With everything the Giants have been through, it feels as if they arrived in San Diego a decade ago.
Their bats, too, look worn.
In their first action after what is believed to have been a false positive COVID-19 test from Alex Dickerson that postponed play Friday and Saturday, the Giants returned to play but their offense did not in a 6-0, seven-inning loss to the Padres in the first of a Sunday doubleheader.
The Giants (23-23) have lost the first two games in a series that is a test for the type of competition they would see if they stay in the playoff picture. They entered having won five of six, having beaten up on the Diamondbacks and Mariners, but the Padres (30-17) are more a leap than step up in quality.
San Francisco had scored 62 runs in eight September games, 7.75 per contest, before running into Padres pitching. In two games, they have scored one run.
Mike Clevinger, an ace acquired from the Indians at the trade deadline, was deadly on Giants bats who couldn’t figure out the Padres bullpen Thursday and never even got to that bullpen Sunday. The Giants finished with two hits, and only Alex Dickerson, who singled in the first, reached scoring position (and would be stranded on second).
Donovan Solano, Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria and Justin Smoak — their 3-6 hitters in the order — went a combined 0-for-11, a rally never coming after so many late-inning runs as the Giants have raced into a wild-card seed.
With an offense that does not make a murmur, it did not matter how effective or ineffective Johnny Cueto is. The entertaining righty at least spared the Giants’ bullpen, going 5 1/3 innings against a Padres team that didn’t need the seventh while allowing six runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks.
San Diego got to him for a pair each in the second and third, singles from Greg Garcia and Wil Myers, respectively, driving in the runs. The Padres added on in the sixth, an RBI groundout from Garcia prompting Wandy Peralta to finish the game.
The Giants will not be turning to Kevin Gausman for the second game, the electric righty heading for an MRI on his tight elbow. Instead it will be the less-dependable Logan Webb facing off against Garrett Richards, with the danger of the Giants falling below .500 and dropping a third straight game against a team they might not be able to stack up against.