Although Madison Bumgarner’s return to the mound brought back memories of better days for the San Francisco Giants, it was an old teammate of Bumgarner’s that sent the fans home on Saturday night in San Diego.
Bumgarner allowed a pair of homers but limited the San Diego Padres to three runs over seven innings. The score remained deadlocked at three until the ninth, but Hector Sanchez, who played for the Giants from 2011 to 2015, delivered a two-run walkoff homer off of Steven Okert to end the game.
In a sense, Saturday’s game was a fitting representation of the 2017 season for the Giants. Bumgarner’s presence on the mound was a refreshing sight, and he gave the bullpen some much-needed rest after Johnny Cueto left friday’s game with blister troubles after four innings, but an offense that could only muster three runs and a leaky bullpen were too much for San Francisco to overcome.
Sanchez’s homer was the his second crucial longball against the Giants in three months. On April 30, he hit a game-tying two-run homer in the ninth inning off Mark Melancon in a game the Giants would ultimately lose in 12 innings. The loss was the exclamation point on a season-opening skid for the Giants, as it dropped them to 9-17.
Sanchez’s homer was also a cruel reminder of the culmination of the 2016 season for the Giants. San Francisco entered the All-Star Break in 2016 with the best record in all of baseball, but a three-game sweep in San Diego to open the second half set the tone for a dismal end to the season.
The Giants have suffered heartbreaking losses in the middle game of the post-Break trip to San Diego in consecutive years. Last year, the Giants took the lead in the tenth inning of the middle game only to lose when Santiago Casilla committed a balk by falling off the mound.
Dating back to that series, the Giants have dropped 13 of 18 meetings against the Padres after winning the first nine meetings of 2016.
Padres manager Andy Green was rewarded on Saturday night for tailoring his lineup to face Bumgarner, as both home runs came from right-handed outfielders who were specifically implemented to counter Bumgarner. Matt Szczur hit a solo shot in the bottom of the third and Jabari Blash hit a two-run homer in the fourth to put the Padres ahead 3-2.
San Francisco jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Hunter Pence’s first-inning single, and Joe Panik tied the game with a sixth-inning homer.
Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin allowed three runs over six innings. Phil Maton, Brad Hand and Brandon Maurer held the Giants scoreless over the final three frames. Both Hand and Maurer are at the center of numerous trade rumors.
Cory Gearrin, who could also be moved at the deadline, was charged with the loss. He surrendered a leadoff single to Blash to open the ninth, and Blash served as the official winning run on Sanchez’s homer.Hector Sanchezjhoulys chacinMadison BumgarnerMajor League BaseballMLBSan Diego PadresSan Francisco Giants