For the second game in a row, the Giants looked overmatched on both sides of the ball, looking mostly punchless in a 4-1 loss to the San Diego Padres Friday night.
Derek Holland (L, 0-1, 6.75 ERA) lasted only four innings, with manager Bruce Bochy lifting him for pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval with two outs in the fifth. Sandoval doubled — helping catcher Erik Kratz become the first Giant to reach third base this year — but San Francisco failed to plate the run.
Holland left the game having allowed three earned runs on four hits, two walks and a home run. He struck out five.
Holland felt somewhat upset because he couldn’t pitch deeper into the game, but understood the strategy of the decision as an attempt to foster some offense:
“I felt great. Working with Kratz was awesome, I thought we were right on the same page. There was just a couple pitches that got away … you got to give credit to (the Padres).”
The Padres (2-0) got on the board early against Holland, scoring two in the second inning. After a walk to Eric Hosmer, phenom shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. nearly hit his first career home run to the batter’s eye in center field. Instead, it hit off the wall for a ringing double.
Holland felt the pitch was good and praised Tatis for his bat:
“He’s carried himself very well. Give the kid some credit, he came in Opening Day, did his thing. We just got to keep doing what we can to figure him out.”
Center fielder Manuel Margot lined a two-run single to score Hosmer and Tatis to give the Padres a lead they wouldn’t come close to giving up. The Padres tacked on runs in the third and fifth, but the damage was done.
Padres starter Joey Lucchesi (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) carved through the Giants lineup for 5-1/3 innings, striking out seven and allowing only three hits and two walks.
A full seventeen innings into the 2019 season, Evan Longoria scored the team’s first run of the season, depositing a solo home run into the left field bleachers in the ninth inning.
Longoria suggested that finally scoring a run could help hitters relax going forward:
“It’s sad it took us 17 innings to do it, but you know hopefully we can get some life out of that. … Sometimes you just need a little bit of a spark. Putting some pressure on their pitchers, just getting some runners out there. We really haven’t pieced anything together, yet, but we’re two games in, so.”
For much of the game, though, the Giants lineup showed few signs of waking up.
Second baseman Yangervis Solarte, first baseman Buster Posey and center fielder Steven Duggar each scattered hits through the first eight innings. Right fielder Michael Reed and left fielder Connor Joe, both acquired last week by the Giants, combined to go 0-for-6 with five strikeouts.
With the Giants just carrying four outfielders alongside a bevy of left-handed pitchers, Reed and Joe are likely to see a lot more playing time while the President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi takes inventory of his club’s outfield depth. So far, they’ve left something to be desired.
The Padres and Giants both emptied their bullpens, allowing multiple relievers to make their first appearances of the 2019 season. Trevor Gott, Travis Bergen, Mark Melancon and Sam Dyson pitched after Holland left the game while Robert Stock, Trey Wingenter, Phil Maton and Kirby Yates closed the game for the Padres.
The Giants loaded the bases against Yates with one out in the ninth, but couldn’t cash in. Outfielder Gerardo Parra and first baseman Brandon Belt took issue with home plate umpire Lance Barksdale’s strike zone after Barksdale rung them up on borderline pitches in consecutive at-bats to end the game.
Bochy also felt the Giants were robbed of a possible comeback:
“It was a heck of a job on the guys battling back after the first game and eight innings of the second game and then you get the tying run on base. You know, they got the bat taken out of their hands, there’s no question that was the case. It was a tough way to go out tonight.”
Before Evan Longoria’s ninth-inning homer, the Padres set a record for the franchise’s longest start to a season without allowing a run. Longoria snapped that record at 17 innings. … The Giants ensured the team would not get shut out for the season’s first two games for the first time in franchise history. A feeble feat, but a feat nonetheless.