Padres tag Bumgarner, sink Giants 5-2

July 20, 2017

MLB, San Francisco Giants

San Diego Padres’ Hunter Renfroe, left, heads for home plate after hitting a two-run home run off San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, right, during the second inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 20, 2017, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

By Jeremy Harness

SAN FRANCISCO – In the top of the ninth inning of Thursday night’s game, the umpiring crew stared a monitor for two-and-a-half minutes, trying to decide if San Diego third baseman Cory Spangenberg was successfully picked off of first base.

It probably took less time for a parole board in Nevada to make its decision to grant O.J. Simpson his early release from prison Thursday morning than it took for the crew at AT&T Park to determine that Spangenberg was, in fact, out.

Unfortunately for most of the announced “sellout” crowd of 41,166, that play could not turn the tide of a game that the Giants eventually dropped to the Padres, 5-2, in a season that has just seemed to drag on very slowly.

Starter Madison Bumgarner’s undoing was, really, two bad pitches. The first came in the second inning, as Hunter Renfroe touched Bumgarner for a two-run homer that hugged the left-field corner but stayed fair long enough to give the Padres a 2-0 lead.

The fatal blow came in the seventh, as Spangenberg took a fastball from Bumgarner (0-4) that caught too much of the plate and sent it into the seats to give San Diego a lead they would not relinquish.

Those two bombs accounted for all four of the runs that the big lefty surrendered on Thursday. He gave up only six hits and walked only one batter while striking out five others.

“You look at the numbers, and even though they weren’t great, but he threw the ball (well),” manager Bruce Bochy said. “A couple of mistakes left the ballpark.”

In the meantime, with the exception of one inning that saw them tie the game, his teammates could not solve Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin (9-7), who is now 3-0 against the Giants this season. In doing so, he went six innings and gave up only a pair of runs on four hits, striking out four hitters and walking only one.

“He has a long history of pitching very well against us,” Bochy said. “Next to (Clayton) Kershaw, I don’t know who’s tougher on us.”

After falling behind 2-0, the Giants got one of those runs back in the sixth when Denard Span knocked in a run with a flare single into right-center.

One batter later, Span came around and scored after Eduardo Nunez smacked a single into left to tie the game at 2-2. It appeared that the Giants were poised to take the lead, especially after Nunez advanced to second on a balk and then momentarily stole third.

However, his momentum took him off the bag, and third baseman Cory Spangenberg took advantage of this by maintaining his tag. Third-base umpire Cory Blaser saw this the whole way and promptly called Nunez out, ending the Giants’ surge.

In the top half of the seventh, Spangenberg tagged Bumgarner and chased him right out of the game.

After Erick Aybar singled after a prolonged at-bat, Spangenberg cleared the wall in right center – the deepest part of the ballpark at 421 feet – to give San Diego a 4-2 lead.

San Diego tacked on another run off Giants reliever George Kontos in the eighth, when slugger Wil Myers lined a single into left to score Jose Pirela, who had led off the inning with a single of his own.

The Giants made a charge in their half of the eighth, using a two-out rally to load the bases. However, lefty reliever Brad Hand got Buster Posey to fly out harmlessly to deep right to end the inning and keep the Giants down three.

NOTES: The Giants are expected to be reunited with an old friend in a very short period of time. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who had a big hand in all three of the Giants’ World Series titles, was recently released by the Boston Red Sox, and the Giants are expected to sign him to a minor-league deal once he clears waivers.

 

Also, on this day in 1969, starter Gaylord Perry got his first hit of the season, which also happened to be his first major-league home run in a 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

 

Giants manager Alvin Dark did not hold Perry’s hitting in high regard, as he said a year earlier that “they’ll put a man on a moon before he hits a home run.” Well, Perry’s home run came just 20 minutes after the team found out that Neil Armstrong had set foot on the moon.

 

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