On a forgettable day for the Padres, one thing stood out again Sunday – Josh Hader found himself hit hard. Again.
The reliever, obtained in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 1, has had a miserable time of it with San Diego – including losing the closer job in which he has excelled in the past. The Friars’ 15-7 loss to Kansas City compounded the misery.
The Padres trailed just 9-6 when he entered the game in the eighth inning, but six runs and just one out later, the Royals had shut the door.
The trouble fell on Hader immediately, as the Royals loaded the bases on a Salvador Perez single, Hunter Dozier double and a walk to Kyle Isbel. Nick Pratto doubled to drive in Michael Massey, running for Perez, and Dozier, and Drew Waters singled to bring in Isbel.
Hader struck out Nicky Lopez, but after another walk and a Michael Taylor single to drive in two more runs, it took Wil Myers to restore order. The outfielder gave up a sacrifice fly for the final run of the inning, and loaded the bases again, but got out of the jam.
Sean Manaea fared little better, wasting a quick lead on a Manny Machado home run by giving up five in the bottom of the first, including a lead-off homer to Taylor. The starter gave up six runs on 10 hits in four innings of work as his record fell to 7-7.
Machado, though, had himself a big day, with four hits, two of them homers, and four RBIs. Yet he did lose an RBI on the second homer, in the fifth, because Luis Campusano had just been picked off, costing the Padres a chance to pull within one run of the Royals.
As far as Hader goes, manager Bob Melvin is not despairing. He noted that “more than anything (his) stuff looks like it’s there,” as well as his velocity. But of the club overall, he said, it “seems like we take a couple steps forward. Certainly today we took a step back.”
The Padres, after taking two of three from the Royals, head to San Francisco with Mike Clevinger, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove set to take the mound.
They lost ground Sunday, but still hold a 1.5-game lead over Milwaukee in the race for the final wild-card spot.