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9th inning collapse results in 8-5 loss to Padres

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MLB: San Diego Padres at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Harrison made his return to action and did so in grand fashion, going 3 for 4 with a double. Austin Meadows also had a solid day at the plate, going 3 for 4 with his first big league home run. However, these strong performances were not enough to buffer the 9th inning collapse that ensued.

Williams gave up four runs over six innings to start the game. Santana and Feliz both followed it up with scoreless innings of relief, allowing the Pirates to enter the 9th inning with a one run lead and the ball in Vazquez’s hand. In what is typically a favorable situation for the Bucs, Vazquez didn’t have it today. Through means of base hits, an error, and a misplayed bunt, Vasquez was bounced from the game without recording an out, all while being tagged for four runs (three of them earned) as the Padres took an 8-5 lead.

Here’s how the scoring broke down:

In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Trevor Williams led off with a single to right. The hot hitting Harrison followed up with a double off the center field wall, advancing Williams to third. Cervelli scored Williams with a sacrifice fly to center for the first run of the game.

Padres’ Villanueva answered in the top of the 4th inning with a line drive, two run home run, which scored Hosmer who had reached on a single.

Padres poured it on again in the 5th inning when Galvis singled, Ellis double, and Margot delivered an RBI groundout. Lyles helped his own cause by executing a squeeze bunt and reaching first base when the Pirates attempted (and failed) to get Ellis out at the plate.

Bucs broke out the big bats in the bottom of the 6th inning, effectively tying the game when they scored three runs on back to back home runs by Meadows and Mercer.

Pittsburgh managed to push the go ahead run across in the bottom of the 8th inning when Moran and Meadows singled, and Freese was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Josh Harrison, who delivered a sacrifice fly to center.

Bucs went into the 9th inning with a 5-4 lead and turned to closer, Felipe Vazquez, to bring home the win. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort happened as this is when the wheels fell off.

Jose Pirela and Christian Villanueva led the inning off with singles. After failing to execute a sacrifice bunt, Spangenberg hit a groundball to short but an errant throw by Mercer got away from Harrison, allowing Pirela to score and all others to reach safely. Freddy Galvis followed up with successful execution of a bunt that allowed Cordero to score and was awarded a single when Pirates’ fielders failed to cover first base in time.

Next up, AJ Ellis began the at bat showing bunt until Spangenberg and Galvis stole third and second base, respectively. Ellis then delivered a two run single on a line drive to center field. That was it for Vazquez’s day. Richard Rodriguez came on in relief and managed to escape without any more damage.

Bucs managed to load the bases in the 9th on a couple of walks and a poor decision by Padres’ Pirela, but ultimately afflicted no damage.

Final score: Padres 8, Pirates 5

Bucs have the day off tomorrow but will resume action in Cincinnati on Tuesday as they begin a three game set against the Reds.