Chris Shaw might have mixed feelings about Petco Park after his first two games there against the Padres, including Tuesday night’s 5-4 Giants win.
The Giants’ left fielder had three hits in Monday’s game, including a pair of doubles. On Tuesday, Shaw’s defining moment was almost a robbed home run robbery. That is not a typo.
With the Giants leading 3-2 in the fifth, starter Derek Holland (ND, 7-8, 3.57 ERA) allowed a two-run home run to Padres right fielder and general behemoth Franmil Reyes that a fan reeled in just before it may have nestled into Shaw’s glove for the inning’s second out.
Shaw, who told reporters he’s never robbed a home run as a professional, said he thought it was a catchable ball and felt his glove collide with the fan’s hands:
“It’s certainly a ball I thought I had a chance on. Just from my experience being right there and going for that ball, I felt like I definitely was impeded on with him reaching over the field. … I saw a picture and my glove was just completely getting bent forward.”
The fan appeared to heckle Shaw afterward. A replay review subsequently confirmed the homer’s validity and the Padres took a 4-3 lead. Manager Bruce Bochy disagreed with the call:
“I just don’t understand. If that’s not interference, I don’t know what is. The only thing they tell us is ‘it came from New York,’ nobody explaining it. Looked like a definite interference to me, I don’t get it.”
Shaw redeemed both himself and the Giants in the eighth with a bases-loaded, two-run single. Shaw snuck a flare under the glove of his counterpart, Padres left fielder Hunter Renfroe, allowing Nick Hundley to score the tying run. Brandon Crawford, starting from second base, read the ball as a hit the whole way and nearly beat Hundley to the plate to put the Giants ahead for good.
The game’s first half belonged to Hunter Pence. The Giants outfielder drove in three runs, including a double and a 437-foot home run in the second inning that nearly hit the Petco Park scoreboard. It was Pence’s third dinger of the season and first since Aug. 25. Bochy praised Pence’s work ethic despite being a back-up for most of the season:
“Nice game by Hunter. Good for him. He’s got a different role and he just keeps working, keeps himself ready. So it’s good to see him have some success.”
Pence deferred to praising his teammates rather than basking in his two-hit night:
“That’s one of the greatest things about baseball is working together as a team. It takes every single one on the team to play good ball and to have big games. … It was just guys putting the ball in play and good things happening. That’s the joy of this game.”
Pence, and by extension, the Giants, did all his damage against Padres starter Joey Lucchesi (ND, 8-8, 3.74 ERA). Outside of Pence’s damage, the funky lefty struck out eight, kept the Giants fairly quiet for the five innings he pitched and continues to be the Padres most consistent pitcher by far.
In spite of the Reyes home run, Holland generally did what he’s done for most of the season: pitch five or six innings, keep the Giants in the game and give them a chance to win. He allowed four runs for just the second time since June 1. Since then, he’s been one of the team’s best pitchers, owning a 2.60 ERA in 100-1/3 innings across 17 starts and 21 total appearances.
Holland lauded the team playing well behind him even if he had an off night:
“These guys are busting their ass out there. That’s what I like to see. And I know that, more than anything, it comes back on me. I got to do better with the way things were going, I got to execute a little bit better than I did. A few pitches got way. It was a little frustrating but these guys picked me up.”
Hunter Strickland, Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon and Will Smith bent about as far as they could without breaking, allowing seven combined baserunners over the game’s final four innings but ultimately holding the Padres scoreless to seal the win.
The Giants play their final nine innings in San Diego until 2019 aiming for a sweep. Chris Stratton (10-9, 4.66 ERA) will face Robbie Erlin (3-7, 4.27 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
The Giants staved off a guaranteed .500 or worse season for another day. If the Giants lose one more game, the best they can finish is 81-81 and are likely to finish under .500 for the second-straight season. … Pence, when asked post-game if he plans to play in 2019, responded only with “we’ll see.” … Shaw stole his first base as a major-leaguer in the fourth inning after drawing a walk. Pence also stole his fifth of the season in the fourth inning. … The Giants are 10-5 against the Padres this season after Tuesday’s win. A win on Wednesday would give the Giants at least 11 wins in a season against the Padres for the sixth time in the last eight seasons.