Photo credit: @Padres
By Lewis Rubman
San Diego: 4 | 11 | 0
SAN FRANCISCO — Before this evening´s Padres-Giants game, I attended a chapter meeting of the Society for American Baseball Research. One of the speakers was César Love, who discussed his forthcoming book, Baseball: An Astrological Sightline, in which he “shows how the stars and planets affect the course of every baseball season and every baseball game.” He concluded by warning those of us who were planning on heading for Oracle Park after the meeting to be alert between 7:15 and 7:30 because the stars showed that an important event might occur in that window. (It’s possible that I got one or two digits wrong). He declined to say what that event might be.
The Padres, neither afraid nor encouraged by Love’s vaticination sent lefty Joey Lucchdesi (9-7, 4.11 ERA) to the mound to face the Giants’ hitters. His best pitch is the change of pace, so there was more the one reason to expect the unexpected. The Giants countered with righty Logan Webb (1-0, 4.66 ERA). The two or three of us in the stands who had received Love’s warning were on a certain amount of of tenterhooks for the hour and 10 minutes that followed Webb’s opening pitch, eagerly anticipating our entry into the Twilight Zone. (Full disclosure: I babysat for Rod Serling a few times in 1955).
The stars were, if anything in alignment for the Giants in the opening frame because Austin Slater, batting second, hit an 0-2 cutter into the batter’s eye in center field to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
7:15 p.m. rolled around, and San Francisco still was hanging on to that one run advantage. A quarter of an hour passed, we were in the bottom of the fifth, and still nothing earthshaking had occurred on the shores of McCovey Cove.
All good things come to an end, as the Giants’ lead and Webb’s mound tenue did simultaneously with Manuel Margot’s RBI single that drove in Josh Naylor from second with one down in the top of the sixth. Webb was replaced by Reyes Moronta, who threw two balls and one strike to Luis Urías and immediately fell off the mound, clutching his arm in pain. Tyler Rogers entered the game and was charged with the eventual walk to Urías, who, along with Margot moved up a base on Rogers’ subsequent wild pitch. But San Francisco’s submariner got Hedges to ground out to second, ending the inning and preserving the tie.
When Webb left the game, he had pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed just that one run, which was earned. He had given up seven hits and struck out an equal number of Padres. He had walked only one Friar. Of the 91 pitches he had hurled, only 33 were balls.
The Giants loaded the bases against Lucchesi with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Posey reached first on a hard grounder to second that García couldn’t handle and which went for a single. Rickhard singled to left, and Belt walked. But Dubón hit into a double play, García, unassisted, to Hosmer.
When Alex Dickerson pinch hit for Rogers to open the bottom of the seventh, he faced Craig Stammen, who had relieved Lucchesi, and greeted him with a line single to center. The departing lefty’s line was six IP, one run, early and earned, eight hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. Now neither starter could get the decision, but both could be proud of a job well done.
Tom Watson started the eighth for the Giants and gave up a lead off triple to Machado. One out later, Josh Naylor drove him home with a single to left through a drawn in infield. Watson stranded him by administering a strike out to Margot and getting Urías to sky out to Pillar, but the damage had been done.
Will Smith was brought in to try to hold the Padres in check and keep the game within reach, but Hedges started off the ninth for the Padres with a single to left center, and Wil Myers administered San Diego’s offensive coup du grace with a homer to center that left Pillar dangling frustrated on the wall.
Kirby Yates, who got the save, ended the game by striking out the three Giants he faced in the bottom of the ninth.
It was a tough loss, but as Cassius says in Shakekspeare’s Julius Caesar, “The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars / But in ourselves….” (But tell that to Reyes Moronta).
Stammen, now 7-6, earned the win. He pitched two innings of shutout ball, striking out two, and allowed one hit. Yates was credited with the save, his 39th.
The defeat leaves San Francisco, at 66-69, in third place in the NL West, seven games out of the wild card running, and with a wild card elimination number of 21 and 27 games remaining in which to stave it off.
The teams will go at it again tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 p.m. It will be lefty Eric Lauer (7-8, 4.48 ERA) facing righty Tyler Beede (3-8, 5.56 ERA).