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Padres rally late, fall in extras as skid hits 7

July 31, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- It appears the Padres need a change of scenery, and a new month.After returning from a two-win, four-loss road trip to kick off the latter end of the All-Star break, the Padres came back to Petco Park with hopes of rejuvenation and resilience against two of their

SAN DIEGO -- It appears the Padres need a change of scenery, and a new month.
After returning from a two-win, four-loss road trip to kick off the latter end of the All-Star break, the Padres came back to Petco Park with hopes of rejuvenation and resilience against two of their National League West rivals. Instead, they didn't win a contest during the five-game homestand and stretched their losing streak to seven games after a 3-2 defeat against the Giants in 10 innings on Tuesday.
San Diego finished July with a 5-20 record and a .200 winning percentage, the second-worst month in franchise history.
It begs the question: what needs to change?
"It's the quality of the at-bats," manager Andy Green said. "Obviously we went through a stretch where the pitching wasn't sharp, but the pitching hasn't been our main issue throughout the course of the year. We just can't string together quality at-bats. That's been tough for us.
"Probably the hardest thing for us has been flushing previous days and not letting that carry-over effect, that hangover effect, not getting it done, impact the next day's at-bats," Green added. "As professionals at this level, we need to do a better job of flushing that, and showing up the next day with the expectation that we're going to be successful and win a baseball game."
For the second day in a row, it took extra innings to decide a winner, with the Giants taking control of Tuesday's game in the 10th. Evan Longoria led off the inning with a liner that oddly caromed off the right-field wall as he raced into third for a triple. Three batters later, Brandon Crawford drove in Longoria with an RBI single.
The Padres weren't able to recover. Green used two pinch-hitters back-to-back -- A.J. Ellis and Hunter Renfroe. Ellis struck out looking and Renfroe popped up to second. Manuel Margot singled to left field, but William Myers tapped a slow comebacker to closer Will Smith and the game was over.
With the loss, the Padres are officially on pace to lose 100 games this season. They'll hope they can turn their destiny with the turn of a calendar page.
"When you've had a month like we've had, [the new month] is very important," said Clayton Richard, who was tagged with a no-decision. "We have to understand what we did wrong, but we also have to move away from it and move more towards the direction we want to be going."
The Padres will have their work cut out for them to start off the new month. They'll enjoy an off-day Wednesday before embarking on a seven-day road trip. They'll face the Cubs and the Brewers, who currently own the two best records in the National League.
"We're going to see two teams that are fighting like crazy to make the playoffs," Green said. "We're going to see some really great arms on this road trip and we've got seven games. The goal is to go win a 'playoff series' and come out four out of seven, and try to treat the rest of the season in small sample sizes so you don't get overwhelmed."
Clayton unsatisfied
Richard cruised through the first 12 batters without allowing a hit, but ran into trouble in the fourth when the Giants tagged the lefty for three straight singles. He'd allow a run on Gorkys Hernandez's sacrifice fly, but the bigger blow occurred on the first batter Richard faced in the fifth. Andrew McCutchen led off the inning with his 11th homer of the year, a solo shot into the Home Run Deck that travelled a Statcast-estimated 374 feet.
"When you come away on the losing end, it's not a good feeling," Richard said. "Unfortunately, we've been doing that more often than not lately."
Richard, who leads the team in innings pitched, was unable to reach the sixth inning for the third consecutive start. He finished the day with two runs on five hits through five frames. He walked three and struck out one.
Offensive woes
San Diego finally got a glimpse of what it thought its heart of the order would perform like in the beginning of the season, when Eric Hosmer drove in Myers for the very first time this year. Myers singled off Giants rookie starter Dereck Rodriguez in the first inning and Hosmer knocked him in one batter later when he lined a double to right field.

That was all the Padres' offense had against Rodriguez though, who steamrolled through a lackluster lineup for six scoreless innings after. San Diego mustered just one hit during that time -- a double by Travis Jankowski in the third. The Padres wouldn't record another hit or run until the eighth inning, when Jankowski singled off Reyes Moronta and Jose Pirela scored on Margot's fielder's choice.
"You can't expect a staff to hold a team down into extra innings every single day," Green said. "We had some good at-bats, we had some empty at-bats. We've just got to get a lot more constructive at-bats if we want to win baseball games."
"Whether it's positive or negative, you've got to flush out the day before and continue to move on, but at this point we just have to find a way to get it done. There's no special formula, special words you can say, you've just got to flat out go there and do it." -- Hosmer, on the Padres' recent struggles
The Padres have a day off before heading to Chicago for a four-game series against the first-place Cubs at Wrigley Field starting Thursday. Robbie Erlin gets the nod and will face off against veteran Mike Montgomery. It will be just the third start for Erlin this year -- he's 0-2 this season as a starter and has been tagged for a 14.14 ERA, giving up 12 runs in seven innings. He's been much more effective as a reliever though, posting a 2.05 ERA in 27 appearances. Game time is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. PT.

Katie Woo covers the Padres for Follow her on Twitter @katiejwoo.