you're looking for guys to step up. Other teams have injuries, too."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.