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Ziegler's first blown save keeps Urena from win

May 31, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- Jose Urena was given little support, but was still in line for his first win. The Padres had other ideas, rallying for two runs in the ninth inning off Brad Ziegler to claim a 3-2 walk-off victory on Wednesday at Petco Park.Ziegler, who had converted all nine

SAN DIEGO -- Jose Urena was given little support, but was still in line for his first win. The Padres had other ideas, rallying for two runs in the ninth inning off Brad Ziegler to claim a 3-2 walk-off victory on Wednesday at Petco Park.
Ziegler, who had converted all nine of his save chances, loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning. The Padres were able to push two runs across on pinch-hitter Hunter Renfroe's infield single. The winning-run came home on third baseman Miguel Rojas' errant throw to first base.
"Jose was good again," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "It looked like that two might hold up. We weren't able to really scratch any runs out. But he was good. … Rough ending there."
Rojas initially was thinking of going home for the forceout, but didn't have a good grip on the ball, and went to first, with the ball skipping away from Yadiel Rivera. The error enabled Freddy Galvis to score from second, giving the Padres their second win in three games against the Marlins.

"I didn't get the grip to throw him out at home plate," Rojas said. "As soon as I didn't get the grip, I threw to first base. I tried to make a good throw so we could keep the game alive. Unfortunately, the ball gets away."
Urena (0-7), who actually has pitched better than his record indicates, had been in line for his first victory in 12 starts this year. He has not won since Sept. 20, 2017, and the drought continues as Miami has lost each game he has started.
"It's frustrating because Jose, we had a chance to give him his first win," said Ziegler, whose ERA now sits at 7.83. "He pitched well multiple times to get one. It's frustrating to just be in this spot again."
Through the tailspin, the Marlins hadn't exactly given Urena much to work with. The right-hander averaged 2.84 runs of support entering the night, which ranks as the lowest in the National League for pitchers with a minimum of 11 starts.
Despite the tough luck, Urena is keeping things in stride. Asked if he felt snakebitten, the right-hander said: "No. That is the game. That's a thing you can't control there. Everybody is going out there doing the best they can."
Urena was on the attack all night, throwing fastballs on 51 of his 91 pitches. His velocity maxed out at 97.3 mph.<p. both="" difficult="" for="" manufacturing="" much="" offense="" teams.="" was=""> </p.>
<p. both="" difficult="" for="" manufacturing="" much="" offense="" teams.="" was="">The Marlins weren't able to manage as much as a baserunner until J.T. Realmuto's one-out single off Clayton Richard in the fourth inning. Miami got on the board with the next batter, as Starlin Castro crushed a two-run home run to left-center. Castro's third home run of the season, according to Statcast™, projected at 423 feet, with an exit velocity of 107.4 mph. </p.>

Given a two-run lead, Urena was unable to secure a shut-down inning in the fourth, as Franmil Reyes connected on a two-out, opposite-field home run. It was his third home run in as many days, and his fourth of the season.
"We got to 3-2. I didn't want to walk that guy," Urena said. "Let me see if that guy could put the ball in play. I was praying for that ball to go foul, but it hit the pole."

Despite the 7.83 ERA, Ziegler had converted all nine of his save chances before giving up two runs in the ninth, with one of them unearned due to Rojas' throwing error. Still, in his last 15 games, Ziegler has allowed 13 earned runs on 21 hits in 13 1/3 innings, raising questions if he will remain in the closer role.
Mattingly said if Ziegler doesn't close, that means Kyle Barraclough likely will take over, with Drew Steckenrider being another option. Steckenrider and Barraclough each threw scoreless innings on Wednesday. Tayron Guerrero is a hard-thrower who potentially could be a closer option, but that seems down the road since he's struggled of late.

"Claw's an option. Steck's an option," Mattingly said. "Tayron, for a while, was looking like an option, and could be one of the guys at least in the back end. We've struggled there. You still have got to get there, somehow, someway. It's like shuffling your lineup. You can do things differently. Again, we still have got to get there. We sent Claw out there to get the top of that order. So, he really gets the tougher part of those last two innings."
Ziegler is struggling for answers.
"It's pretty empty," Ziegler said. "It's a lot of self-examination, questioning, what is going on. This is my 11th season. I've never had a stretch like this really. It's frustrating, for sure."
Realmuto extended his hitting streak to nine straight games at Petco Park, going 12-for-38 (.316) with two triples, a home run and six RBIs.
"I think our approach wasn't that good today, especially against the soft stuff. We're still having trouble with the soft-throwers, the guys who change speeds and mix really well." -- Rojas, on Marlins not doing much against Richard
The four-game series at Petco Park comes to a close on Thursday at 9:10 p.m. ET. Wei-Yin Chen will make just his second career start against the Padres. In 2016, the lefty beat San Diego, giving up four runs in six innings. Jordan Lyles goes for the Padres.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.