The Giants, so close to the brink of the playoffs, two outs away from being a win away from clinching with two to play, watched their season get tossed into a hurricane named Trent Grisham.
The slugger knocked a three-run shot off Sam Coonrod with one out in the seventh at Oracle Park as the Padres walked off on the Giants’ own field, San Diego winning 6-5 in a makeup game that was supposed to take place at Petco Park and instead was a doubleheader nightcap.
After a few gutsy performances by a bullpen that was running on fumes, Coonrod didn’t have enough while pitching for a fifth time in seven days. The Giants have run out of gas on lap 195, and in doing so could be going home for October.
San Diego just walked it off in San Francisco. pic.twitter.com/CD1wEeWSjj
— KNBR (@KNBR) September 26, 2020
The Giants (29-29) still maintain a lead over the Brewers and Phillies (both 28-30), but were on the verge of putting separation that would make their magic number one. Now, with two games to play, they have no room for error, both Milwaukee and Philadelphia holding tiebreakers.
The game had seemed to swing on Wilmer Flores touching the untouchable, launching a three-run shot to left in the sixth off previously untouched Drew Pomeranz as the Giants went ahead, 5-3, in the second half of a doubleheader after Flores had homered in the Giants’ earlier victory, too.
Flores’ swing briefly revived a team that had been flat-lining. Their only hit entering the frame was an excuse-me double by Brandon Belt down the third-base line in the second against the shift, Belt coming around to score their first run and would seemed would be their only run. Their bats looked hollow against Dinelson Lamet, the Padres star who baffled them through 3 2/3 innings before he walked off with a trainer with a reported elbow injury. That could be a severe blow for a Padres squad that already lost Mike Clevinger, though the Giants had not found salvation against their strong bullpen until Pomeranz.
The Giants, on an Orange Friday, did not look right at home playing on the “road” against any Padres pitching. But the Giants’ exhausted relief unit was stout after a so-so Jeff Samardzija return and before Coonrod’s failure.
Caleb Baragar, pitching for a third straight day and sixth time in 10 days, pitched a scoreless fourth. Jarlin Garcia’s ERA sits at 0.51 after his scoreless fifth, his third appearance in four days. Shaun Anderson and Sam Selman (third straight day of pitching) combined to escape the sixth without damage. Sam Coonrod, pitching for a fifth time in seven days, was still throwing in the upper 90s in recording his fourth save.
Samardzija was finished after three in which he was not as bad as his scoreline but not as good as he wanted to be.
In what likely was his goodbye to an organization with whom he had signed a five-year deal, Samardzija’s stuff was noticeably better than what it had been at the start of the season, when he was bruised in all three outings before he hit the IL with a shoulder impingement.
His fastball was helpfully faster, touching 93.8 mph, and his splitter was back, although only used sparingly. He pitched to contact — he only induced three swings and misses in 46 pitches — but did so successfully for a couple innings, the Giants’ defensive positioning especially sharp.
Unfortunately for the Giants, they could not position an outfielder 458 feet away in the third inning. Fernando Tatis Jr.’s mammoth, majestic moon shot counted for two because there was one man on base, but probably should have counted for more. Samardzija had given another run in the frame on a sharply hit Trent Grisham RBI single, and the Giants’ bullpen taking over from there.
The relievers were gutsy. Mauricio Dubon, Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria have played all 25 innings in two days. Joey Bart caught both ends of the doubleheader.
But they needed more than guts. They needed someone to get outs in the seventh inning.