SAN DIEGO — It’s a problem that’s been gnawing at Bruce Bochy all year. He wants his guys to pitch, not just throw, and on Sunday, it boiled over.
Jeff Samardzija gave up two three-run homers in a 7-1 loss to the Padres, the second on a 96 mph fastball right across the heart of the plate on an 0-2 pitch. The Giants have given up 27 homers on two-strike pitches this year, including five in 0-2 counts. Many others — like Hector Sanchez’s walk-off Saturday — have come on pitches that caught far too much of the plate with a base open.
“It seems like the more we make an issue out of it, the more mistakes we make,” Bochy said. “We’ve talked about it, we’ve done fines. I don’t know if they’re putting added pressure on or what. It’s got to stop. I don’t know if I need to pitch out 0-2 or what. You have to learn to throw your put away pitches or chase pitches.”
Samardzija paid for two of them. Sanchez crushed a three-run homer on a first-inning pitch at the knees. The one to Spangenberg was put on a tee, and he lined it out for a 7-1 lead that held up. Samardzija said he was trying to elevate to Spangenberg and get a strikeout.
“You get it up another six inches and it’s an out,” he said. “It stayed in the hitting zone and he put a good swing on it.”
Samardzija called the Sanchez homer the difference, and it was. The lineup once again came out flat, scoring just a second-inning run off a Padres team that now has a six-game lead in the race for fourth place. The Giants thought they had grabbed momentum on Friday night. Then they got walked off and blown out.
“Enough is enough,” Bochy said, echoing a common theme of the first half.
Sergio Romo is headed to the American League.
After being designated for assignment on Thursday, the veteran reliever was traded by the Dodgers along with cash considerations to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday evening.
The Dodgers will receive cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Romo's first season with the team he grew up rooting for didn't go as planned. In 30 games, Romo posted a 6.12 ERA.
The Brawley-native was drafted by the Giants in 2005 and spent nine seasons pitching for San Francisco.
In his first at-bat with the Giants organization in nearly three years, Pablo Sandoval singled to left field against Rancho Cucamonga.
Serving as the designated hitter, Sandoval batted right-handed against Rancho Cucamonga left-handed pitcher Caleb Ferguson.
Sandoval's single followed singles by prospects Steven Duggar and Bryan Reynolds.
First baseman Aramis Garcia followed with an RBI single, moving Sandoval to second base. But the next batter, Ryan Howard, hit a line drive to Quakes second baseman Drew Jackson, who stepped on second base to double off Sandoval.
In second at-bat, Sandoval flied out to deep left field for the final out of the bottom of the second inning.
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 4th, Sandoval grounded a ball deep into the hole at shortstop. Omar Estevez made the throw across the diamond for the out, but Sandoval picked up an RBI.
In the bottom of the seventh, Sandoval grounded out to third base for the second out of the inning.
Sandoval got one final at-bat in the bottom of the ninth. After Reynolds drove in Duggar to cut the Quakes' lead to 5-4, Sandoval had a chance to play hero, but he worked a walk. He was lifted for a pinch-runner.
He finished the night 1-for-4 with a single, walk and RBI.
San Jose went on to lose 5-4 to Rancho Cucamonga.
Sandoval signed a minor league deal with the Giants on Saturday. He will stay with Single-A San Jose until Triple-A Sacramento returns home from Tacoma.