PHILADELPHIA -- Never before during a career that has spanned parts of eight seasons in the Major Leagues had Chad Qualls allowed three home runs in one inning, let alone a single relief appearance.
This is probably a testament to Qualls' ability to avoid the home run, but also in the way that he goes about attacking hitters, relying upon a power sinker that typically leads to a continual loop of ground ball after ground ball.
"I don't get too many fly balls," Qualls said.
He did Saturday, though, and it cost the Padres, who rallied from a three-run deficit for a late lead only to see it dissolve in the 100-degree temperature, as the Phillies delighted a sold-out crowd of 45,072 at Citizens Bank Park with an 8-6 victory.
Oddly enough, Qualls (4-5) said that the only pitch he would take back from that disastrous inning -- one that saw the Padres' 4-3 advantage turn into an 8-4 deficit quicker than you can say heat index -- didn't include any of the three home runs he allowed.
"I didn't make a ton of bad pitches ... just a bad outcome," Qualls said.
Qualls wasn't left kicking himself over allowing the game-tying home run to begin the inning to Ryan Howard, as he insisted his sinker down wasn't a bad pitch. Nor did he bemoan a similar sinker that Chase Utley hit over the right-field wall.
The pitch that truly got away from Qualls was a wild pitch during an at-bat to Michael Martinez with runners on first and second base and with the game tied -- coming after Martinez tried twice unsuccessfully to bunt both Jimmy Rollins and Ross Gload into scoring position.
"I'm not sure if I lost focus, or what," Qualls said of the wild pitch that allowed Rollins and Gload to each move up 90 feet, to second and third base. "I'm not sure if I had a lapse, or what."
With no need to bunt, Martinez took a big swing at a 1-2 pitch, sending it over the right-field wall for a 7-4 lead. Utley followed with his second home run of the game, and the Phillies (63-26) were on their way.
"Of all the pitches in the inning, that's the one I want back," Qualls said.
Only it doesn't work that way.
The Padres (44-57) trailed, 3-0, after Utley's first home run of the game before piecing together a comeback that included two home runs during the sixth inning to tie the game.
San Diego center fielder Cameron Maybin continued his offensive tear on this road trip with a two-run home run in the sixth, and Chase Headley added a solo shot.
One inning later, it was Maybin again, this time with a two-out RBI single off the glove of Rollins that allowed Logan Forsythe to score. Forsythe had a triple off the wall in right to start the inning, the first of his Major League career.
The Padres, who got a gusty outing from Mat Latos, appeared to be on the verge of ending their eight-game losing streak to the Phillies before that seventh inning.
"When you fight back to take the lead, obviously you'd like to get a 'W,'" Headley said. "But those [relievers] do such a great job. Once in a while, they're going to let one get away.
"I'll take my chances with them any day."
Latos gave the Padres six innings, throwing harder and showing better secondary pitches after the first. He said he made a mistake in trying to conserve his energy on a humid afternoon.
"It was hot out there, and I think I tried to preserve energy for later in the game. But you can't fool the baseball gods on that, and I allowed three runs," he said. "I started rearing back and letting it go."
Latos retired 11 of the next 12 hitters he faced after Utley's home run and showed something in his last inning when, after allowing two hits, he retired the last three hitters he faced, striking out Brian Schneider looking on his best slider of the day.
"A good inning ... on the road, against this club, it was great," said Padres manager Bud Black. "It was a great pat on the back [moment]."
The way Qualls had been pitching this season -- he entered the game with a 2.61 ERA and had allowed just one long ball all season -- Black probably figured he'd have another of those moments later, especially with how dominant the bullpen has been this season.
Black opted for Qualls in the seventh inning because of his success this season. Left-handed reliever Josh Spence, at 23, entered Saturday with 15 career relief appearances.
"You think you're throwing the ball really well and 'boom' ... it slaps you in the face," Qualls said.
"I'm pretty sure that every pitcher will tell you that they'd like to go back and have one inning over again. Obviously, this would be my one."