Andrew Cashner pitched eight innings of brilliant ball, and Rene Rivera doubled in two of the Padres’ three runs, as San Diego defeated the San Francisco Giants, 3-2, Saturday night, at PetCo Park. By losing, the Giants missed the opportunity to gain ground on Los Angeles, which had already lost to the Cubs, 8-7.
Cashner allowed only two singles to Buster Posey and a walk to Brandon Crawford until the ninth inning, when Hunter Pence led off with a solo home run. After Joe Panik followed with a single, Bud Black brought Kevin Quackenbush in, and though the Giants scored a second run on Gregor Blanco’s single, the Padres escaped with the win.
No Giant got to second base in the first eight innings and Cashner retired fifteen batters in a row, after Posey’s second single in the fourth inning. Just as Odrisamer Despaigne had done on Friday night, Cashner kept the Giants off the base-paths and made it look pretty easy.
Cashner also provided a good portion of the Padres’ offense, walking in the third, tripling in the fifth, and singling in the sixth. Though his hits did not contribute to the scoring, his walk in the third brought Yangervais Solarte to the plate, and Solarte hit a ball that Joe Panik fielded and threw past Brandon Crawford at second base and into left field.
The error allowed Will Venable, pinch-running for Abraham Almante, to score the first run of the game. Almante, who barely made it to second base, was removed from the game for Venable, suffering from what looked like a possible hamstring issue.
Yusmeiro Petit entered the game with a 62-batter streak in which he had not gone to a three-ball count, and as Andrew Baggarly pointed out, the streak began with an intentional walk, so the streak would have extended even further. The streak ended with the walk to Cashner in the third inning.
Petit pitched five-and-a-third innings, giving up three runs, two of them earned, on four hits, three walks and seven strike outs. He was replaced by Javier Lopez, after Rivera knocked in the two runs in the sixth, making the score 3-0. Lopez got Will Venable to hit a grounder which led to Rivera being thrown out trying to advance to third, and that was it for his appearance.
Juan Gutierrez came in to replace Lopez, and things got a little dicey after he walked Cameron Maybin to get to Cashner, and Cashner hit a single, loading the bases for Solarte. Gutierrez got out of the inning when Solarte hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice and went on to pitch the seventh.
San Francisco, for the second game in a row, was unable nail down a win. Historically, the Padres always play the Giants tough, especially in San Diego, so it does not come as a big surprise. What was surprising is the ease with which they accomplished the feat.
It seems like an odd way to prepare for the biggest series of the season.