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Giants give up late homer and waste encouraging Aaron Sanchez start in loss to Padres


SAN DIEGO — Matt Wisler’s wipeout pitch has been wiping out the wrong team.

The slider specialist signed a one-year deal deal with the Giants after dominating the American League Central with the Twins last year, allowing three earned runs in 25 1/3 innings while striking out 35.

In 1 2/3 innings with San Francisco, he has doubled that and surrendered six earned.

The last two were painful, Wisler entering a tie game in the seventh game and watching Victor Caratini hook his slider down the right-field line, the home run putting the Padres ahead in a 3-1 loss on Tuesday night at Petco Park.

Wisler walked Ha-Seong Kim ahead of the blast and now has two walks to five outs recorded. The Giants (2-3) have not played a home game yet and the season has just creaked open, but the 28-year-old has not made the first impression he wanted to.

The Giants went quietly after digging the hole, the last 13 Giants batters going in order. They finished with three hits and just one walk against the potent combination of Yu Darvish and a terrific San Diego bullpen, including Mark Melancon.

Melancon, the Giants’ old pal, entered in the ninth and struck out Mike Yastrzemski before getting Alex Dickerson and Wilmer Flores to ground out.

There are (very) early concerns offensively. Tommy La Stella was scratched from the lineup with upper back tightness, although he pinch-hit in the eighth (and grounded out). Brandon Belt, who barely had a spring training because of October heel surgery followed by a COVID-19 diagnosis followed by mono, went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and has now been K’d seven straight times.

The Giants’ only run came off Brandon Crawford’s bat in the third inning. Crawford, who has slumped early, rocketed a four-seamer from Darvish 412 feet to right for the home run. It was Crawford’s first of the year and only second hit, and it did not open any floodgates.

Wisler’s and the bats’ struggles wasted one of the more encouraging developments of the early going: a competitive and healthy-looking Aaron Sanchez.

The No. 5 starter, who had not thrown a major league pitch since Aug. 20, 2019, did not have the same velocity he had previous to shoulder surgery, but he got by anyway. He lasted five innings and 74 pitches — showing signs of tiredness by the end, his velocity dipping — but held a solid Padres lineup to one run in five innings on six hits (three infield) and no walks.

Sanchez, who was picked up on a $4 million deal, was a 2016 All-Star before he had a number of injuries, including many battles with blisters. At his height, he was throwing mid-90s fastballs primarily with big-time curveballs and a solid changeup. His two-seamer averaged 91.5 Tuesday, but he had top-notch command and a curveball that could finish batters off. His best he snapped off to Manny Machado, who gave him a look and a nod on his way back to the dugout — those two had plenty of AL East faceoffs.

He was a big bright spot, but the darkness set in late in San Diego.

 

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