BY RYAN LEONG
The Giants second home stand of the season started out well but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, and it ended in disaster.
Wil Myers put the nail in the coffin in the top of the 12th on Sunday with a majestic three-run blast off reliever George Kontos as the Padres took the rubber game of the series from the Giants, 5-2.
April was an ugly first month as the Giants went 9-17. That’s the same mark posted by the 1984 squad after one month. Ironically, their slogan that season was: “Cmon Giants, hang in there.” For the record, that team ended up 66-96. It reminds one of the movie “1984” based on the book by George Orwell about a dystopian society.
“No, April has not been a good month, I don’t know what else to tell you,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We just haven’t played winning baseball. In the early going we did some good things in Arizona, scored runs but couldn’t hold leads. That became a problem, now the offense is sputtering. Luckily it’s April and we have some time to hopefully get this fixed and get going.”
In the top of the ninth, the Giants seemingly had the game in control leading 2-0 with Mark Melancon on the mound. But Melancon would blow his second save of the month. By comparison, Melancon had four blown saves all of last season while pitching for the Washington Nationals.
Padres leadoff batter Luis Sardinas reached base on a fielding error by Eduardo Nunez. After a strikeout, former Giant Hector Sanchez was the pinch-hitter and he crushed a cut fastball that caught too much of the plate and deposited the ball into the right-field arcade section.
Just two outs away from clinching a winning 4-3 seven-game homestand, the contest lingered onto the 12th inning. The Giants only hit from the 9th inning on, was a Buster Posey single.
In the 12th, George Kontos was on the mound for his second inning of work. After a scoreless 11th, Kontos wasn’t able to repeat his success. Kontos gave up singles to Cory Spangenberg and Erick Aybar. Myers, who hit 28 home runs in 2016, hit a three-run homer to the bleachers in left resulting a mass exodus by the fans.
“Our job is to go out there and to put up zeros,” Kontos said. “I wasn’t able to do that today in my second inning and the game was over after that swing. We want to go out there and we want to do the best we can and put up a zero every single time and if it’s a one-run game or a tied game it’s magnified a little bit but my job is to go out there whatever the situation is, and to execute pitches and to get outs and that second inning just didn’t quite go my way.”
Melancon was asked if they weren’t pressing or panicking and he replied, “Well we better start panicking because if we don’t get our act together, it’s going to be ugly. There’s too many good teams out there who are ready to go after us and this energy level needs to get going. We need to pick up our play, throw quality strikes and we need to figure it out.”
Often times when a team is struggling, they like to play on the road to get things sorted out. If that’s what the Giants wanted, they’re about to get their wish as they embark on their longest road trip of the season. They begin a nine-game, 10-day trip beginning with a three-game series in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium followed by a weekend series in Cincinnati before closing it out in the Big Apple against the Mets at Citi Field from May 8-10. It’s the Giants only three-city road trip all year.
NOTES: Hector Sanchez slugged his third career pinch-hit home run and first since June 15, 2014 vs. Colorado (with the Giants). Sanchez’s home run is the Padres’ first pinch-hit home run in the 9th inning or later to tie a game since Adrian Gonzalez on Sept. 16, 2009 vs. Arizona. In 297 plate appearances with the Giants, Sanchez had two home runs at AT&T Park and now has two home runs in just eight plate appearances at AT&T Park in a Padres uniform. … Wil Myers home run in the 12th inning was his first career homer in extra innings.
Ryan Leong is a San Francisco native and covers all Bay Area sports teams as a correspondent for ESPN radio and wire services. He is a former sports anchor for KCBS and has reported on over 3,600 live games since 1998.