Mistake pitches continue to haunt Giants as they drop series at Petco

Mistake pitches continue to haunt Giants as they drop series at Petco

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. 

Giants lineup: Three lefties out against Kershaw


Giants lineup: Three lefties out against Kershaw

With Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers Sunday, Bruce Bochy is resting three left-handed bats...

San Francisco Giants:
1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
2. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
3. Buster Posey (R) 1B
4. Hunter Pence (R) RF
5. Nick Hundley (R) C
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
8. Mac Williamson (R) LF
9. Chris Stratton (R) RHP

Los Angeles Dodgers:
1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Cody Bellinger (L) 1B
4. Curtis Granderson (L) RF
5. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
6. Chase Utley (L) 2B
7. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
8. Joc Pederson (L) LF
9. Clayton Kershaw (L) LHP

Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers


Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — A 2-1 victory Saturday night at Dodger Stadium all but assured that the Giants will not lose 100 games. They still could, sure, because any sort of downslide is possible in this 2017 season, but they would really have to finish with some sort of ugly stretch. 

Still, it’s been a long season, so it was no surprise when Madison Bumgarner admitted to some sleepless nights since Opening Day. As for Saturday night …

“It’s going to be much easier to go to sleep tonight, because we won,” Bumgarner said.

The big lefty did the heavy lifting, throwing 7 2/3 dominant innings and offering one more reminder that his shoulder is 100 percent fine after a season-halting dirt bike accident. Bumgarner topped out at 93.5 mph, and even though Bruce Bochy thought Dodger Stadium might have had a hot gun on this night, the swings told the story of a good fastball. Bumgarner said this was as good as he has felt in a while. 

“He did look strong,” Bochy said. “He did have really good stuff tonight. It was really crisp.”

It was the kind of night that reminds you that, for all their issues, the Giants will start 2018 with a leg up on many others. They have Madison Bumgarner and you don’t, and that should lead to plenty of good over the course of 32 or 33 starts. 

“I think it’s good for the club to know, hey, he’s back,” Bochy said. “This is the kind of ball we can play.”

It was the brand Bochy appreciates: A strong start, a good bullpen, strong defense, and just enough offense. That’s how the Giants will win in 2018, if they are to do so, which bodes well for the man at the center of Saturday’s offense. The Giants plan to move Denard Span to left field and acquire a new center fielder, but they still lack depth in the organization, and Gorkys Hernandez has made it clear he would like to stick around. He had three hits — including two doubles — and a walk, scoring both Giants runs. 

After a slow start that almost got him released, Hernandez took off over the summer, providing a high average and sparkling defense at three spots. A left wrist tendon issue has slowed him in September, but he surprised the staff by being available for the final two weeks of games, and he said he’ll play through the end of the year before considering any rehab options 

“He certainly has made a statement,” Bochy said. “He’s one of our better athletes. He can play anywhere in the outfield, and what’s impressive is how he’s come on with the bat. A kid like this that plays defense the way he can, and shows he can do some things with the bat, he’s in the mix.”

Hernandez said he loves playing in San Francisco. He intends to spend his offseason getting healthy at his home in Scottsdale before competing for an outfield job. 

“Every time Bochy puts me in the lineup I’m trying to show everyone that I can be here and that I can be part of this team for a long time,” he said.