HOUSTON -- Kip Wells very nearly escaped the inning that did the Padres in on Tuesday.
His wide throw to second base with one out in a tie game kept the fifth inning alive, and the Astros capitalized on the extra outs, scoring four runs after the error and sending the Padres to a 5-3 loss at Minute Maid Park.
On a one-out grounder from Brian Bogusevic with Jed Lowrie on first, Wells made a nifty blind snag with his glove and prepared to throw to second. His throw was wide of shortstop Everth Cabrera, though, and Lowrie advanced to third. A clean throw to Cabrera could've started a double play and ended the inning.
"It's one of things where you kind of have to narrow your focus and throw it to a spot," Wells said. "If it's off a little bit, it's OK. But when you kind of just see a big area, then you end up not making the same kind of throw you're capable of."
Lowrie scored on a wild pitch, and after moving to second on the wild pitch, Bogusevic scored on a single from Chris Johnson, widening the Astros' lead to 3-1. After Jason Castro flied out for the second out, J.D. Martinez hit a low breaking ball to left-center field for his 10th homer of the season, giving Houston a 5-1 advantage.
The Padres made things interesting in the ninth, scoring a pair of runs on Chase Headley's two-run single before leaving the bases loaded against Brett Myers.
"It was a spirited rally," manager Bud Black said.
Early on, both teams missed opportunities to open up the game.
The Padres loaded the bases with one out in the second behind an error by Johnson and back-to-back singles by Cabrera and Alexi Amarista. Logan Forsythe grounded out to third and Wells grounded out to second to end the inning.
In the bottom half, the Astros did very nearly the same thing, loading the bases with one out before a Jordan Lyles strikeout and Brian Bixler groundout.
Will Venable's solo homer in the third gave the Padres a 1-0 lead. Umpires originally ruled Venable's hit a triple before going to video review and determining the ball had indeed gone over the right-field fence before bouncing back into play.
With one out, Carlos Quentin and Mark Kotsay singled, and with two outs, Cabrera walked. But Amarista grounded out to short and the Padres left the bases juiced for the second straight inning.
Lowrie hit his 14th homer of the season in the third, a solo shot that tied the score.
Wells' outing ended after the four-run fifth. He threw 100 pitches, 60 for strikes. Making his first start since 2009, the 35-year-old said he felt fine about most of his pitches in the outing and didn't think the error or wild pitch really affected his pitching.
"Obviously from an individual standpoint, you realize that you kind of shot yourself in the foot a little bit," Wells said.
Black said he thought Wells' stuff was pretty solid.
"A little erratic at times," Black said.
Lyles was erratic early as well, but he lasted 6 1/3 innings and retired nine of the 11 batters he faced in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
"After we got those runs for him and we took that lead, it seem like he grasped that and said, 'I got the lead, I'm not going to give it up,'" Astros manager Brad Mills said. "That seemed like when he really started clicking, and you want pitchers to be able to do that."
Lyles put two runners on in the sixth and gave the ball to Fernando Abad, who retired all five batters he faced. Myers got Amarista to ground out to finish off his 17th save.
With a 5-1 deficit in the sixth, right-handed reliever Nick Vincent made his Major League debut. He went two innings, only allowing one of the seven batters he faced to reach base.
"The first one's always the hardest one, I think," Vincent said. "As soon as you get through that, you just have to work on keeping the ball down and getting guys out."
"It was good to see Nick get in the game," Black said. "He's had a nice run in Double-A the last two weeks, pitching very well. He carried that over."
The Padres squandered bases-loaded opportunities in the second, third and ninth inning, making four outs on the night with the sacks full. They left 13 runners on base, a night after the Astros left 13 on base in a loss.
"It's frustrating," Black said. "You're looking for one big knock. The Astros probably said the same thing last night. They had a couple opportunities. There's somebody on the other side of that diamond trying to prevent it as well."
Clark Goble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.