A passable start by Jeff Samardzija was certainly an encouraging sign for the San Francisco Giants after the right-hander’s travesty of a 2018 season, but a two-hit performance left the orange and black with their third loss in four games as they fell 3-1 to the San Diego Padres.
The five runs the Giants scored across the opening weekend of the 2019 season were tied for the lowest output in all of baseball, and the only other team to score just five, the Cincinnati Reds, did so in just two games.
Chris Paddack, ranked by MLB.com as the 33rd-best prospect in all of baseball, retired the first 10 batters he faced in his debut and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth on Brandon Crawford’s one-out single. Crawford would score on a two-out double by Pablo Sandoval, the only other hit for San Francisco (1-3). The Giants would draw a pair of walks on the day, but both of those runners were thrown out on the basepaths by Padres catcher Austin Hedges.
Though Sandoval had the lone RBI for the visitors, he also had a pair of errors that led to runs. After snaring a Greg Garcia liner for the second out of the fifth inning, his attempt to gun down Franchy Cordero at first base was wild, and the 90 feet that Cordero got on the errant throw proved to be huge as Eric Hosmer singled him in.
The Giants made three errors on the afternoon, with the other coming when backup catcher Erik Kratz dropped a pop-up in foul territory, but there were a few key positive defensive plays that kept the game close. Paddack appeared to have his first career hit and RBI with a liner to right in the third, but Gerardo Parra picked it up on one hop and gunned the rookie down at first to end the inning and bail Samardzija out of a bases-loaded jam. It was Parra’s 100th career outfield assist, and the 101st would come in the very next inning as Wil Myers was victimized for a baserunning gaffe.
Those mistakes on the basepaths wouldn’t loom too large for San Diego (3-1), as Paddack and three relievers combined to strike out 10, with the rookie fanning seven over his five innings of work. Former Padres reliever Nick Vincent was charged the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single to Hedges and Garcia double. After intentionally walking Eric Hosmer to load the bases, Sam Dyson came on to face Manny Machado and got the ground ball he had hoped for, but Machado beat the throw to first to avoid an inning-ending double play and allow Hedges to score. Another run scored on Dyson after Craig Stammen pitched a quick top of the eighth, with Sandoval’s defense at third base getting put in the spotlight. Myers bunted for a hit on Sandoval, and a throwing error by the portly veteran on a Fernando Tatis Jr. grounder put two on with no outs. Myers advanced to third on Manuel Margot’s force out, and Hedges dropped an RBI single in front of Yangervis Solarte in left field for a two-run lead.
Like Paddack, Samardzija went five innings, and though he allowed just the one unearned run, he had to labor through his time on the mound, walking four and throwing just 47 of his 86 pitches for strikes. Adam Warren got the win after pitching both the sixth and seventh in relief, and Kirby Yates pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.
The Giants will next head to Los Angeles for a three-game series against a Dodgers team that put up 42 runs in its first four games, taking three of those from the Arizona Diamondbacks.