Giants

Giants lose to Padres on Hector Sanchez walk-off home run

Giants lose to Padres on Hector Sanchez walk-off home run

BOX SCORE

SAN DIEGO -- Hector Sanchez hit a two-run homer with one out in the ninth inning and the San Diego Padres beat San Francisco 5-3 on Saturday night to spoil the return of Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.

Bumgarner pitched seven innings in his first start since being injured in a dirt bike accident three months ago. He left with the score tied at 3 after allowing four hits, including home runs by Matt Szczur and Jabari Blash, while striking out five and walking two.

Blash started the winning rally when he singled leading off the ninth against Cory Gearrin (3-3) and advanced on Erick Aybar's sacrifice bunt against Steven Okert. Sanchez then drove a pitch off the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner for the win. It was his fourth. Sanchez started at catcher because Austin Hedges was held out as a precaution after taking a foul ball off his mask on Friday night.

Brandon Maurer (1-4) pitched the ninth for the win.

The Giants lost for the sixth time in eight games. It was San Diego's sixth win in nine games.

Bumgarner was making his first start since April 19 at Kansas City. The next day, he wiped out while riding a dirt bike on a day off in Denver, spraining the AC joint in his left shoulder and suffering bruised ribs.

The lefty retired the first seven batters before Szczur homered to left, his third. Bumgarner walked Carlos Asuaje leading off the fourth and retired the next two batters before Blash drove a two-run shot an estimated 424 feet to straightaway center field for a 3-2 lead. It was his second.

Joe Panik tied it at 3 with a solo shot to right leading off the sixth, his sixth.

Jhoulys Chacin gave up three runs and six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked four.

He labored through a 34-pitch first inning, when he loaded the bases on two walks and a single before allowing a two-run single by Hunter Pence.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: Johnny Cueto was placed on the 10-day DL with blisters on the tips of his right thumb, forefinger and middle finger. Cueto (6-7, 4.59 ERA) left Friday night's game after four innings because of the blisters. He also was affected by blisters on two fingers in May. With Cueto expected to miss at least two starts, Matt Cain moves back into the rotation.

Padres: Hedges was scratched a few hours before the game as a precaution after taking a foul ball off his mask Friday night.

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-10, 4.58 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale. His 10 losses are tied for the most in the NL.

Padres: RHP Trevor Cahill (3-3, 3.38 ERA) is scheduled to make his third start since coming off the DL (strained right shoulder).

Bryce Harper reveals he was choosing between Giants and Phillies

Bryce Harper reveals he was choosing between Giants and Phillies

I was the ring leader of the "Bring Bryce Harper to the Giants" circus during the offseason. I even wrote an embarrassing letter to try and convince him to wear Orange and Black.

I should have had it notarized.

Anyways, we've moved on -- I'm still working through some feelings, but he is now a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. But Harper recently opened up about the final days before he made his decision. And it turns out, the Giants were on his mind more than we realized. 

“I had just met with Larry and Farhan about two days before,” Harper told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal in an interview with FS1. “The Dodgers came in right after them. They were saying, ‘We can go four years,’ that kind of thing. I was like, ‘That’s probably not going to work for me. I want long-term.’ I was very appreciative of the money, but I wanted long-term.

“The next day was Thursday. Scott (Boras) called me at like 9 a.m. I was still sleeping, still laying in bed. He says, ‘Hey, we have an offer from the Phillies. Here’s what they’re willing to do.’ I said, ‘Hey, have you heard back from San Fran?’ He said he hadn’t heard back from them yet. I said, ‘OK, once you hear back from San Fran, let me know.’"

That's when Harper and his wife, Kayla, talked it out a bit. For them, it was about finding a place that was best for their family and where they would be "cared about as individuals and not just Bryce the baseball player."

Understandable. 

“We sat there and talked for a little bit. And I remember standing there, me hugging her and saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to Philly.’ That was before we even heard from San Fran," Harper said. "San Fran called back, offered whatever it was. By that point, it was kind of like, ‘I’m already a Philadelphia Phillie.’ In my heart, I was already a Philadelphia Phillie. It was nothing against San Francisco. They’re a great organization. It’s a great city. It just came down to what I felt. And by that point, it was Philly.”

[RELATED: Bruce Bochy comments on pursuit of Harper]

The Giants offered Harper a 12-year, $310 million contract, but it turns out he had made up his mind by then.

What could have been.

Giants acquire Connor Joe, who has shot at making Opening Day roster

Giants acquire Connor Joe, who has shot at making Opening Day roster

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants swapped out a Rule 5 pick who wasn't going to make the team for one who now very well might. 

Drew Ferguson, an outfielder picked up from the Houston Astros in the Rule 5 Draft, was designated for assignment Thursday to clear a roster spot for Connor Joe, a utility man who was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds. Joe is under the same restrictions, and given that the Giants picked him up one week from Opening Day, there seems a good chance that Farhan Zaidi will try to tuck the former Dodgers prospect onto the roster. 

Joe, 26, has moved all over throughout his minor league career, primarily playing first base, third and the outfield. As a right-handed bat with a .363 career OBP in the minors, he fits a lot of what the Giants are looking for on their bench. That also could lead to some interesting decisions next week. 

The Giants already were trying to decide how to squeeze Yangervis Solarte, Alen Hanson and Pablo Sandoval on the roster, with the latter two looking like tough calls. They also could try to put Joe in the outfield mix, perhaps at the expense of a player like Mac Williamson or Cameron Maybin. 
Joe had a .935 OPS with 17 homers in Double-A and Triple-A for the Dodgers organization last season. He was the sixth player selected in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings, and hit .275 this spring for the Reds. 

[RELATED: Five reasons to be optimistic about the 2019 Giants]

The Giants had hoped Ferguson would fill these holes, but he had a poor spring and was not in position to make the club. The Giants would have had to offer him back to the Astros next week, with very little hope of keeping him in their system. 

To acquire Joe, the Giants traded minor league right-hander Jordan Johnson and cash considerations to the Reds. Johnson had a 4.37 ERA in 86 minor league appearances for the Giants.