Playoff push comes down to the last day of the season; Giants lose to Padres 6-2

The San Diego Padres Fernando Tatis Jr takes San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto deep in the fourth inning Sat Sep 26, 2020 at Oracle Park in San Francisco

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-It looks like the San Francisco Giants playoff push will come down to the final day of the season.

Fernando Tatis, Jr. hit a towering home run in the top of the fourth inning, as the San Diego Padres defeated the Giants 6-2 at Oracle Park.

All the runs that the Padres would need came in that fourth inning, as Mitch Moreland singled to right field that scored Manny Machado and then Austin Nola hit a sacrifice fly that scored Pham with the third run of the inning.

The playoff bound Padres sent Zach Davies, as he went the first three innings, allowing just three hits and struck out three before giving way to the Padres bullpen.

Craig Stammen came on to throw two innings of one-hit ball, and also struck out two on his way to his fourth win of the season.

Johnny Cueto went the first 6.1 innings for the Giants, who are trying to hold on to that eighth and final spot in the National League playoff race.

The Giants really could not muster anything against the Padres, and their first chance smacked them right in the face, when Mauricio Dubon attempted to steal third; however, he slid over the base and was tagged out by Machado for the second out in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Dubon singled with one out in the frame, went to second when Tyler Heineman was hit by a Stammen pitch. The rally ended when Mike Yastrzemski struck out to end the inning.

The Giants finally got on the board in the bottom of the eighth inning, as they loaded the bases with nobody out; however, Tim Hill pinch-hitter Austin Slater, then Yastrzemski hit an opposite field single to right and then Darin Ruf to load the bases with nobody out. Hill then got Donovan Solano to strikeout, and then it looked like he was going to escape the jam without allowing a run; however, Brandon Belt beat out the ground ball that looked like a sure double play that retired Ruf at second base.

That would be the end of the line for Hill, as Dan Altavilla came on to replace Hill and Wilmer Flores greeted him by singling to left field to score Yastrzemski. Altavilla ended the threat, as he got Evan Longoria to strikeout to the rally.

The Padres broke the game wide open in the top of the ninth inning, as on back-to-back pitches, Tony Watson gave up a two-run home run to Tommy Pham and then Mitch Moreland launched a solo blast over the 415 in right-center field.

NOTES: Prior to the game, the Giants made the following roster move today, as Jeff Samardzija has been designated for assignment and has been placed on unconditional release waivers. Also, the Giants have placed RHP Sam Coonrod on the 10-day IL with a right shoulder strain and have recalled RHP Rico Garcia (#39) from the Alternate Training Site.

Yastrzemski was named the winner of the Willie Mac Award winner, an annual honor bestowed upon the most inspirational player on the team, as voted upon by Giants players, coaches, training staff, clubhouse staff and the fans…this season marks the 40th anniversary of the award, which was established in 1980, in honor of legend and Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.

Former Giants outfielder Hunter Pence announced his retirement earlier, as he hung up his cleats after a stellar 14-year career that saw him win two World Series with the Giants in 2012 and 2014.

“Nothing can really prepare you for this part of your career, when you have say, ‘I am retiring from baseball,'” Pence said in a video on Twitter. “I’ve given it everything I possibly can, and the game has given back to me tenfold.”

Pence, 37, was designated for assignment in August by the Giants after hitting just .096 with two home runs and six RBIs in 52 at-bats this season.

PLAYOFF SCENARIOS: If the Giants win on Sunday, and the Milwaukee Brewers lose to the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, they will clinch the wild card.

UP NEXT: Neither the Giants nor the Padres have announced their starter for the regular season finale on Sunday afternoon.

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