Like the start of the 2018 season, the 2019 San Francisco Giants have struggled to score. The similarities start and end there.
Whereas the Giants opened last year with a pair of shutout wins, this year’s team took until its 18th inning to finally plate a run, and though they managed to get the tying run on base, they would come up short for the second straight game, losing 4-1 to the San Diego Padres.
That run finally came on a solo homer by Evan Longoria to start the top of the ninth inning, and rather than wait around, Padres manager Andy Green chose to take out reliever Phil Maton for his closer, Kirby Yates, as the save situation had presented itself.
That decision nearly came back to bite Green, as Yates allowed San Francisco (0-2) to load the bases before getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the game. He got Brandon Crawford to ground out for the first out, but a Joe Panik single and Steven Duggar walk brought the tying run to the plate. Catcher Erik Kratz, making his first start for the Giants, was hit by a pitch, but pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra struck out looking and Brandon Belt watched a high fastball that home plate umpire Lance Barksdale called strike three to end the game.
San Diego (2-0) struck for two runs in the bottom of the second on a Manuel Margot single after Fernando Tatis Jr.’s first career double put two men in scoring position. The inning could have escalated further, but Connor Joe threw Margot out at second when he tried to advance on Austin Hedges’ flyout.
Ian Kinsler led off the third with a solo homer to make it 3-0, and the Padres got their fourth run in the fifth inning on a Franmil Reyes sac fly after Manny Machado’s first hit with the team. Machado went 2-for-4 on the night, singling again in the seventh inning off Mark Melancon.
Derek Holland allowed three runs over four frames and Trevor Gott allowed a run while recording five outs. Rookie Travis Bergen, a Rule 5 pick, made his debut in the sixth, entering with two on and getting Kinsler to ground out to end the frame. Melancon allowed two baserunners in his inning but was bailed out when Hunter Renfroe lined into a double play, and after Sam Dyson took care of the eighth in order, Longoria’s homer and Yates’ lack of command made for an interesting ninth.
That final frame was a stark contrast to the first eight, where the Giants mustered next to nothing against Joey Lucchesi and a pair of relievers. Lucchesi, a Newark native and childhood Oakland A’s fan who takes a great deal of pride in beating the Giants, struck out seven over 5 1/3 shutout frames.
After Yangervis Solarte’s one-out single in the top of the sixth, sabermetric darling Robert Stock finished the inning off and took care of the seventh, and Trey Wingenter worked around Buster Posey’s two-out double to make sure there was no drama in the eighth. The visitors only had two other serious threats to score before Posey’s double, with the first coming in the third inning, where Duggar led off with a double but was thrown at third by Tatis. Kratz walked with two outs in the fifth and Pablo Sandoval, pinch-hitting for Holland, doubled to put two men in scoring position, but Lucchesi struck out Michael Reed to end the inning.