Anderson, Pillar lead Giants to 4-2 win over the Padres

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — In a close game, the Giants aren’t so bad.

Keeping it close was good enough to squeeze past the Padres, 4-2 on Wednesday night, and capture the two-game set at Oracle Park. A quality start from Shaun Anderson, timely hitting and Will Smith closing the door were the highlights of the evening.  Now the Giants need to work on that formula increasing in frequency.

In 2019, the Giants have enjoyed one and two-run ballgames, winning 19 of 33. It’s the other 33 ballgames decided by three runs or more that have doomed them, winning just nine of 33. If you’re the Giants, you’re more likely to get blown out than blow someone out, and therein lies the problem for the last-place club.

That and winning home games (the Giants are 13-20 at home)… just not an issue on Wednesday. The Giants made the key plays, offensively and defensively, and the Padres, losers of 11 of 16, threw the ball away, and couldn’t manage a key hit.

Anderson led the transformation by pitching six, solid innings and picking up the win. His key frame was the first, when he coaxed a double play ball off the bat of Franmil Reyes to end the inning and keep the game scoreless when the Padres threatened to get the jump off a bases loaded, one out situation.

“Huge pitch. That’s the ballgame,” said manager Bruce Bochy with the benefit of hindsight. “Big turning point in the  game. What a job (Anderson) did, throwing six, solid innings.”

Kevin Pillar got the Giants on the board in the second on a solo shot, then trailing 2-1 in the fifth, the Padres gave the struggling Giants’ offense a boost, courtesy of a pair of miscues. Throwing errors by rookies Josh Naylor and Fernando Tatis contributed to the Giants taking the lead.

Winning close games demands a closer, and Will Smith handled that, converting for the 16th time in 16 chances. Smith escaped a bases loaded situation by getting Manuel Margot to pop out to end it.

“We put ourselves in a position to win,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “It just wasn’t enough to get over the hump.”

The Padres and Giants opened the season in San Diego with the home team winning three of four, while showing off their big, off-season acquisition, Manny Machado. That advantageous start had the Padres dreaming of the postseason. But Wednesday’s loss dropped them two games below .500 for the first time all season.

The Giants’ modest win streak marks the first time since early April they’ve captured consecutive, home games.

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