NBC Sports

What we learned as Giants drop series opener to Padres

NBC Sports
Padres score against Giants

This is a report card series for the Giants, who entered the day with the National League's best record for the first time since 2016. They didn't even come close to failing the first test, but they still didn't have enough for a win. 

The Padres held tough in the late innings, winning 3-2 at Petco Park in a matchup of a preseason favorite and a big early surprise. 

Yu Darvish struck out 12, but the Giants (16-10) did have their chances. They got a leadoff double from Mike Tauchman in the sixth, but Darvish buckled down and struck out Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Alex Dickerson. The Giants loaded the bases in each of the next two innings but scored just one run, and that came on a double play. 

The Giants also potentially lost their shortstop. Brandon Crawford took 96 mph off the calf and had to come out of the game a half-inning later. Manager Gabe Kapler said after the game that Crawford sustained a calf contusion and will be re-evaluated Saturday.

Here are three more things to know ... 

Buster Bash

Posey got the Giants on the board first by lining a slider the other way for a solo homer with two outs in the first. The blast was Posey's sixth of April, giving him a six-homer month for the first time since May of 2017.

In just 58 at-bats, Posey surpassed his home run total in 398 at-bats in 2018. He's one homer away from tying his total from 2019, when he had 405 at-bats. Posey looks like he's easily going to reach double-digits for the first time in four years, and right now he's back to being as good as any catcher in baseball. Only one catcher -- Chicago's Willson Contreras -- has more homers than Posey. 

 

Nearly a Slam

Darin Ruf has gotten a lot of big hits since joining the Giants last season, and he nearly had his biggest one in the top of the seventh. Ruf pinch-hit for Tommy La Stella with the bases loaded, one out and lefty Tim Hill on the mound. Ruf went the opposite way with a fastball and hit it into the seats, but everyone signaled foul except for the first plate umpire. Even Ruf seemed to run the bases reluctantly. 

The Padres quickly challenged and won, but by inches ... 

Instead of having a pinch-hit grand slam and a two-run lead, the Giants were back down by a pair. Ruf struck out and Tauchman did, as well, and the rally was over without any runs coming across. 

Nearly a Gem

Gabe Kapler challenged Logan Webb to go to the next level after his last start, a good one against the Marlins, and he seemed to be doing that for a while. Webb gave up a run on La Stella's misplay in the first, but after that he kept the Padres in check until the bottom of the sixth. With two on and one out, he left a fastball over the heart of the plate and Jurickson Profar redirected it into center to bring both runners home. 

Webb was charged with three earned on seven hits and a walk. He struck out four, including Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado in the first inning. Both went down on nasty changeups. Webb had his best velocity of the year and also his best command. That's a great sign regardless of what the box score said.