Rewind: Giants at Padres, Game 2

The Padres pitching staff came into this series as the best in the National League, but the Giant offense has not had a problem against them. And the Giants starters overall have been solid. But even after making a move in the bullpen, those late leads seem doomed more than ever.

Recently called-up Brian Wilson was expected to help fix the San Francisco Giants bullpen.  Instead, he was just the latest example of its failures.

Wilson walked the bases loaded and then gave up one of two 2-RBI singles as the Giants blew another lead against the San Diego Padres, losing 7-4.

Wilson was called up earlier in the day to replace Tim Worrell, after Worrell was placed on the disabled list with a neck problem.  He came in to start the 7th inning after the Giants replaced starter Matt Cain with a pinch hitter in the top half of the inning.  Wilson did get two outs out of the first three batters he faced, but then walked Brian Giles, and didn’t come close to the zone against Josh Bard to load the bases.  He took the count full to Adrian Gonzalez, but Gonzalez fought off a single over the second baseman Kevin Frandsen’s head to turn a 3-2 deficit for the Padres into a 4-3 lead.

Wilson was then finally relieved and Kevin Correia came in.  Correia gave up an infield single to Khalil Greene to load the bases back up, and then pinch hitter Rob Bowen singled two more runs in, giving San Diego a 6-3 lead.

The blown save cost a win for Cain, who pitched very well.  Cain struck out 11 in 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and 4 walks.  Cain ran into some trouble in the 6th, giving up a leadoff walk and then a one out single that had runners on the corners.  Gonzalez grounded softly to second, but Frandsen tried to force a double play and ended up throwing the ball into left and San Diego closed the lead to 3-2, although the run was earned.  Cain came back to strike out Green and Ben Johnson to end the threat and hold the lead.

Walks were a big problem for the Giants today.  The Giants issued 7 free passes to Padres hitters, and 5 of them came around to score, including 3 of the 4 in the 7th inning rally that cost the Giants the game.  This was complicated by a 5th inning warning issued to both benches, after San Diego starter Mike Thompson hit Barry Bonds in the shoulder with a pitch.  The warning meant that the next ball to hit a player for any reason would result in an immediate ejection, and took away the inside part of the plate, which was where home plate umpire Ron Kulpa had established as a big part of the strike zone.

The Giants had taken an early lead thanks to the hitting of rookie catcher Eliezer Alfonzo.  In the 2nd inning, Barry Bonds and Steve Finley took back-to-back walks to open the inning, and after a groundout, Frandsen was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Alfonzo came up, and singled to left center, scoring the first two runs of the game.

Alfonzo also picked up a sacrifice fly in the 8th inning, scoring Lance Niekro after Niekro doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on Frandsen’s groundout.  Alfonzo raised his average to .290 and has 11 RBI in 19 games this season.

The other major source of the offense was once again Pedro Feliz, who went 2 for 5 and had a solo home run in the 5th inning and came inches away from another one in the 9th, where a fantastic play by Mike Cameron in center field took the home run away from him.  The home run, his 12th of the year, was the 2nd in 2 games, and it was the second day he came within feet of hitting another one.  On Friday night, Feliz hit one that hit just several feet too far on the foul side of the Western Metal Supply Building.

The game was a makeup of a rained out game from April 4th, and the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Petco Park in San Diego.

SFDugout Player of the Game: Matt Cain.  Cain struggled at moments, but he made Padres hitters look foolish for most of the day.  Despite only going 6 innings, his 11 strikeout day was his 2nd time in double digits on the year,

Game Notes: Bonds played the day game despite fouling a ball off of his foot late Friday night.  Bonds is not expected to play the nightcap…The doubleheader is the first doubleheader in the history of Petco Park.  The rainout in April was also the first ever such happening in San Diego’s new yard, and adds to the list of ballpark firsts the Giants have been a part of in San Diego since playing the first official game at Petco Park in 2004.

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