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Joe Musgrove bests Carlos Rodón in 2-1 Giants loss

© Darren Yamashita | 2022 May 21

On Friday, the Giants erased a 4-1 deficit early and a 6-4 deficit late, only to fall in extra innings. 

So trailing 2-0 after six innings was familiar territory for the Giants on Saturday. They had three innings to come back. 

Then in the eighth inning, Wilmer Flores took reliever Robert Suarez deep. San Francisco couldn’t touch Padres starter Joe Musgrove, but finally had a chance against San Diego’s bullpen. In one Flores swing, the deficit became one. 

But San Francisco’s comeback effort was too late. The Padres, once again, held the Giants off. There wasn’t enough time for SF as Musgrove, who entered his start with a 2.20 ERA, tossed seven shutout innings. Whenever the Giants threatened to score, he slithered his way out of jams. 

Carlos Rodón bounced back from his worst start of the year in St. Louis, but Musgrove’s brilliance put the Padres over the top and in position to sweep the Giants (22-17). 

Manny Machado lifted the Padres on Friday night with his 10th inning double. The Giants considered intentionally walking him then, Gabe Kapler said postgame, but SF liked the matchup enough with righty Camilo Doval on the bump. 

The National League’s leader in batting average and on-base percentage faced just as tough a heater, albeit from the left side, with Rodón pitching on Saturday. 

Machado’s extra-innings double came when he sat on a Doval slider. This time, in the third inning against Rodón, he pounced on a 99 mph fastball. 

The third baseman’s eighth home run of the season traveled 425 feet and landed over the Giants’ bullpen in center field. It left Machado’s bat at 107.4 mph — representing the hardest hit ball off Rodón of the afternoon. 

But Machado’s smack was an outlier against Rodón. Four walks drove his pitch count up, but Rodón still pitched six strong innings. 

Rodón pumped 75 fastballs, topping out at 99 mph. But he got just nine whiffs on the dominant pitch. He struck out six, and Machado’s home run was one of just five hits he allowed. But SD tagged him for another run in the sixth with a double, single and sacrifice bunt. 

Musgrove was just better. The righty entered Saturday as the NL leader in strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.83). He didn’t improve in that particular category against the Giants, but he still shut down their offense with his six-pitch repertoire. 

San Francisco, behind 2-0, couldn’t capitalize on two base runners in the bottom half of the sixth. Another come-from-behind push would have to start in the seventh. And they’d have to do it with their bullpen, as Rodón (6IP, 2ER, 5H, 6K, 4BB) was spent at 100 pitches.

Jarlin García threw a scoreless seventh, then the Giants gave Musgrove their best shot as his pitch count ran up into the 90s. With two outs and men on first and second, Gabe Kapler pinch-hit Evan Longoria for catcher Michael Paprierski. The catcher had struck out his first two plate appearances in his debut, and there was no margin for another one. 

So Longoria stepped in and got ahead 2-1. Musgrove delivered a slider for his 100th pitch. Longoria took a whack at it, but grounded out quietly to third base. Two more runners stranded by Musgrove, whose afternoon was done. 

SF’s bullpen kept the gap narrow as Dominic Leone struck out the side in the eighth. 

The Giants had no success against Musgrove. Perhaps their luck would change against San Diego’s bullpen? 

Flores rocked an 0-1 Suarez cutter to halve SD’s lead. Then Austin Slater led off the ninth inning with a single, but SF couldn’t advance him. Luis González stepped into the batter’s box representing the game-winning run, but stepped out as the final out. 

 

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