The Giants lost another taut, low-scoring game Sunday afternoon, falling 3-1 to the Padres for their third time in four days to open the season.
The game came down to one at-bat in the seventh inning after a single from Padres catcher Austin Hedges and a double from second baseman Greg Garcia. With the game tied 1-1, the Giants issued an intentional walk to first baseman Eric Hosmer, loading the bases for newly minted Padres third baseman Manny Machado.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy called on Sam Dyson to face Machado and Dyson coaxed a tailor-made double-play ball from Machado on the first pitch. The Giants got the out at second, but Machado beat the throw to first by a hair, allowing the tie-breaking run to score.
For a moment it seemed like the Giants may try to challenge the call, but a look at the replay confirmed the call. The Padres would add another run in the eighth, but it served only as insurance.
Samardzija, making his first start since July 14 last year, worked in and out of trouble and spent a lot of time in the stretch while walking four and allowing three hits. Still, he said he felt good about the way the game went:
“Even with a lack of offspeed pitches today. Good thing we had that sinker today, (it) got me out of a lot of jams. I thought we made some good pitches when we had to so I was proud of that.”
Paddack shoved through the first four innings, racking up six strikeouts and setting the first 13 Giants to face him down in order. It was the first career start for Paddack, arguably the Padres’ top pitching prospect. Bochy said the Giants had their work cut out for them the way Paddack competed against them:
“He’s got a good fastball, changeup, curveball. Good three pitch mix, there. He commands the ball well. It’s a nice debut for that kid. It’s tough when he’s hitting his spots the way he was with the stuff he had today.”
The Padres loaded the bases against Samardzija in the second inning, setting him up to face Paddack in the rookie’s first career at-bat. Paddack lined what looked like a base hit through the Giants’ infield, but right fielder Gerardo Parra made a perfect throw to Brandon Belt at first base for the 9-3 putout to end the threat.
Belt said they communicated the possibility of throwing Paddack out before his at-bat, with both of them pointing at the base:
“I’ve probably been trying to do that for seven, eight years now. When you’ve got someone out there with an arm like that and as accurate as he is and in the right situation, thought it was the right time to go for it.”
Parra’s assist was the 100th of his career and kept the game scoreless.
The Giants broke the tie in the fifth on a Pablo Sandoval double, which he battled for in a 10-pitch battle with Paddack that included seven foul balls. Sandoval’s line drive scored Crawford, who had reached on a single. The two hits were the only ones the Giants would register all game.
The Giants scored a total of five runs in the four-game set, somehow an improvement on the two-runs scored during last year’s opening three-game series. Bochy felt the team pitched well, but never got the bats going. The Padres also pitched well throughout the series, Belt said:
“I don’t know if any of them have stuff that’s going to overwhelm you but they know how to pitch. That’s tougher to gauge when you haven’t seen somebody. They obviously did a great job. Hopefully we can learn from this and learn from facing them this one time and use it going into the next time we face them.”
Padres closer Kirby Yates retired the Giants in order in the ninth inning to earn his third save.
The Giants head to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers. Southpaws Drew Pomeranz and Julio Urias will make their first starts for the Giants and Dodgers, respectively. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
Evan Longoria is expected to start the Giants’ first game in Los Angeles after being removed Saturday night with a sore calf. He also pinch hit in the ninth inning, grounding out to third. … The Giants have now lost three consecutive opening series, including four-game sets this year and in 2017. … The Giants struck out 10 times Sunday against Padres pitchers while Sandoval made two errors. It’s hard to win a lot of games that way.