Ken Leighton 2 p.m., March 12
Padres closer Huston Street was perfect. At least, aside from stints on the disabled list, he had performed his assignments flawlessly, and the resulting 23 saves in 23 attempts was the impressive proof.
Another proof is that it is practically impossible to be perfect in baseball - at least for very long - in that Street finally blew a save on Sunday. The San Francisco Giants came from behind in the ninth inning to beat the Padres 7-5 in the last game at Petco Park this season.
With Edinson Volquez on the mound for the Padres hoping to go over .500 in wins and losses for the year, the Giants had other ideas. Gregor Blanco opened the game with a single to right field, and Blanco then stole second base.
Ryan Theriot grounded out to shortstop, moving Blanco to third base. Aubrey Huff followed suit with a ground-out to shortstop, scoring Blanco, and the Giants jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead on the Padres.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Padres rallied with two outs. Everth Cabrera drew a walk from Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum, and Cabrera then stole second and third base. Logan Forsythe then hit a shot to left field for his 6th home run of the season and the Padres took a 2-1 lead.
Volquez then got into some trouble in the top of the fourth inning. Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez opened the inning with back-to-back singles, Belt taking third base.
After Brandon Crawford struck out, Joaquin Arias singled to right field, and Chris Denorfia threw out Belt attempting to score. But Volquez walked Tim Lincecum to load the bases with two outs.
Volquez had a great shot at getting out of the inning unscathed, but he walked Gregor Blanco on four straight pitches to force in Sanchez. Ryan Theriot then grounded back to Volquez who forced Arias at home plate for the final out, but the Giants tied the Padres, 2-2.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Yasmani Grandal unstuck the tie game when he opened the frame by launching a 420-foot blast to right-center field. After four innings, the Padres retook the lead, 3-2. It was the 8th home run of the season for Grandal.
In the top of the fifth inning, Volquez came out and threw one pitch and had to come out of the game because of leg cramps. Brad Boxberger replaced Volquez and got the Giants in order, and Edinson Volquez finished the season with the Padres with a record of 11-11 and a 4.14 ERA.
The Padres added on in the bottom of the fifth inning, thanks to some more downright theft from Everth Cabrera. Everth Cabrera walked with two outs, and then stole second and then third base, and then he scored on a throwing error by Giants catcher Hector Sanchez, and the Padres padded their lead, 4-2.
And then again, in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Padres looked like they were going to run away with the game when Chase Headley opened the frame by smacking the first pitch he saw from Lincecum over the right field wall. It was Headley's 31st home run of the season, and propelled the Padres to a 5-2 advantage.
Sailing along, the Padres employed normally super-effective set-up man Luke Gregerson to hold down the fort in the top of the eighth inning. Gregerson opened the frame by issuing a walk to Aubrey Huff, and Francisco Peguero pinch-ran for Huff.
After Hunter Pence singled to left field, with Peguero taking second base, Padres manager Buddy Black opted to lift Gregerson in favor of lefty Joe Thatcher to face left-handed hitting Brandon Belt. The move to bring in the normally-effective specialist in Thatcher backfired.
After Peguero took third base on a passed ball, Belt singled to right field and Peguero scored with Pence taking second base. Hector Sanchez then singled to center field to load the bases, and Brandon Crawford hit a sacrifice fly to left field, Pence tagging and scoring.
Thatcher was then replaced with Dale Thayer, Thayer striking out Joaquin Arias and Pablo Sandoval to end the inning. The Giants closed the gap to 5-4 in favor the Padres.
The Padres failed to score in the bottom of the eighth inning, and Huston Street came in to close out the game in the top of the ninth. Unfortunately for Huston, it didn't go his way.
With one out, the Giants tied the game 5-5 when former Padre Xavier Nady hit a home run to right field. Francisco Peguero followed with an infield single, and then Hunter Pence hit it out over the center field wall.
The Giants led 7-5, and the Padres had no answer in the bottom of the ninth inning, as Sergio Romo tallied his 13th save for the Giants. Neither starting pitcher figured in the decision, as Shane Loux got his first win to go 1-0 while Huston Street suffered his first loss against two wins.
Little annoying injuries become insignificant to report after 159 games are completed. Most of the nagging pains and so on will likely heal in the off-season. The cramps that Edinson Volquez suffered, for example, will be meaningless in February. Volquez had a fine season, regardless, as going 11-11 on a club that started as poorly as did the Padres can be considered a fine accomplishment.
Monday, the Padres are in Milwaukee to face the Brewers for the last three games that both clubs will play in the 2012 season. The Padres will send Clayton Richard (14-13, 3.91) to face Shaun Marcum (6-4, 3.74) of the Brewers. Game time is at 5:10 PM PDST, radio on XX 1090 AM and televised on Fox Sports San Diego if you can get it. If you can't get Padres broadcasts on your cable provider in 2013, consider moving to an area where Cox Cable is your provider. If you can't afford to move, then look into DirecTV. The eighth-largest city in the United States of America should not have to be subjected to being prohibited from watching the professional baseball team that represents that city.