Morning After: Padres inadvertently fire up Giants shortstop

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Morning After: Padres inadvertently fire up Giants shortstop

SAN DIEGO -- Long before the first pitch Tuesday, or the first hit, or Madison Bumgarner vs. Wil Myers, the Padres tried to gain an edge in a peculiar way. As the Giants took the field for BP, the Petco Park in-stadium employees played a collection of soft songs, from Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are" to "At Last" by Etta James. The DJ then shifted to songs more appropriate for middle-school dances in the 90s than a ballpark in 2016.

The soundtrack peaked when "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" by the Backstreet Boys blasted through Petco Park. Not exactly hitting music -- unless you're the Giants.

"They thought they were putting us to sleep," shortstop Brandon Crawford said. "They were locking me in."

While the Padres hired a DJ to set up his laptop on the field during BP, the Giants this season simply turned the job over to their shortstop/clubhouse DJ. Crawford's "sneaky awesome" BP soundtrack includes NSYNC, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and yes, those Backstreet Boys. A run of cheesy pop songs during BP was not going to throw him off his game. It only helped.

Crawford hit a three-run homer, drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and tacked on a fifth Giants run with an RBI double. He finished one RBI short of his career-high. Later, he talked about how much he enjoyed the music the Padres played as he took his cuts two hours before the game.

"They were locking me in and they didn't know it," he said, smiling. 

You can scour the world in search of talent that can help you win games, and A.J. Preller's Padres have. But sometimes all you need to do for an edge is a little research. Read a blog post, maybe listen to a podcast where a certain shortstop talks about how much his team loves hitting to certain songs.

The Padres might lull some teams to sleep with Backstreet Boys during BP. The Giants in the DJ Crawford Era are not one of those teams. 

--- Crawford said he doesn't always have the green light 3-0, but he did when he homered. Andrew Baggarly looked it up and Crawford has five 3-0 swings in his career, leading to three homers and a double. Crawford remembered the lone out. "Cueto ... I flew out to left," he said. 

--- The other Brandon reached base for the 24th consecutive game. That's tied for the longest streak of his career. Belt is hitting .400 in his last 21 games against the Padres.

--- Madison Bumgarner pitched a complete game and got into it with another hitter. In the game story, a look at how the fire that led to that Wil Myers altercation is also leading Bumgarner to search for perfection with his mechanics. 

--- From yesterday, the Giants will be rooting for Tim Lincecum when he joins the Angels. 

Giants continue embarrassing stretch against rebuilding Padres

Giants continue embarrassing stretch against rebuilding Padres

SAN FRANCISCO — Three years ago, the Giants and Padres were the two teams in it until the very end for Pablo Sandoval’s services. He ended up in Boston, and when he became available again over the past week, the Padres politely backed away. 

They prefer youth and Rule 5 Draft picks. They came into this season knowing they might lose 100 games, and they didn’t mind. If anything, they welcomed the increased shot at the top pick in the 2018 draft. They’re here to tank, but the Giants (who expect to welcome Sandoval back on a minor league deal as soon as Friday) just won’t let them. 

Thursday’s 5-2 loss to San Diego was like so many others over the past calendar year. The Giants didn’t hit, they didn’t come through in the clutch, they did not support their starting pitcher, and they did not guarantee a handshake line. 

The Giants have lost 15 of 20 to the Padres since last year’s All-Star break, including three straight last July to kickstart a tailspin that has lasted over a year now. They have dropped four of five meetings in this second half, which was supposed to prove that a Padre-like rebuild is not needed up here in the Bay Area. They are five games behind the Padres in the race to finish a distant fourth in the National League, and in a season full of disappointment, that stands as one of the more embarrassing facts. 

Not even Madison Bumgarner’s return to AT&T Park could turn the tide. The lefty looked good most of the night, but two homers left him with a rougher-than-hoped line. Bumgarner gave up four earned on two homers. He has allowed multiple homers in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Both starts have come against the Padres. 

“I’ve got to stop giving up homers,” Bumgarner said of his start. “That’s not going to work.”

Bumgarner said he felt fine physically, and his curveball — the pitch that has backfired on him most often since his return — feels right mechanically. He was facing his last batter in the seventh as George Kontos warmed up with a runner on. Corey Spangenberg hit a two-run shot to the deepest part of the yard to make it 4-2. 

Buster Posey flied out with the bases loaded in the eighth. The Giants brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth but couldn’t score, which has been the norm against the Padres. The Giants are averaging just 3.2 runs per game during this 20-game stretch of futility against a team they once dominated. 

“We need to win ballgames right now,” Bumgarner said. “We’ve got to start doing that. There’s no magic solution. We’ve got to start playing better, all of us.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as homers hurt Bumgarner vs Padres

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as homers hurt Bumgarner vs Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — A day after he did his press conference from a “Game of Thrones” throne, manager Bruce Bochy said he was happy the Giants won their series finale against the Indians and kept that plan in play. In that respect, he’s lucky his team wasn’t facing the Padres on Wednesday. 

The Giants were on Thursday, however, and they continued their baffling stretch of ineptitude against what is supposed to be the worst team in the National League West. The 5-2 loss to San Diego was the 15th in the last 20 meetings between the two teams, one of which has a $200 million payroll and the other of which is actively tanking. 

The Giants had a shot at a comeback in the eighth, but Buster Posey flied out to right with two outs and the bases loaded. Here are five things to know, if you are the curious type: 

—- Madison Bumgarner has faced the Padres twice since returning. In 13 1/3 innings, he has allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs. He is getting hurt by a familiar problem for the 2017 Giants: The Padres have four homers off Bumgarner in those two starts. Hunter Renfroe and Cory Spangenberg took him deep Thursday, with Spangenberg hitting one out to the deepest part of the yard on Bumgarner’s final pitch. 

—- This is the first time in Bumgarner’s career that he has allowed multiple homers in back-to-back starts. 

—- Kyle Crick showed good stuff — sitting 96-97 — while stranding a runner on second in the eighth. He followed that with a scoreless ninth. The Giants should make it a priority to throw him into some deeper water over the next two months. 

—- There’s an epidemic these days of outfielders making foolish throws to the plate. We see it just about every night, and it cost the Padres in the sixth. Gorkys Hernandez was on second and he took off right away on Denard Span’s single to right. Renfroe had no play at the plate but he threw it anyway and Span took second. He scored when Eduardo Nuñez singled to left. 

—- The Giants announced their second consecutive sellout. That’s a streak. Maybe?