Jay Allen Sanford 9:45 p.m., May 19
On Saturday, the San Diego Padres found themselves in the unenviable position of having to watch the Giants celebrate after San Francisco clinched the National League West title when they soundly beat the Padres 8-4. But on Sunday, the Padres extracted a little revenge and set down the Giants to salvage the final game of the series, 6-4, facing a squad of reserves. Even scheduled starter Tim Lincecum was benched as the Giants begin to rest regulars for their attempt at a play-off run.
For San Diego, it closed out a six-game road trip in which they won two games and lost four, not what they had hoped for. The Padres are coming home to open up their last home stand of the season, which will feature the Los Angeles Dodgers for three games and then these same Giants will be in town for three more.
The Padres blew a great chance to score in the first inning, when Everth Cabrera opened the game with a single and then stole his 35th base of the season, snagging second base off of Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit and catcher Eli Whiteside. Logan Forsythe then walked, but Chase Headley struck out and Yasmani Grandal flied out.
Yonder Alonso walked to load the bases after Yusmeiro Petit wild-pitched Cabrera and Forsythe to second and third base respectively, but Will Venable flied out to end the inning. In the top of the second inning, however, the Padres did manage to plate a base runner.
Cameron Maybin opened the frame with a single to right field, but was cut down by Whiteside attempting to steal second base. Alexi Amarista walked, and when Padres starting pitcher Eric Stults attempted to sacrifice Amarista to third base, a throwing error by Ryan Theriot got Amarista all of the way home, and the Padres led 1-0.
The Giants struck back in the bottom of the fourth inning off of Stults. Ryan Theriot opened with as single to right field, and after Jaoquin Arias lined out, former Padre Xavier Nady doubled home Theriot and the Giants were on the board and the score was tied.
Brett Pill then walked, and Francisco Peguero hit an infield single to load the bases. Eli Whiteside hit a sacrifice fly to center field and Nady tagged and scored, and the Giants led 2-1 after four innings.
The Padres went back on top in their half of the fifth inning. With one out, Everth Cabrera beat out an infield single, but got caught attempting to nab second base. Logan Forsythe then singled, followed by a Chase Headley single to right field, putting Forsythe on second base, all with two outs.
Yasmani Grandal singled, plating Forsythe. After five innings, the Padres found themselves in a 2-2 tie with the Giants.
In the seventh inning, ex-Padre Clay Hensley took the hill for San Francisco, and the Padres found a way to get more. Everth Cabrera singled, and Logan Forsythe walked, moving Cabrera to second base.
Chase Headley grounded to first base, moving Cabrera to third and Forsythe to second with one out. After Hensley intentionally walked Yasmani Grandal to load the bases and set up a potential double play, Yonder Alonso foiled that strategy by smacking a single to center field, driving in Cabrera and Forsythe, and the Padres were up 4-2.
The Giants closed the gap in the bottom of the seventh. After back-to-back singles by Francisco Peguero and pinch-hitter Justin Christian had runners on first and second with no one out, Dale Thayer came in the relieve Eric Stults.
Peguero stole third base, and then Emmanuel Burris grounded out which scored Peguero. After seven, the Giants trailed only by a 4-3 margin.
In the eighth inning, the Padres added a couple of more runs. With two outs, Mark Kotsay pinch hit for Dale Thayer and blasted his second pinch-hit home run of the season, this one to center field. Everth Cabrera walked, stole second base, and then swiped third base and came home when Hector Sanchez threw the ball away, and the Padres had a more comfortable 6-3 lead.
That lead lasted into the ninth inning, when Huston Street entered the game to try for his first save after coming off of the disabled list with a sore calf muscle. Street made it an interesting game, obviously not on purpose.
Aubrey Huff, pinch-hitting for Peguero, singled to right field to start the bottom of the inning, and Brandon Crawford pinch-ran for Huff. After Pablo Sandoval (pinch-hitting for Jean Machi) flied out, Street walked pinch-hitter Hunter Pence, and the Giants brought the tying run to the plate in Hector Sanchez.
Street then walked Sanchez to load the bases, and the potential winning run came to the plate in the form of Buster Posey who was pinch-hitting for Gregor Blanco. Posey grounded out to third base, but Crawford scored, cutting the Padres lead to 6-4 with two outs.
But Ryan Theriot flied out to end the game. Eric Stults got the win to improve to 7-3 on the season, while Clay Hensley suffered the loss to go to 4-4. Huston Street got the save, his 22nd of the year.
Catcher Yasmani Grandal was back in the starting lineup on Sunday after being held out on Saturday. Grandal got a ball in the mask on Friday and was lifted from that game and held out a day as a precautionary measure. Huston Street returned for the first time since going onto the disabled list back in early August with the strained left calf. Street appeared a little rusty, giving up a run that broke his 21-inning scoreless streak, which had spanned 22 games.
Everth Cabrera is attempting to give Padres coaches fair warning that he plans on being the opening-day shortstop in 2013. Cabrera went 4-4 at the plate on Sunday with a walk, and had three stolen bases, for 37 total on the season. His .247 batting average seems to be the only thing holding him back at this point.
The Padres have Monday off. You can catch the off-day on Time Warner and AT&T U-verse, where every day is apparently an off-day. The club will be back in action on Tuesday when the Dodgers roll into town, always an interesting crowd at Petco when that happens. Interesting as in nothing like spending millions of dollars to improve a team and they still don't make the playoffs.