After looking lost at the plate for two days, the Giants scratched and clawed their way to their first win of 2019, beating the San Diego Padres 3-2 at Petco Park Saturday night.
Starting pitcher Dereck Rodriguez (W, 1-0, 3.60 ERA) and counterpart Nick Margevicius (L, 0-1, 1.80 ERA) traded zeroes for the game’s first half, quickly working through each team’s lineup. Rodriguez, making his first start of the season, battled through five innings with diminished fastball velocity, sitting 90-92 mph. He finished with two strikeouts and two earned runs allowed on four hits.
Rodriguez said he felt fine and he was happy and anxious to get the first start of the year out of the way:
“I’m just happy everything felt good and everything went well. … I had fun out there, it was a fun crowd and I had a blast.”
Margevicius, making his major league debut, blinked first allowing a leadoff single to Giants center fielder Steven Duggar in the sixth inning.
The Padres went to reliever Robert Stock, who promptly allowed an RBI-double, an RBI-single and a walk, handing the Giants their first lead of the season. It was also the first time the Giants have scored two runs since the regular season began Thursday afternoon.
San Francisco scored a third run in the inning on a Joe Panik single, giving Rodriguez and the bullpen some breathing room. Giants manager Bruce Bochy praised the team’s at-bats, especially those by the Giants left-handers against the Padres’ southpaws. Five of the Giants nine hits came in lefty-lefty match-ups:
“You look at (Gerardo) Parra … Panik, that’s a huge hit, two-strike big hit there for us. (Brandon) Crawford had a nice double. Duggar, of course. I mean, those guys are going to be in there against lefties. … They’ve shown that they can do it and there’s no reason why they’re not going to have a nice year against them this year.”
Rodriguez and the bullpen immediately used up said breathing room, allowing two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Rodriguez served up a double and a single to begin the inning, giving way to lefty Travis Bergen. Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer subsequently roped a two-run double, pulling the Padres to within one run with none out in the inning.
Bochy lifted Bergen for Reyes Moronta, who struck out the side and looked like the team’s best reliever in the process. Bochy said Moronta won the game for the Giants:
“What a game-saving effort. Put him in a tough situation there, man on second with nobody out and who he had to face (shortstop Manny Machado). That’s two great innings.”
Moronta would finish the night with five strikeouts in two innings, allowing only one hit. Moronta, via Giants translator Erwin Higueros, said he was unfazed by the situation and a revamped Padres lineup:
“I don’t think about the batter. My main concern is just go up there, do my job, concentrate on throwing strikes and really not worry about the situation.”
Southpaws Tony Watson and Will Smith pitched the game’s final two innings, both making their first appearances of the year. Smith notched his first save of the season, retiring Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., pinch-hitter Franmil Reyes and catcher Francisco Mejia in order.
The Giants end their season-opening four-game set with the Padres Sunday afternoon, sending Jeff Samardzija to the hill. Chris Paddack, the Padres’ fifth-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is set to make his major league debut. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m.
Giants third baseman Evan Longoria left the game halfway through the sixth inning after fouling a ball off his calf, but Bochy said it was only precautionary and he’ll get a day off tomorrow. … Reyes Moronta‘s five strikeouts were a career-high. … Nick Margevicius hit Duggar to lead off the game, grazing his nose with an errant fastball. Duggar was a little shaken up, but stayed in the game and finished 2-4 with a stolen base.