The Padres came back to the beat the Giants 5-4 on Saturday night. In a game that featured homeruns from hero of the week Andrew McCutchen and the struggling Evan Longoria, it was a hanging sinkerball from Cory Gearrin in the seventh that ended up deciding this game.
Derek Holland struggled in the first inning, as he has done in each of his starts so far, allowing two runs on a single, a pair of sac flies and a homerun by Christian Villanueva.
He calmed down his second time through the order, but once again struggled in his fifth and final inning, allowing a single, an RBI double and back-to-back walks before being replaced by Reyes Moranta (who we’ll get back to shortly).
But this time, it was okay - because for the first time in his Giants career, the Giants had a lead! In the top of the fourth, Nick Hundley hit a single to center field, which is when Longoria channeled his inner rage at a baseball that he sent flying out into the second level of the left field bleachers to tie the game. This came shortly after Longoria received another error (on top of the one from last night) for bobbling a ball that allowed Hunter Renfroe to reach safely in the third, so it was nice to see him have a bit of redemption.
Brandon Crawford tripled after that with one out and Austin Jackson hit a single through a gap in right field to bring him home, taking a 3-2 lead.
As mentioned above, Holland allowed another run before Moronta relieved him. Moronta entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs. On the first pitch, Chase Headley hit a ground ball up the first base line, where Buster Posey dove for the ball and at this point you need to almost watch it in slow motion. The ball looks like it got past him, but if you look closely, he manages to redirect it to Joe Panik, who was playing behind him and throws it to Moronta as he hustles in to cover first.
Moronta, who had only thrown one pitch, was due up in top of the sixth. With two outs and no one on, we got the single most important tweets of the night from the beat writers.
Reyes Moronta is looking for a bat.— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) April 15, 2018
No batting gloves lets goooooooo pic.twitter.com/KByiSaRTHa— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) April 15, 2018
Moronta, of course, didn’t swing at a gosh darn thing and took his three called-strikes in stride to end the inning. He came back out to start the bottom of the sixth, but after two outs and a walk to A.J. Ellis, he was pulled for Josh Osich. Osich gave up a single to Carlos Asuaje and was out of the game before the radio broadcast even announced he was in the game. Such is life in relief. Cory Gearrin entered and struck out Jose Pirela to end the inning.
Here’s where things get a little interesting.
With one out in the seventh, Panik hit a triple. McCutchen hit a routine sac fly that should have scored Panik, but Renfroe has a good arm, with Villanueva cutting it off and throwing home to Ellis where Panik was called out on the tag. The Giants challenged, and with good reason. It didn’t appear as though Ellis tagged Panik, unfortunately it also didn’t look like Panik touched home plate, and the call on the field - eliminating what would have been the Giants’ fifth run - was upheld.
Gearrin, the birthday boy, came back in to pitch the seventh and it did not go well. Freddy Galvis got a single up the middle and Renfroe homered on a hanging sinker ball to take the lead for the Padres. Gearrin then walked Villanueva and Tony Watson was brought in with no outs. After a bunt single from pinch-hitting Frenchy Cordero, Watson struck out two and Brandon Crawford leapt to catch a line drive from Asuaje to end the inning.
There was a glimmer of hope in the eighth inning, with Evan Longoria hitting a double to left field, but he was ultimately stranded. Pierce Johnson pitched a clean inning, but the Padres closer, Brad Hand, struck out the side in the ninth to end the game.
But it’s not all doom and gloom in Giants land. To steal a little bit of thunder from the Minor Lines, I’ll leave you with this: