SAN DIEGO — Operation Pass The Padres got off to a good start.
The Giants opened their second half with a 5-4 win at Petco Park, snapping a four-game losing streak and getting within four games of the fourth-place Padres in the NL West. Johnny Cueto wasn’t sharp, but the lineup had 14 hits and the bullpen held on.
The Padres loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth but couldn't push the tying run across. Jabari Blash flied out to deep right against Sam Dyson. Perhaps the second half will be better?
Anyway, here are five things to know from Opening Day 2.0:
—- TRADE VALUE UPDATE: Cueto gave up six hits and three earned in four innings and he was pulled after just 82 pitches, which is not totally normal. Cueto’s ERA is at 4.59 with 17 days left until the deadline.
—- Cory Gearrin pitched the sixth and worked around a couple baserunners. He quietly has a 2.08 ERA this season.
—- TRADE VALUE UPDATE: Eduardo Nuñez returned to the lineup and generally looked like his old self. He doubled in the third inning.
—- Buster Posey rocked a baseball into the bushes under the batter’s eye in the seventh inning. It was Posey’s 11th homer of the year. He’s on pace to reach 20 for the third time in his career.
—- Gorkys Hernandez looks like a man who wants to play everyday in the second half. He had a career-high four hits and made a nice running catch in left. Hernandez has just six games with at least three hits in his career, and two of them have come in the last nine days.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Cardinals made four errors Saturday and had trouble with several other balls. The Giants couldn’t take advantage.
Cardinals right fielder Tyler O’Neill hit a walk-off homer off reliever Mark Melancon in the bottom of the 10th at Busch Stadium, handing the Giants a 5-4 loss. They’ve lost three straight after a good start to their final trip.
The Giants had runners on the corners and one out in the top of the 10th, but second baseman Alen Hanson struck out. After an intentional walk of catcher Nick Hundley, Right fielder Austin Slater struck out to end the threat.
—- The Cardinals butchered a couple of bloops in the seventh and the Giants took full advantage. With a runner on first, Hanson and starting catcher Aramís Garcia hit bloops that Cardinals outfielders didn’t handle cleanly. Starter Dereck Rodriguez followed with a single and outfielder Gregor Blanco made it 4-2 when he beat out a double-play ball.
—- Rodriguez was cruising but he walked the lead off batter in the bottom of the seventh and then gave up a two-run shot to catcher Yadier Molina. It was the first non-solo homer allowed by Rodriguez this season. The rookie was charged with four runs in what could have been the final start of his season.
—- Joe Panik isn’t a thumper, but his first career start at first base had plenty of positives. Panik had three hits and looked fine defensively.
—- Garcia bounced back nicely from a four-strikeout night. He had four hits, including a big one in the seventh inning rally.
For the first 519 games of his major league career, Joe Panik has taken the field at second base.
On Saturday in St. Louis, that will all change. Giants manager Bruce Bochy put out his lineup and the Gold Glove second baseman is playing first base.
Even in the minor leagues, Panik only played second base and shortstop.
So who's playing second base for the Giants against the Cardinals? Alen Hanson.
With Brandon Belt, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval done for the season, Bochy has been giving several guys a shot at first base. Austin Slater, Aramis Garcia, Chase d'Arnaud and Ryder Jones have all started at least one game at first base.