The Padres defense played as San Francisco’s 26th man in the Giants 4-2 victory Wednesday. The bottom of the fifth and beyond became a comedy of errors that likely left San Diegans everywhere facepalming.
In his sixth big league outing, rookie Shaun Anderson (W, 2-1, 3.97 ERA) served up his third-straight quality start for the Giants (28-38), allowing two runs on four hits over six innings, striking out six Padres (33-35).
San Diego and San Francisco played a little bit of ping-pong with the score through the first four frames, but with San Diego up 2-1 in the fifth, the Friars forgot how to play baseball.
Steven Duggar hit a one-out grounder to Fernando Tatís Jr. prompting the first of three Padres errors over the span of three innings. Tatís Jr. thew into the camera well on the first base side, giving Duggar a free pass to second.
As Solano scurried toward second, Hosmer blocked his path which was initially ruled interference, though the scorekeeper Michael Duca later struck that from the record. Nevertheless the ball ultimately ended up in the same neighborhood of no-mans land as the ball Tatís Jr. winged, allowing Solano a grand total of 180 extra feet.
Solano said he was just glad to contribute and especially glad when the ball blooped in. He said through translator Erwin Higueros:
“The pitcher had been throwing inside in the the first two at-bats so I tried to just make a swing to try to straighten out the ball… it was a blooper and I was happy that it fell in [for] a hit and luckily they made some errors.”
Bochy was happy to see his Giants cashing in on the Padres mistakes:
“We did a little ground attack there. It’s good to take advantage of [the errors] and it’s good get a win for Anderson with the job that he did.”
Duggar would coax yet another error in the seventh on a dribbler to left-handed reliever Robbie Erlin. Erlin airmailed the throw to first and Duggar made his way to second base on the miscue.
Manager Bruce Bochy talked about how Duggar’s fast wheels helped the team on the play:
“For a lefty [pitcher] it’s not an easy play [because] they’re going away from first and having to wheel around. You’re hoping he does wing it away, which he did, so speed does that for you.”
Solano picked up his second hit and second RBI of the evening on a double to knock Duggar in for the 4-2 lead and he said he was happy to be able to contribute to the team’s win. He said through Higueros:
“Today it was my turn to to help the team win and I just hope that tomorrow there’s somebody else that contributes to win and I just hope that we keep winning.”
Before all this, the ballgame started like any other, excepting the fact that Naylor missed out on handing Anderson and the Giants their 27th first-inning homer of the season by mere inches. Instead, the drive was ruled to have clipped the lip of the center field wall without clearing and Naylor was given a double.
Despite a pair of walks Anderson escaped the inning with a clean slate with the help of a smooth 6-4-3 double play turned by Crawford, Solano and Belt on a Franmil Reyes grounder.
Bochy said that without the double play it could have been a very different game:
“It was a huge pitch to get the double play there with the bases loaded. Really that’s the ball game at times early in any game when you’ve got the bases loaded there in the first with one out and you get the double play. That’s a big turning point.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Pillar spent Wednesday night trying to salve the wounds of Giants fans pining for Forever Giant Hunter Pence, who is currently batting .284 with 14 homers for the Texas Rangers after San Francisco opted not to re-sign him after the 2018 season.
In the second, Pillar tracked down a Kinsler fly ball out into the right field corner making a very Pence-like catch. Then, with one out in the home-half of the second, he sent a 2-0 sinker that didn’t sink from Padres starter Joey Lucchesi (L, 5-4, 4.11 ERA) on a 318-foot ride into the ambulance bay in left to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
Anderson made just a handful of mistakes Wednesday, but Giants bats gave him the victory such a quality start deserves. Anderson saved some of the credit for the win for the Oracle Park grounds crew, though. He said:
“Sometimes when the mound is super dry it rips up my feet but today it felt good. When your cleat sticks in and it’s not sliding around it’s always good. That’s the little things that go unnoticed… It had the perfect amount of give, stick and wetness–not too wet, not too dry.”
Closer Will Smith (S, 16, 1-0. 2.03 ERA ) made things about as interesting as he has all season after a Brandon Crawford error, a double and a walk in the ninth put the go-ahead run on first. But ultimately Smith converted the save for his 16th-straight to start the season and give the Giants the two-game series sweep over San Diego.
Anderson said the two wins over the Padres represent a turning point for the Giants and he hopes the team can continue to do what they’ve done recently. He said:
“I think we’re playing really well right now–we’re pitching, we’re hitting the ball. I think we’re putting the pieces together. And I think the momentum we have right now is really good. We’ll take the off day tomorrow, hopefully we can continue going for Friday.”
The Giants will take Thursday off before opening a weekend series with Milwaukee Friday. Drew Pomeranz (1-6, 7.16 ERA) is coming off one of his best outings of the season, limiting the Dodgers to three hits and no runs over five innings, striking out seven June 7. He will face 26-year-old Brewers right-hander Zach Davies (7-0, 2.41 ERA) in the matchup with Milwaukee Friday at Oracle Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Belt reached base for the 16th straight game going 1-for-2 with two walks.