BALTIMORE - Baltimore Orioles closer Jim Johnson is typically automatic. He was a perfect 14-for-14 on save attempts this season entering Tuesday and had converted 35 in a row in the regular season dating back to last year.
On Tuesday, Johnson, the closer with the most saves in baseball since Sept. 7, 2011, did not look like his usual self. He blew his first save since July 27 and his franchise-record run came to an end.
Entering the ninth with a two-run lead, Johnson gave up a two runs on a pair of two-out RBI singles, the game-winner by San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera, as the Orioles fell 3-2 to the Padres before 19,096 at Camden Yards.
"It was location. As soon as I got off the field I looked and pitches were in different spots than they're normally at," Johnson said. "At this level the talent is too good. You have to execute, and tonight I didn't."
Johnson gave up back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth, but then got Jedd Gyorko to ground into a double play. However, Chris Denorfia then hit a single up the middle to tie the game 2-2.
After Johnson (1-3) hit Nick Hundley, he gave up Cabrera's single past the outstretched glove of shortstop J.J. Hardy and took the loss. It was Cabrera's first hit in five at-bats.
"When I blow a game, it's usually in the same fashion, hits through here and there," Johnson said. "I made them work for it, that's the only benefit I guess."
Orioles starter Chris Tillman said Johnson's recent success is what made this outing atypical.
"I think everybody knows how good he is and that's why everyone is saying it's unusual, because of that, because he is so good," Tillman said.
The Orioles (23-16) had put themselves in a position to win in the bottom of the eighth. After Ryan Flaherty drew a one-out walk, Alexi Casilla pinch ran and stole second, his 19th straight successful steal, and advanced to third on a throwing error by Hundley.
Steve Pearce then laced a single to left to score Casilla from third and give Baltimore a 2-1 lead.
Chris Davis drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the ninth, but Matt Wieters struck out swinging to end the game, as Padres closer Huston Street picked up his ninth save.
Luke Gregerson (2-2) earned the win in relief for San Diego (17-21).
Up until the eighth, the Orioles had struggled to get runners in scoring position. Their first run came from a Flaherty solo homer in the third, his second of the season, into the first row in left field.
The only other runner to reach second prior to Casilla was Davis who doubled in the second.
Padres starter Andrew Cashner gave up two runs, one earned, over 7 1-3 innings, but was in position to get the loss prior to Johnson's blown save.
"We knew that coming in, that runs were going to be a premium with him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said about Cashner.
Baltimore got a great start from Tillman, but he was saddled with a no-decision. He allowed one run on four hits over seven innings and struck out seven.
Tillman labored through the first two innings, giving up three hits, including a Carlos Quentin solo homer. But after that, he settled in, giving up just one hit over his last five innings and retiring the last 10 batters he faced.
Both teams have a quick turnaround with a 12:35 p.m. game today. For Johnson, it will be a chance for him to quickly put his bad outing behind him. He said the streak of straight saves wasn't that important, he was just glad the team had been successful during that time.
"I really didn't put a whole lot of stock into it," Johnson said. "Like everybody said, we'll start something new tomorrow."