San Francisco, CA – The Giants bullpen fell apart in the ninth by surrendering five runs. The Padres headed into the frame down by three runs but completely changed the momentum of the game.
In a bizarre turn of events, San Francisco just made it more difficult for themselves in the race for the pennant.
“Okert just made a mistake there,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “He got two strikes on him, threw it down the middle, and we paid for it.
“It’s a punch in the stomach.”
San Francisco 6-4 loss to San Diego was a tough one tonight. Hunter Strickland replaced Will Smith to start the ninth inning. Derek Norris singled and Strickland struck out the next batter leaving one on. Jon Jay and Luis Sardinas hit back-to-back singles to load the bases. He then issued a free pass to Will Myers and walked in Norris to make it a 4-2 game.
That run knocked the life out of the crowd. Strickland forced Yangervis Solarte to ground out scoring in Jay to cut the lead down to one run game. Steven Okert replaced Strickland and gave up a three-run homer to Ryan Schimpf. The Padres closer Kevin Quackenbush retired Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford to end the game.
“I can’t control where the ball lands,” Strickland said. “The only thing I can control is the walk and not covering first base. That’s on me, not doing my job. It’s terrible. This is as bad as it gets.”
The Giants have blown six of their 10 save opportunities in the month of September and now tied with Miami for the most blown saves in the National League this season at (27). Albert Suarez lasted five frames allowing only one run. Javier Lopez pitched a solid inning while George Kontos gave up two hits but escaped the inning. Smith did his part to keep the 4-1 lead in tact before Strickland took over.
Despite a game of reviews, San Francisco got off to a good start. They tied the game 1-1 in the third when Pence drove in a run with a RBI double. By the bottom of the fifth Angel Pagan hit his 11th home run of the season that matched his career-high for home runs in a season (2010). Crawford’s RBI single extended their lead 3-1.
Gorkys Hernandez went yard in the seventh to make it a 4-1. He went 3-for-4 with a home run and recorded just the third three-hit game of his career and his first as a Giant (others: Sept. 17, 2012 vs. ATL and Oct. 1, 2012 vs. NYM, both with Miami Marlins).
“Up until that inning it couldn’t have gone better,” said Bochy. “We did a lot of good things and just had some tough luck in that ninth inning. We’re pretty well set in the ‘pen, just didn’t work out tonight because of some bad luck.”
Notes – Bochy talked about giving some guys a day to rest while others need it to recover from injuries. Third baseman Eduardo Nunez missed his second straight game with lower back tightness. Ehire Adrianza started in his place. Tomlinson started in place of Joe Panik at second base.
Leadoff man Denard Span, whose in a bad slump (3 for 44, .068), got the day off and Pagan was awarded the leadoff duties giving Hernandez a starting spot in the outfield. The Giants are expected to activate relief pitcher Derek Law tomorrow.