SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The San Francisco Giants know that in order to have success this season, they’re going to have to endure their share of theatrics. And they won’t always be the ones playing the role of the gun-slinging hero in this 162-game live-action drama.As for the antagonists? It doesn’t get much different than Manny Ramirez and David Eckstein, who each took turns auditioning their villainous trot.
A day after Ramirez hit career homer 548 to beat Sergio Romo, Eckstein hit his 35th major league round tripper to vanquish Jeremy Affeldt (2-2) in the 10th inning, as the Padres handed the Giants a 3-2 loss in San Diego on Monday.
The defeat spoiled another good outing by a starting pitcher, and began what is the Giants first losing streak of 2010.
For Matt Cain, who allowed a pair of runs via sacrifice flies in his six innings of work, the outcome is far too unoriginal and overdone. The noted tough-luck righty got his third straight no-decision in 2010, and hasn’t won at Petco Park since Aug. 17, 2006.
Since then, in seven starts the Padres are hitting just .227 off of Cain. His ERA is 3.24, but he is 0-4 in the most important stat column – wins and losses. Remarkably, six times in his nine career starts at Petco, Cain has pitched six or more innings, allowing two runs or less, and doesn’t have a win to show for it in any of those half dozen outings. Somehow, Cain doesn’t mind.
“I like pitching here. I’m confident,” Cain told reporters. “It’s a great ballpark to pitch in.”
In a frighteningly similar fashion to Sunday’s game against the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, Monday, the Giants hitters were hand cuffed by Padres starter Clayton Richard.
The left hander scattered seven hits, struck out five, walked one, and allowing just one run, which came on a Pablo Sandoval infield single in the fourth. Were it not for Juan Uribe’s ninth-inning home run off San Diego closer Heath Bell that tied the game at 2-2, Cain’s night might have been even worse.
The Giants were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, and have just one hit in their last 16 at bats in those situations, heading back to Sunday.
“It’s two games,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the Bay Area News Group. “We were putting runs on the board until (Sunday). We did what we wanted and created the opportunities.”
The loss sent the Giants to 2-3 against lefties this season, and their offensive woes are perhaps being compounded by some key injuries. Aaron Rowand, who discovered his broken cheek bones will not require surgery, is on the disabled list until May 2, and Mark DeRosa didn’t start for the second straight day due to a strained right hamstring. DeRosa did come up as a pinch hitter in the seventh with two aboard, but struck out.
Additionally, Eugenio Velez – a career .213 hitter from the right side – went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts, and Andres Torres was unable to reignite the success he had against lefties in 2009, going 1-for-4. He also grounded into an inning-ending double play in the fourth with the bases loaded, and his only two hits this year have failed to reach the outfield. Torres is now 2-for-18 on the year, and has started just one less game, five, than has John Bowker, who won a starting job in Spring training.
But, ultimately, it was Affeldt who had to stomach this loss.
“Part of it was I couldn’t locate my curveball,” Affeldt said. “When they don’t have to respect the curveball they can look for the heater, and when you try to throw a heater away and it goes inside, the ball goes where it should have gone (out for a home run). I would have gotten lucky if it had gone foul.”
Re-printed with permission of the author.
Theo is a staff reporter and feature writer for the Marin Independent Journal where he covers local prep and college sports. As an Associate Production Manager for ESPN, he helped produce Sunday Night Baseball among other national ESPN and ABC Sports telecasts. Besides his contributions to Examiner.com, the I.J. and Sports Climax, Theo is the play-by-play voice for Sonoma State University baseball and softball.
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