Laura Dvorak 5:47 p.m., Dec. 6
The San Diego Padres are on the wrong side of a streak, which is bound to happen during the course of a season, but what with new ownership on the horizon and little to play for but pride this season, perhaps this streak is coming at the wrong time. The San Francisco Giants held off a late Padres rally to hand San Diego its fifth straight loss on Saturday, beating the Padres 8-7.
It was a battle though, in that unlike the previous four losses the Padres looked like they had some offensive fight in them. And there was plenty of satisfactory actions for fans of both teams.
The scoring began in the second inning. For the Giants, Joaquin Arias took the first pitch he saw from Padres starter Eric Stults into left field for a home run to put the Giants up 1-0.
The Padres answered back in the second inning. Giants starter Barry Zito issued back-to-back walks to Carlos Quentin and Yasmani Grandal, then Jesus Guzman loaded the bases with a sharp single to right field and there was no one out.
Cameron Maybin grounded out, Jesus Guzman out at second base, but Quentin came home to even the score. With Grandal at third and Maybin at first base and only one out, another scoring opportunity was wasted.
Maybin was gunned down trying to steal second base, and then Everth Cabrera struck out. At the end of two innings, the score was tied, 1-1.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Padres looked to blow the game open. Eric Stults singled to center field, and after Chris Denorfia flied out, Logan Forsythe singled to left, moving Stults to second base.
Chase Headley came up and hit his 20th home run of the season, and the Padres looked to be in control. After three innings, the Giants were down 4-1.
The top of the fifth inning made former Padres manager Bruce Bochy look like a genius for the Giants. Bochy pinch hit for starting pitcher Barry Zito, sending Ryan Theriot to the plate.
Theriot opened the inning with a single and Angel Pagan doubled, sending Theriot to third base. Marco Scutaro hit a sacrifice fly, plating Theriot while Pagan tagged and took third base.
Pablo Sandoval reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Pagan, and Buster Posey doubled with Sandoval taking third base.
Hunter Pence hit a sacrifice fly with Sandoval tagging and scoring, and Joaquin Arias singled driving in Posey. The Giants led 5-4 at the half-way point.
With Eric Hacker relieving for the Giants in the bottom of the sixth inning, Carlos Quentin tied the game with his 13th home run of the season. After six innings, the score was once again tied, this time 6-6.
The seventh inning saw the Giants come back yet again. With Brad Brach on in relief for the Padres, Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval had back-to-back singles, with Scutaro taking third base.
Buster Posey then sacrificed, with Scutaro tagging and scoring. Hunter Pence then walked, Sandoval taking second base, and Joaquin Arias hit his third single of the evening, plating Sandoval, and the Giants took a 7-5 lead.
In the top of the ninth inning, the Giants added an insurance run off of Padres reliever Brad Boxberger. Back-to-back doubles by Buster Posey and Hunter Pence made it 8-5 Giants, but the insurance run would prove to be crucial.
The Padres attempted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs and Jeremy Affeldt on the mound for the Giants. Yonder Alonso had a pinch-hit walk and then took second base on defensive indifference. Alexi Amarista singled and plated Alonso.
Amarista then advanced on more indifference, and was promptly singled home by Alexi Amarista, and the Padres were within one run. Former Padre Clay Hensley replaced Affeldt for the Giants, and Mark Kotsay - pinch-hitting for Logan Forsythe - struck out to end the game.
Jose Mijares got the win for the Giants and improved to 3-2, while Brad Brach fell to 1-3 while suffering the loss. The Giants remain a half-game in front of the Dodgers with the victory, while the Padres remain mired in fourth place in the National League West.
On Saturday, the Padres sent Ross Ohlendorf to AAA Tucson and recalled Nick Vincent from the same club. This is Vincent's fourth call-up this season to the big club. Buddy Black said Friday that relief pitching was a concern so far as the guys being over-worked. No word on who replaces Ohlendorf in the rotation, stay tuned,
Sunday, the Padres play the Giants in the finale of the series. San Francisco will send Ryan Vogelsong against Clayton Richard for San Diego. Game time is NOW! (In progress.) Tune in to XX 1090 AM for radio coverage or Fox Sports San Diego. Or else, just take in a game, the humidity seems to be waning, at least a little.