San Francisco Giants go silently in San Diego; Despaigne stars


Alexi Amarista doubled in two runs in the top of the first inning, Cameron Maybin followed with a two-run single and it was enough as the San Diego Padres went on to stifle the San Francisco Giants, 5-0, Friday night at PetCo Park, under clear skies and a 74 degree temperature. Odrisamer Despaigne started for the Padres and pitched seven innings of shut-out ball, giving up only two hits, both of them to Joe Panik.

Like a fine piano, Despaigne gave up one walk and struck out six, on 88 pitches, retiring the Giants in order, four innings of the seven. His performance was nothing less than superior. He had such a wide array of pitches, that batters seldom saw the same pitch twice in any given at-bat.

Tim Hudson started for the Giants and once again was knocked around, giving up four earned runs on four hits and a walk in the first inning alone, and giving San Francisco little chance for the second consecutive outing. Hudson also struggled last Saturday against L.A, on the way to a 17-0 slaughter.  With the Dodgers having already won at Chicago earlier in the day, the Giants dropped to three-and-a-half games back of Los Angeles in the National League West.

Hudson pitched into the fifth inning, leaving with one out and Yasmani Grandal on second after doubling to center field. He threw 76 pitches  altogether, giving up a total of 5 runs on 7 hits, with 2 walks and 2 K’s. With Hudson struggling, Bruce Bochy is going to have to make some tough decisions, or risk more than he might choose on continuing to start a shaky Tim Hudson.

For the Padres Yangervais Solarte led off the game with a single and after Will Venable popped out to Pablo Sandoval, Jedd Gyorko followed with a base hit to right-center field, sending Solarte to third. Yasmani Grandal drew a walk to load the bases before Seth Smith flied out to shallow right field.

Now with two outs, Alexi Amarista doubled to Angel Pagan in center field, knocking in both Solarte and Gyorko. Cameron Maybin followed with a single up the middle, scoring both Grandal and Amarista. With Jacob Goebbert at the plate, Hudson picked Maybin off, Belt taking the throw and firing it on to Brandon Crawford at second to get Maybin.

The Padres added an unearned run in the third, with Hudson trying to get back on track and give the Giants some innings. Jedd Gyorko led off the inning with a routine grounder to third which Sandoval air-mailed to first base, Brandon Belt never having a chance. After Grandal grounded out to Belt at first, Seth Smith doubled Gyorlo home, giving the Padres their fifth run of the game.

Javier Lopez (1-1, 2.31 ERA), making his 60th appearance of the season, replaced Hudson and struck out both Seth Smith and Alexi Amarista, two lefties, both of them swinging, to end the inning. Coming into the game, Lopez had pitched a total of 35 innings, while giving up 28 hits and holding opponents to a .214 batting average.

Tim Lincecum came into the game in the sixth inning, in the perfect situation against a team he had no-hit earlier this season. The strategy worked as Lincecum took care of matters quickly, striking out Maybin and Goebbert, and getting Despaigne on a dribbler out in front of the plate, that Buster Posey rifled on to first base in time to get the Padres’ pitcher. 

Lincecum went on to pitch the seventh, also retiring the Padres in order on a fly-ball and two infield grounders. Timmy had his sneer back along with his hair, which is starting to inch down his neck. It would be just like Lincecum to resurrect himself once again in the bullpen, now that it is playoff time.

Frank Garces came on in the eighth inning, and retired the Giants in order, after Gregor Blanco led off with a single. R. J. Alvarez came in to pitch the ninth and except for drilling Posey with a fast ball in the elbow, retired the Giants quickly on two K’s and a fly all.

Lance Barksdale, the home plate umpire, was as inconsistent as any I have seen this season. Of course, Barksdale was inconsistent for both teams-that’s not the issue. He called the high strike at the letters, which is already odd, some of the time, but let it slide at others. Call the high strike if you please, but just be consistent.

This was a game that was out of reach after the first inning and could only be described as boring. It’s not the adjective I’d like to be using when discussing the tenth to the last game of the season. This series is supposed to be a tune-up for the showdown in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. 

I hope not.