— Ryan Gorcey (@RyanGorcey) September 1, 2019
ORACLE PARK — San Francisco Giants reliever Reyes Moronta lay flat on his back on the Oracle Stadium infield, grasping his elbow in pain with two outs in the sixth inning of Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the San Diego Padres.
It took about half a second for whatever happened inside the 26-year-old’s right arm to register, after he delivered a 98-mph fastball to San Diego shortstop Luis Urias, but when it did, he yelped, and squeezed his eyes closed in pain.
On a night where the Giants lost one of their best young bullpen arms to what manager Bruce Bochy called an accute right shoulder strain, San Francisco failed to back up what was at times a dominant start by 22-year-old Logan Webb. Despite Webb and shortstop Mauricio Dubon showing promise for the future, the Giants’ eight men left on base were a stark reminder of the present.
“They just found a way to score off of our late guys, and we had some pretty good opportunities,” Bochy said. “We just weren’t able to get a hit with runners in scoring position.”
After Dubon got his second big league hit in the second inning of his third straight start — a 93-mph liner back through the box — he turned in a pair of dazzling defensive plays. First, he made a nifty pick on a fourth-inning bouncer coming across second, then showed off his trademark quick transfer and threw a seed across the diamond to nip Josh Naylor at first. Two batters later, Urias sent a shot to the left side, but Dubon was there for the 360-degree glove-and-blind-fire from the grass to get him, too.
“He has a lot of confidence out there, and it’s only going to get better,” Bochy said.
Webb scattered six hits and walking one over 5 2/3 innings, while throwing all his pitches for strikes, changing eye level and working both sides of the plate to strike out seven.
“Boy, he’s got stuff to work with,” Bochy said. “Good secondary pitches, good fastball that he commands as well. And he’s aggressive out there, and he’s not going to back off. So you know, he’s got a great way about him.”
With two outs in the sixth, a double by Naylor and a ringing, game-tying single up the middle by Manuel Margot on a 3-1 fastball chased Webb, who received a standing ovation from the crowd, appreciating his first home start.
“I think growing up as a kid, that’s what it’s like — one day you hope to see that,” Webb said. “That was pretty cool … I was pretty disappointed I couldn’t get out of the inning.”
Moronta — with a 2.86 ERA in his second full big league season — came on to escape the jam, and quickly fell behind Urias 2-0. After delivering his third pitch — a 98-mph fastball that Urias fouled off — Moronta fell from the mound in pain, clutching his right arm. He lay on the turf for several moments, before leaving the field with a trainer. After Moronta was taken from the field, Tyler Rogers walked Urias, but then got Austin Hedges to ground out and strand two, preserving the tie. Moronta will undergo an MRI on Sunday. He had Tommy John surgery in 2013, but the preliminary diagnosis is an accute right shoulder strain, with no elbow involvement.
The Giants stranded five men over the first four innings, and after San Francisco loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, Dubon grounded into an inning-ending double play. That was the club’s last scoring opportunity, as they went 0-for-3 with men in scoring position. Webb, for his part, was frustrated that he popped into an inning-ending 3-4-5 double play trying to get a bunt down in the second with men on first and second.
“Maybe that could have got some more runs if I got it down,” Webb said. “Unfortunately I couldn’t. I was kind of beating myself up about it.”
The Padres pulled ahead in the top of the eighth, when an RBI single to left by Naylor off of Tony Watson cashed in a leadoff triple by Manny Machado. Closer Will Smith gave up a two-run homer to Wil Myers to put the game out of reach in the ninth.
In somewhat more cheerful news for the Giants, starter Johnny Cueto worked six scoreless innings in his final Triple-A tune-up with Sacramento, throwing 75 pitches (52 strikes) and allowing just four hits and no walks, while striking out six. He and third baseman Pablo Sandoval (elbow) will likely be activated on Sunday when the rosters expand.