By Morris Phillips
SAN FRANCISCO–The Giants needed working lights, of course. But at this critical juncture of the season, their wish list is lengthier than a functional ballpark.
An unusual night at Oracle Park unearthed few answers as the Giants suffered a frustrating loss to the Padres, 6-5.
Their fifth straight defeat was again littered with sporadic offense that didn’t take hold until the eighth inning, when they pushed across three runs, and disappeared as quickly as it materialized in the ninth.
Ironically, LaMonte Wade Jr. batted in the ninth, more than four hours after first pitch in a game extended by a pair of in-game delays, and struck out after looking at all three strikes.
So much for “Late Night” and so much for the Giants.
“I thought it was a better offensive performance, but there’s no question the main issue for us is we haven’t been as good in the (hitting) zone,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I think earlier in the season, we were much better at driving balls in the zone.”
Carlos Rodon left the Giants in an early hole, allowing three runs in the first, capped by Brandon Drury’s two-run shot. Rodon, who was fantastic in his previous start at Detroit, was baffling on Monday. He needed 28 pitches to survive the first inning, and his fastball to Drury–pitch number 24–left the slugger little choice but to deposit it into the bleachers.
Rodon never got untracked, and after a 40-minute delay to fire up the stadium lights preceded by a 10-minute delay when home plate umpire Marvin Hudson twisted his knee trying to track a foul pop, he was left to be philosophical.
“It was odd, right? Poor guy behind home plate tonight, who knows what he did to his knee, but hopefully he’s all right. Then the light thing. It was kind of an odd game today, right? A little different,” Rodon said.
Rodon went just four innings, and departed with the Giants down, 5-0.
The Giants’ comeback that fell a run short started in the fourth with Joc Pederson’s homer that trimmed the deficit to 5-2. In the eighth, Austin Slater knocked in two runs with a base hit, and J.D. Davis followed with an RBI single that scored Thairo Estrada.
Padres’ closer Nick Martinez was summoned to get a four-out save and allowed both run-scoring hits. But he recovered, retiring Austin Wynns to end the eighth, and Tommy La Stella, Wade and Wilmer Flores consecutively in the ninth.
“All of a sudden, the eighth inning feels like the ninth inning and to have to come out and recreate that adrenaline again in the ninth is just another something that really he hasn’t been through,” manager Bob Melvin said of Martinez, who has supplanted the struggling Josh Hader in the San Diego bullpen.
The Giants are 10-14 in August, and a season-worst four games below .500. But here’s what’s even more disheartening: the Padres, one of two teams the Giants need to catch, are 13-13, and would be feeling the heat given all their splashy, in-season additions if the Giants were applying pressure.
On Tuesday, Logan Webb is matched against the Padres’ Blake Snell in the middle-game of the three-game set.