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San Francisco Giants need twelve innings to spoil Padres’ opener

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Justin Maxwell and the San Francisco Giants spoiled the home opener for the San Diego Padres, scoring the only run of the four hour and five minute game, with two outs and a full count in the top of the twelfth inning. With Brandon Crawford on second base via an error, Maxwell singled up the middle and the Giants’ shortstop scampered home from second with what proved to be the winning run.

Tim Hudson (six-and-a-third innings) and six San Francisco relievers pitched twelve innings of shutout ball in front off an enthusiastic crowd, which turned out en masse to see the newly revamped Padres, now 1-3 on the season. Padres starter Ian Kennedy left with one out in the top of the third inning with a hamstring issue.

Odrisamer Despaigne took a page out of Yusmeiro Petit’s book and after coming into the game and walking Nori Aoki on one pitch (he inherited a 3-1 count from Kennedy), he retired all fourteen batters he faced. This was Despaigne’s fourth appearance against the Giants and he has surrendered a total of one run to the Orange and Black.

Joaquin Benoit (1 IP, 4.50 ERA), Craig Kimbrel (1 IP, 0.00 ERA), Dale Thayer (1.0 IP, 0.00 ERA) and Nick Vincent (L, 0-1, 5.40 ERA) finished off for Kennedy and Despaigne. The Padres’ bullpen pitched exactly nine innings of shutout ball, but when it went past that ninth inning, it all fell apart.

Oct 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt throws a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the second inning during game seven of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Affeldt (two-thirds of an inning, 0.00 ERA) took over for Hudson in the seventh, with one out and two on, and induced a double play ball off the bat of pinch-hitter Yangervis Solarte. It was the fourth double play for the Giants, Hudson the beneficiary of all four.

Sergio Romo (1 IP, 0.00 ERA), Jean Machi (two-thirds of one inning, 9.00 ERA), Javier Lopez (two-thirds of an inning, 13.50 ERA), George Kontos (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) and Santiago Casilla (S, 3, 1 IP, 0.00 ERA) finished up a game that lived up to the term “torture.”

Hudson was on tonight, surrendering five hits in all with only one double, while getting fifteen ground-ball outs. He had one strikeout and got three fly balls.

The difference in the game was the ability of the Giants to play through an error, when the Padres could not.

He did walk four and that is something he has got to get a handle on. He allowed nine base runners, and if it weren’t for those four double plays, the result would have been a lot different.

As Mike Krukow quipped after the game, Brandon Crawford had one of the best 0 for 5 games in the history of the universe. He had a glove in on two of those double plays, the one in the fifth inning being one for the ages. It was sort of a reverse from the famous Joe Panik double play from Game 7 of the 2014 World Series. He also scored the game’s only run.

Aug 12, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford (35) prepares for the ball against the Chicago White Sox during the seventh inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Jedd Gyorko hit a smash on the ground that BCraw had to spear to his left, and in the same motion, he glove-tossed the ball perfectly to Panik, who heaved it on to Joaquin Arias at first. It was an play of pure instinct and he made it look easy.

Five of six innings there from the fifth through the tenth, the Padres got their leadoff batter on base. Two of those came in the 9th and the 10th on errors by Casey McGehee, who did not play a good game. He did have a single early in the second inning, but afterwards hit into a double play in the ninth, after Angel Pagan had led off the inning with a triple.

Bruce Bochy ran his season record on Instant Replay calls to 3-0 when the Padres twice asked for a review and were denied. The Giants had six hits to the Padres’ seven, the only Giant with two being Blanco. The Giants had one triple to go with their other five hits; the Padres had one double to go with their other six hits. And it took a single by Maxwell in the twelfth to win it.

It was a game fraught with suspense, as befits a National League game. Stellar pitching and spectacular defense compensated for the lack of offense, and the Giants found a way to get it done. It was exactly the way they are going to have to conduct business all year, if they are to contend for the playoffs.

And make no mistake, the Giants will contend for a playoff spot.

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