Play at plate haunts Giants as they fall by a run to Padres

Play at plate haunts Giants as they fall by a run to Padres

SAN DIEGO — Derek Holland currently has a problem with allowing runs in the first inning, and when that was brought up a few minutes after Saturday’s game ended, he smiled.

“I wish I could say what I really want to say,” he said. 

Perhaps that holds true of all the Giants.

They fell 5-4 to the Padres on a night when the visiting dugout was filled with grumbles and sour faces in the late innings. The Giants did not agree with several strike calls as they tried to overcome the one-run deficit — most notably, a strike two call to Hunter Pence that was far outside — but they were also peeved about a play at the plate that was not overturned. 

Joe Panik tripled with one out in the seventh and tagged up when Andrew McCutchen hit a laser to right. Hunter Renfroe’s strong throw was cut off and redirected to the plate, and Panik was ruled out on a bang-bang play. A lengthy review process upheld Rob Drake’s call. Bruce Bochy said Shawon Dunston and Chad Chop, who handle the replay decisions for the Giants, felt Panik was safe. 

“I haven't had a chance to look at it, but they were pretty confident he was safe,” Bochy said. “But it wasn’t overturned. They said he definitely beat the tag. We’ll find out what happened.”

The play was one that always seems to trip up the review system. It was clear pretty early on in the process that whatever was called on the field would stand. Several angles appeared to show A.J. Ellis missing the tag, but there was at least one that showed Panik possibly missing the plate. Panik said that if Ellis tagged him, it was just a grazing swipe. He had not gone back and watched a replay of his slide. 

“It happens,” he said. “It was really quick. You think your foot hits it. The call is the call. It happened quickly. I thought it hit home plate, but I guess it didn’t. I have no idea. I didn't ask for and explanation. With replay, it is what they say.”

Later, Panik added, “It’s not something you can cry about.” The Giants won’t, because they know they gave this game up in other ways, wasting Evan Longoria’s upper deck shot and a similar blast from Andrew McCutchen. 

Holland allowed two runs in the first, settled in, and then got wild in the fifth. The bullpen was mostly strong, but Cory Gearrin got beat in the seventh. Renfroe’s two-run rocket to left gave the Padres a lead that would hold up.

“A couple of pitches in that inning, that was the difference,” Bochy said. “His ball was up more than it normally is. They took advantage.”

Brian Sabean not sure why 'star in the making' Brandon Belt is so polarizing


Brian Sabean not sure why 'star in the making' Brandon Belt is so polarizing

So far this season, Brandon Belt is hitting .304 with six home runs and 12 RBI.

He boasts a .402 on-base percentage.

"We need him. The guy is a star player in the making," Giants executive VP of baseball operations Brian Sabean said on KNBR 680 on Wednesday. "We hope with the strength of a deeper lineup -- which I think in time will prove to be true -- that he's got a lot that can really help this ball club and contribute in a big way."

So why then is Belt so polarizing?

"I'm not sure," Sabean answered. "There are folks that do swing and miss (Belt has struck out 22 times in 20 games). He's kind of a study in contrast. And while I say that, he's probably got one of the best eyes in the big leagues and can work a count, work an at-bat and take a walk with anybody.

"But what I'm seeing this year is that he's getting to more pitches, where in the past he would not put it in play. He's doing that in a big way. There are just some guys for whatever reason don't square up as many balls as you think they would be capable of.

"He's been a work in progress. He's still a young guy and I think that once he finds his power, he'll be a guy that will be very dangerous in anybody's lineup."

Belt was an All-Star in 2016.

The 30-year old is making $16 million this season, and will earn $16 million each year through 2021.

Samardzija, other Giants pitchers need to move on quickly from 15-2 loss

Samardzija, other Giants pitchers need to move on quickly from 15-2 loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ten minutes into his start Wednesday, Jeff Samardzija got a mound visit from manager Bruce Bochy and a member of the training staff. 

His fastball was sitting 89-91 at the time, and given that Samardzija is just two starts removed from a DL stint for a strained pectoral, the concern was understandable. 

"He's fine. We just wanted to check on him at that point," Bochy said. "He said he was fine and as you saw his stuff picked up, which you see sometimes from starting pitchers."

Samardzija did get back to the 93-94 range by the third, which is still a couple ticks from normal for him, but at least isn't concerning. He didn't make it to the fourth, though. A Matt Adams homer put the last three of six runs on his line.

"Just one of those days," Samardzija said. "I've been feeling really good. It just took a little longer today (to get loose). There's really no explanation for it sometimes.

"Obviously it's a little bit of a different script for me right now (coming off the injury). We're going to learn from it and keep getting better and get on to the next one." 

A few Giants need to move on quickly after this one. Josh Osich, coming off a sparkling spring, continued to backslide at the worst possible time. The Giants will need to clear a roster spot for Will Smith next week. Osich was charged with four earned runs. Cory Gearrin walked two of three he faced and cashed in two of Osich's runners. He, too, has fallen down the depth chart a bit.

"They're not on track. O really had some good moments today, lots of swings and misses, but also had trouble getting the ball where he wanted at times," Bochy said. "Cory is battling too much right now instead of going out there and attacking the strike zone. This game is all about confidence and if they get shaken a bit they don't throw the ball with as much conviction."