SAN DIEGO — Just seven starts removed from his first no-hitter, it looked like San Francisco Giants rookie Chris Heston might do it again.
Manager Bruce Bochy certainly thought so, and was wondering how it would play out since Heston’s pitch count was climbing.
Heston took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Melvin Upton Jr. hit a broken-bat blooper for a single over the outstretched glove of second baseman Joe Panik leading off the inning. Hector Sanchez hit an impressive grand slam for one of three Giants home runs in a 9-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
Heston (10-5), who no-hit the New York Metson June 9, allowed one hit and faced just two over the minimum in 7 1/3 innings. He received a standing ovation from the many Giants fans in the stands above the third-base dugout when he was pulled by Bochy after issuing a one-out walk in the seventh. He struck out six and walked two.
“It creeps in your mind but you try not to think about that stuff because quicker than not you’re probably going to eventually give up a hit,” Heston said.
“When you give up a hit in the sixth or seventh it’s definitely disappointing but you just try to shake it off and try to get the next guy out,” he said.
Heston, who threw 116 pitches, and two relievers combined on a four-hitter. The Padres scored three unearned runs in the ninth.
Bochy said he was aware Heston had a no-hitter going.
“You can’t help but do it. It wasn’t that long ago he threw one,” Bochy said. “Broken-bat single there broke it up. Probably saved me because his pitch count was going to get up there and I’ve been in that boat before here.”
In 2013, Bochy let Tim Lincecum throw 148 pitches in a no-hitter at San Diego. Lincecum also no-hit the Padres last year, in San Francisco.
Otherwise, Heston shut down the Padres, ending their season-high, five-game winning streak under interim manager Pat Murphy. The 27-year-old right-hander didn’t allow a baserunner until he hit Matt Kemp with a pitch with two outs in the fourth. The pitch hit Kemp on the left arm and caromed off his right shoulder, knocking him to the ground. Kemp, who came in with a season-high, eight-game hitting streak, left the game after flying out in the seventh.
“He was on it,” Murphy said. “He made some great pitches, quality pitches. He took enough off his breaking ball that he was awfully good.”
Sanchez’s bat flip after his moonshot grand slam in the sixth angered the Padres. After Sanchez grounded out in the ninth, Padres pitcher Shawn Kelley said something to him as he headed back to the dugout and both benches and bullpens cleared. The umps and Bochy restored order.
Sanchez’s grand slam gave San Francisco a 9-0 lead.
“I just tried to enjoy it. It’s a grand slam. You don’t see it every day,” Sanchez said. “I just enjoyed the moment.”
Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne allowed Hunter Pence’s infield single leading off the sixth and made way for Dale Thayer. Thayer struck out Brandon Belt before allowing a single to Brandon Crawford and a walk to Gregor Blanco before Sanchez drove a 93-mph fastball an estimated 428 feet into the seats. It was his second career slam and the sixth by the Giants this season.
Pence hit a 434-foot home run that almost landed in the Giants’ bullpen beyond the fence in left-center leading off the second. It was his fifth. Another run scored on a double play.
Crawford gave the Giants a 5-0 lead when he hit a three-run homer into the Jack Daniel’s party deck atop the right field wall with one out in the fourth. It was his 13th.
Despaigne (3-7) allowed six runs and seven hits in five-plus innings, struck out one and walked two.
“He didn’t seem like he was focused from jump street,” Murphy said. “It just didn’t seem like he was hitting his spots. I was disappointed he didn’t have better command.”
Bochy said reliever Jeremy Affeldt, on the DL with a strained left shoulder, threw another bullpen session and could be activated this weekend. Bochy didn’t have an update on Lincecum, who had cortisone shots in both hips on Monday for a degenerative condition. Bochy said Lincecum, who’s also on the DL, will try and throw in four days.