Green expects struggling 'pen to turn it around

Relievers allow 15 runs in two losses to the Cardinals

Green expects struggling 'pen to turn it around

SAN DIEGO -- Colin Rea turned in another solid performance in the series finale against the Cardinals on Sunday, but the Padres' bullpen faltered for a second straight game.

Rea allowed three runs -- two earned -- over five innings and left with the Padres ahead, 5-3, but Kevin Quackenbush allowed back-to-back solo homers to Jedd Gyorko and Aledmys Diaz to even the score at 5 in San Diego's eventual 8-5 loss to the Cardinals.

San Diego relievers allowed 15 runs, including four home runs, in the last two games of the series against St. Louis. Quackenbush, in particular, has struggled, giving up six runs in his last five outings.

Brandon Maurer (0-1) came on in the eighth inning on Sunday and gave up three runs.

"It wasn't our best effort out there tonight," Padres manager Andy Green said of the bullpen's performance. "We've got plenty of bullpen pieces. If you look back, historically, at who Kevin Quackenbush and Brandon Maurer are, they're very good. It was just a tough couple-game stretch for us."

Green on 8-5 loss to Cardinals

Rea was touched early as St. Louis used run-scoring singles from Randal Grichuk and Yadier Molina to build a 2-0 lead in the first. Rea yielded another run in the fourth when Cardinals starter Mike Leake singled home Gyorko.

"I don't think anybody would have described [Rea's] outing as on top of his game," Green said. "I thought he battled extraordinarily well. He wasn't as crisp as he has been, but he managed to give us five innings and 100 pitches, so we felt good about that effort at that point in time."

Rea fans Piscotty swinging

"It comes down to being more efficient and attacking in the strike zone," Rea said. "The long first inning didn't help. The bullpen shouldn't have been out there in the sixth inning, I should still be out there. I kind of let the team down in that respect. I need to do better."

Green directed the conversation toward the effort of the hitters in an attempt to come back late in the game. The Padres had the tying run at the plate in the ninth against closer Trevor Rosenthal, but did not score despite battling especially hard in Green's view.

"I take out of this the fight that the guys showed," Green said. "The fight that the position players showed in this game was the most I've seen all year. The desire to keep coming back went all the way through the last at-bat."

Tim Powers is a contributor for based in San Diego. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.