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Hand falters as Braun keys Brewers' escape

March 31, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- Brad Hand picked a rough time for his roughest outing as a Padre.Staked to a three-run lead in the ninth inning Friday night, Hand was on the wrong end of a furious five-run Brewers rally, capped by Ryan Braun's dramatic go-ahead three-run homer. Hand was one strike

SAN DIEGO -- Brad Hand picked a rough time for his roughest outing as a Padre.
Staked to a three-run lead in the ninth inning Friday night, Hand was on the wrong end of a furious five-run Brewers rally, capped by Ryan Braun's dramatic go-ahead three-run homer. Hand was one strike from sealing the Padres' first win of the season. Instead, he left an 0-2 fastball over the plate, and Braun sent Milwaukee to a stunning 8-6 victory.
"I was trying to go up with a fastball," Hand said. "I got it up, but kind of middle-ish. He put a really good swing on that one, and it came back to haunt me."

It marked the first time Hand has surrendered five runs since coming to San Diego, and it was the first time in the last 128 games at Petco Park that the Padres have lost a game they led entering the ninth.
Braun HR caps 5-run 9th as Crew stuns Padres
"You're facing Brad Hand, who has established himself as one of the best relievers in the National League," said Braun. "The likelihood of coming back is so close to zero in that situation. So many guys just battled, grinded. A bunch of two-strike hits, a few lucky hits, to even get an opportunity to hit right there, everyone who hit before me had to do well."
Braun's blast was the decisive blow, but Hand found himself in immediate trouble, allowing consecutive singles to Manny Pina and Jesus Aguilar to open the frame. Then, Hand contributed to his own demise defensively when he kicked Orlando Arcia's comebacker and couldn't get his throw to first base in time.
The error loaded the bases, and runs would score on a Jonathan Villar single and a Lorenzo Cain groundout, cutting the Padres' lead to 6-5.
For a brief moment, it seemed as though new Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer had saved the day. With two outs and two men in scoring position, Hosmer made a nice stop and a pinpoint throw to the plate to cut down Arcia trying to score the tying run.
"It was perfect because I got that long hop," said Hosmer, who notched his first two hits and his first RBI with his new team on Friday. "I'm going to take a chance in that situation. We've got our closer on the mound. We're going to roll with him all day. It was something I felt we should take a chance and try and keep the run from tying the game."
Hosmer goes 2-for-4 and brings the D

Hosmer's gem merely delayed the heartbreak, as the stage was set for Braun. Hand quickly got ahead in the count, but opted to keep his best tool -- one of the game's most dominant sliders -- in his back pocket. Hand instead threw a high fastball, presumably setting up a slider on the next pitch. There would be no next pitch.
Manager Andy Green acknowledged that he considered walking Braun, but he ultimately decided he didn't want to put the tying run in scoring position. Both Green and Hand downplayed the effects of Hand's two innings pitched in Thursday's season opener.
Hand's blown save was a sour ending to a nice debut for lefty prospect Joey Lucchesi. After he allowed two runs in the first, Lucchesi settled in for 4 2/3 innings of three-run ball. Cory Spangenberg and Austin Hedges backed him with back-to-back homers in the second, and the Padres' middle relief tossed 3 1/3 hitless frames.
"It was a well-played game for us," Green said. "It's disappointing to come out the way it did. If we keep playing games like that against good clubs, we'll win a lot of baseball games."

Szczur stopped: Hosmer's second hit was a ringing opposite-field double in the bottom of the eighth that gave the Padres a 6-3 lead. It could've been 7-3 -- with the inning still alive -- if not for a perfect Milwaukee relay that nabbed right fielder Matthew Szczur at home plate. Had the Padres extended their lead, Green acknowledged he likely would've gone with Jordan Lyles out of the bullpen, in an attempt to preserve Hand.

Maki time: With Lucchesi in a fifth-inning jam, the Padres called on another debutant, right-hander Kaz Makita, who spent the past seven seasons with the Seibu Lions in Japan. The sidearming 33-year-old stranded two runners when he got Santana to bounce to short on his signature slow curveball. Makita needed only 11 more pitches to work through a clean sixth.
"He was really good," Green said. "We couldn't really ask for anything more at that point."
"Brad's been outstanding. He's going to be great the next time he's on the mound." -- Green
The Padres knocked around former teammate Jhoulys Chacin for four runs in 3 1/3 innings. In 16 starts at Petco Park last season, Chacin never allowed four runs, and he surrendered two homers in a game only once. He allowed home runs to two consecutive hitters on Friday.

Padres right fielder William Myers exited for a pinch-runner in the bottom of the seventh, and it was later revealed that Myers has been battling a stiff back for a little over a week.
Green indicated that Myers is "day to day," and it's unclear whether he'll play in Saturday's series finale.
"It just kind of came up in Spring Training a little bit, and it just lingered and stayed there," Myers said. "But I'll be fine."
Myers went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, his first hits of the season.
Brewers: Left-hander Brent Suter, one of the three Brewers players to make an Opening Day roster for the first time, gets the start in Saturday's 7:40 p.m. CT series finale. Suter works fast and gets outs throwing more than 70 percent fastballs, even though they average 85 mph. With a righty pitching for the Padres, expect Eric Thames to get his first start at first base, coming off his 31-homer Brewers debut last season.
Padres: It certainly feels like a critical year in Luis Perdomo's development. The former Rule 5 Draft pick spun his wheels last season, after showing promise during his rookie campaign. The 24-year-old right-hander will begin his season in Saturday night's finale against Milwaukee at 5:40 p.m. PT.
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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.