Through the first four innings, the Giants mounted threat after threat without the big hit coming, 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Through innings five through nine, the Giants followed through on those threats, eventually turning a 6-1 game in the top of the seventh into a 6-6 game entering extras.
The Giants’ resilience cannot be questioned early in the season. They ideally would like the results to match the grit, though, and they would like that extra inning to be less calamitous.
The first look at the new extra-innings rule was a poor one, Tyler Rogers’ 10th inning going as poorly as possible and the Giants’ bats going silent in the bottom in a disappointing 12-7 loss at Oracle Park on Thursday, dropping a heartbreaker, a series and below .500 (3-4).
The 10th was every bit as crushing as the Giants’ comeback was exhilarating. Manny Machado walked before Tommy Pham singled in designated-runner Trent Grisham. After a hit-by-pitch and a pair of singles, Rogers still had not recorded an out in a suddenly 10-6 game.
Gabe Kapler then attempted to pull Rogers for Rico Garcia, but after the Giants already had visited the mound during the at-bat. So by rule, Garcia could not enter, and Rogers had to face Austin Hedges — who bunted, and Tyler Heineman was too slow to tag Greg Garcia at home.
Rico Garcia could then enter. But when all the damage was done, the Padres had scored six times. And as gutsy as the Giants bats were, that would be way too much.
A night after the Giants surged back from a four-run deficit, they turned a 6-1 gap into a 6-6 game entering the 10th. A different night, a different lineup look, the same reflection of a team that in its earliest days will not stop fighting. They will need more than fortitude, though.
Mike Yastrzemski and Donovan Solano, the Giants’ Nos. 1 and 3 hitters against perhaps any pitcher, have looked like two of baseball’s best. Yastrzemski, who went 2-for-4 with a triple, has reached base 10 times in his last 15 plate appearances (with three walks, three singles, two homers, a double and a triple). Solano, meanwhile, went 4-for-5 with three doubles and is tied with Dansby Swanson at nine for most RBIs in the NL.
After failing to convert for so long with runners in scoring position, the Giants plated three in the seventh to begin the run. Solano (him again) hit an RBI double, and they proceeded to load the bases without an out and watch $34 million old pal Drew Pomeranz enter.
Pomeranz went down 2-0, then roared back to strike out Evan Longoria. Pinch-hitting Wilmer Flores managed a sacrifice that scored Alex Dickerson. Pinch-hitting Austin Slater knocked a ground single to left to make it 6-4, but Heineman flew out.
An inning later the Giants kept climbing. Yastrzemski (him again) launched a triple that knocked in Steven Duggar (who legged out an infield single) and made it 6-5. Dickerson struck out against Emilio Pagan, but Solano managed to drive a ball to right for a sacrifice fly to tie it up.
The game had begun like one they would not be proud of, which included a play that Ruben Rivera would be proud of. The Giants loaded the bases with one out in the fifth for Longoria, making his season debut. Padres starter Dinelson Lamet was at 85 pitches entering the at-bat and beginning to show signs of slowing.
This play by the Padres was equal parts incredible and terrible 😳 pic.twitter.com/JgUqfGcNiR
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 31, 2020
Longoria swatted a shot to right-center that looked destined to drive in two. But Grisham, who had a monster series, went into a full-body dive to catch it and send everyone scurrying back to their previous base. Grisham threw in to second too late, Fernando Tatis Jr. then throwing wildly of first, to which Brandon Belt was still hustling back.
The end result: an ordinary sacrifice fly, and the Padres would escape with the lone run scored.
Starter Kevin Gausman was at times overpowering and at too many times hittable. He struck out eight, inducing 14 swinging strikes with his fastball and splitter, but allowed three runs on six hits. His worst inning could have been much worse, allowing a pair of runs on four straight hits that put two runners on without an out. But he struck out Francisco Mejia, Ty France and Wil Myers to keep the Giants in the game.
Caleb Baragar, who was perfect in his MLB debut, watched the game get away, though. Pham launched a double before Jurickson Profar homered in the sixth to widen the gap to 5-1.
It was a gap that would close, but they would not overcome.