Padres survive Yankees' comeback bid

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[July 02, 2016]  SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Padres first game without closer Fernando Rodney turned out to be far more exciting than manager Andy Green wanted it to be.

Carrying a 7-2 lead into the ninth, San Diego watched the New York Yankees score four runs before recently anointed closer Brandon Maurer got the final two outs with the tying run in scoring position to preserve a 7-6 victory Friday night.

"Obviously, that was not the cleanest ninth inning," said Green after the Padres snapped a three-game losing streak. "But Maurer made some big pitches at the end in a tough spot."

Padres starter Colin Rea held the Yankees to two runs over six innings and the first two relievers employed by Green retired all six hitters they faced before the game almost unraveled in the ninth.

Left-handed reliever Matt Thornton started the ninth and walked the lead-off hitter, hit the next batter and gave up a run-scoring single to pinch-hitter Alex Rodriguez.

Enter Maurer, who became the Padres closer Thursday when Rodney, who had 17 saves in 17 chances, was traded to the Miami Marlins.

Maurer immediately gave up a run-scoring double to Didi Gregorius to make it 7-4. Rodriguez scored on a ground out by Aaron Hicks to make it 7-5 and Gregorius scored on a wild pitch by Maurer to make it 7-6.

Pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran doubled to put the tying run on second before Maurer retired Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner on ground balls to end the game.

"I'm excited," Maurer said. "Closing out a game is always something I've wanted to do. I'd like to make it less stressful than that ... that was the most stressful situation of my major league career. And it's 100 percent the most fired up I've been."

Offensively, Wil Myers paced the Padres with a two-run homer -- his 12th in his last 27 games -- while Yangervis Solarte reached base in all four plate appearances and scored twice, and rookie Ryan Schimpf added a solo homer.

The Padres jumped on Yankees right-handed starter -- and loser -- Nathan Eovaldi (6-6) for six runs on seven hits, including two home runs, in 4 1/3 innings. Eovaldi has allowed six homers in his last two starts.

"They are mistake pitches," said Eovaldi. "I am falling behind in the count and leaving pitches up in the zone."

"I sense Evo is frustrated and not happy with what is going on," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's not going to lose his spot in the rotation. We have to get him right. His stuff is too good."

San Diego scored three in the first then got a solo homer from Schimpf in the second and a two-run blast by Myers in the fifth.

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Padres celebrate a 7-6 win over the New York Yankees at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees starter had walked Myers with one out in the first to trigger the three-run inning. Solarte, who came to the Padres from the Yankees as part of a trade for Chase Headley on July 22, 2014, singled Myers to second.

Melvin Upton Jr. singled home Myers for the first run and Derek Norris doubled into the left-field corner to score Solarte and Upton to make it 3-0.

After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the first by retiring Headley on an inning-ending grounder to second, Rea gave up an unearned run in the top of the second. Gregorius singled to lead off the inning, reached second on a passed ball by Norris and scored on a two-out single to right by Ellsbury.

But the Padres got their three-run lead back in the bottom of the inning when Schimpf, who was hitless in his previous 13 at-bats to drop his average to .103, pulled a 408-foot drive into the right-field stands for his first Major League home run.

Myers followed a lead-off single by Travis Jankowski in the fifth with his 12th homer since June 1 and his 19th of the season -- the opposite-field drive carrying 411 feet.

Rea had retired nine straight Yankees when Brian McCann hit his 13th homer, a 412-foot drive, to narrow the Yankees' deficit to 6-2. Rea allowed two runs on four hits with five strikeouts over six innings.

Until Thornton walked McCann on four pitches to open the ninth, Rea, Brad Hand and Ryan Buchter had retired 17 of 18 Yankees around McCann's homer.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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