Spander: Giants find positives in gloomy result 

click to enlarge Rookie Chris Heston was touched up for five runs on 11 hits and three walks in the Giants' 9-1 loss to the San Diego Padres Wednesday afternoon. - ERIC RISBERG/AP
  • Eric Risberg/AP
  • Rookie Chris Heston was touched up for five runs on 11 hits and three walks in the Giants' 9-1 loss to the San Diego Padres Wednesday afternoon.
Looking for positives? Well, Wednesday was the 84th birthday of Willie Mays. He didn’t appear at AT&T Park, however. Neither did the Giants’ fine pitching.

“It was an off day for us,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

More like off the charts, but after three straight shutouts, the delicate balance that is baseball was restored. Sooner or later, the other team will score. On what could have been a beautiful afternoon at the ballpark, the San Diego Padres scored. And scored. And scored. Finally.

“It’s not fun to get whacked,” Bochy said. And losing 9-1, while giving up 16 hits, is getting whacked. San Diego left 14 men on base, or the day might have been even worse.

You still looking for positives? Of course, that’s the baseball way. All right. Matt Duffy, again starting at third base in place of Casey McGehee, had two hits and scored the Giants’ only run.

“The kid’s doing well,” Bochy said about the 24-year-old Duffy. “Nice to see people step in and take advantage. A nice piece of two-strike hitting on both those. He’s a tough out.”

McGehee, who has been an easy out this season — he was hitting .178 — has been a spectator for consecutive games, trying to figure out what he’s doing wrong, or more specifically, what he’s not doing correctly.

Duffy, normally a second baseman, said he had a tough time at third but was helped by lessons from coach Ron Wotus. Duffy certainly didn’t have a difficult time in the batter’s box.

Neither did Brandon Belt, with a double and a triple that, if the right-field bricks weren’t almost as far from home plate as the San Mateo Bridge — yes, an exaggeration in that it’s only 421 miles, uh, feet, to the deepest corner — would have been home runs.

“A good day for Brandon,” said Bochy. “Gave Buster [Posey] a day off, and Brandon was batting cleanup in his place.”

The Giants had won five in a row. They had allowed only four runs the previous four games. They had allowed no runs and four hits or fewer in the previous three. On Wednesday, the Padres got six hits and five runs just in the third inning.

Rookie Chris Heston was the Giants starter and, in this situation, the guilty party. He was 2-2 with a 2.51 earned run average before this one. Now he’s 2-3 with a 3.38 ERA. Bochy was pleased the way the 27-year-old battled, staying five innings. If you can’t beat them, at least keep the bullpen inactive for a while.

“They were hitting the ball the other way really hard,” conceded Heston. “I need to command the inside part of the plate a little better to combat what they’re doing.”

What they were doing was crowding the plate and hitting the ball every way for extra bases ­— four doubles and a triple but no home runs, if that’s any consolation.

The Miami Marlins come in Thursday for four games.

“We had been playing well,” Bochy said. “You’re going to have games like this. Now we’ve got to get back to our style of game.”

After a bad game, that would be a good idea.

About The Author

Art Spander

Art Spander

Bio:
Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.bleacherreport.com. Email him at typoes@aol.com.
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