Over the past few weeks of rough play, one aspect the SF Giants have been missing from their highly-successful 2021 and hot start to this season has been their propensity for hitting home runs; after launching 34 homers in May and 33 blasts in June, the team as a whole had sent just two balls over the wall in seven July games through Thursday.
Friday they got back on the round-tripper train, hitting two, but it wasn't enough as the San Diego Padres added late insurance to a big first inning to beat the Giants, 6-3.
The Giants, forced by injuries into a bullpen game Friday, sent Sam Long to the mound to start the game - and three batters later saw a scoreboard reading 3-0 in favor of the Padres. Long allowed a single and double to get things started before Manny Machado launched a three-run homer.
Long made it through the second and retired the first batter of the third inning before exiting with 37 pitches thrown. A bullpen combination of Tyler Rogers and Zack Littell held San Diego down until the sixth, when Littell struck out the first two, walked the next pair and allowed a two-out RBI single to Nomar Mazara.
Offensively, the Giants were held off the bases through three innings by Padres left-hander Blake Snell. It was the third-straight game San Francisco was slow getting the bats going, after going hitless into the fifth on Wednesday at Arizona and into the sixth Thursday in San Diego.
Friday night it was Austin Slater singling to right field to break up the no-hitter in the fourth, and that started a promising rally. Wilmer Flores drew a walk, and with one out Darin Ruf did the same to load the bases. Thairo Estrada, just activated from the COVID IL, put the ball in the air but too shallow to score Slater, and a Brandon Crawford strikeout stranded all three runners.
Villar goes yard for first MLB homer
In the fifth the Giants got on the board as rookie David Villar, promoted from Triple-A Sacramento just days earlier for his Major League debut, launched his first big league homer - a solo shot to pull the Giants to a 3-1 deficit.
After their sixth-inning run, San Diego plated another two in the eighth as a leadoff single and wild pitch was followed by three two-out hits.
Brandon Belt pulled the two runs back for San Francisco in the ninth, pinch-hitting for Joey Bart with two out and Crawford on base and blasting his sixth home run of the season, but that was all the Orange and Black were able to score.
The loss, San Francisco's 14th in the last 18 games, drops the team to a .500 record at 41-41; it's their first time at an even total of wins and losses since the fourth game of the season.
The Giants and Padres play the third game of their four-game set Saturday afternoon, and Carlos Rodon will get the ball and try to be the stopper in the current Giants skid.