Padres' comeback bid lacks decisive blow

Padres' comeback bid lacks decisive blow

SAN FRANCISCO -- For a fleeting moment during the Padres' 5-4 loss to the Giants on Monday, AT&T Park had gone relatively quiet, and the bulk of the noise in the ballpark was emanating from the blue-clad occupants of the visitors' dugout.

A late Padres rally turned what looked like an easy Giants win into a tense affair in the top of the eighth inning. San Diego had plated two runs and put two men on base -- representing the tying and go-ahead runs -- with only one out.

That final breakthrough, however, never came.

Giants reliever Josh Osich fanned Jemile Weeks for the second out, before Travis Jankowski swiped second to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy called upon closer Santiago Casilla, who promptly whiffed Jose Pirela to end the threat.

Casilla escapes trouble with a K

"From an offensive perspective, the eighth inning was very solid for us, working through the middle part of our lineup. We put ourselves in a position to win the ballgame," said Padres manager Andy Green. "We had a chance with one hit from Pirela right there to drive in Jankowski and put us ahead. We just couldn't get it done."

Green isn't one to tout moral victories, but he was quick to praise his team's approach in the eighth. Matt Kemp sparked the rally with his second double of the game and his fifth in three days. Then, the Padres pieced together a pair of two-strike hits.

Melvin Upton Jr. went to the opposite field, before Alexei Ramirez plated the Padres' third run by fighting off a single up the middle. Brett Wallace followed by lining a pinch-hit knock to center, prompting Jankowski to pinch-run and swipe second.

Ramirez's RBI single

"Winning run on second base in the eighth -- you're giving yourself opportunities to win baseball games," Green said.

This was an opportunity the Padres wouldn't take. Weeks, who had doubled earlier in the contest, was asked to lay down a bunt that would have plated the tying run. It trickled foul, and on the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Weeks chased a fastball out of the zone.

"Safety squeeze, it was a high fastball -- a tough pitch to bunt," Weeks said. "... Then we ended on a two-seamer off the plate. I went for it."

Pirela also chased a pitch out of the zone, this one a curveball around his ankles. The Padres got another shot in the ninth -- and they put the tying run on base once again. But for all intents and purposes, the eighth inning was their best shot.

And the end result left a bit of a bittersweet taste.

"It wasn't just the guys that hit that inning," said Padres first baseman Wil Myers, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a third-inning single. "The bench itself was in the game, our pitchers were really behind us, and we could feel that. That's the sign of a team that doesn't give up until the end.

"Obviously you'd rather come away with a win, but I think this is something to build off of."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.