"Sometimes anger is a gift, and maybe we got a little ticked off by getting pounded on by L.A.," Padres second baseman Geoff Blum said after the Padres 5-2 victory over the Giants.
Or maybe it’s a home field advantage that is running through the NL West. After a 4-2 homestand (that included a sweep of the Rockies), the Giants went 2-5 on the road. The Padres went to 4-2 at home while being just 3-5 on the road. Even the hot Dodgers are better at home, going 5-0 at Chavez Ravine (including a sweep of the Padres) and just 6-2 on the road.
Whatever it is, the entire Giant team seemed out of whack. And it started with Jerome Williams, who was making his first start in 9 days after having his last scheduled start skipped with a couple of off days last week. Felipe Alou noticed the problems, too, saying “His arm is sound, but there were some signs of rust.”
Williams went 4 innings, and left a few too many pitches up over the plate, giving up 4 runs on 6 hits and a walk. Most of that happened in the fourth, after Williams gave up a double to Phil Nevin to start the inning, and let him come home on a Ramon Hernandez single. Blum followed that with an RBI double, and then gave up a single to Sean Burroughs that scored Blum. Though Williams escaped the inning without any more damage, it would be he last.
"They hit a couple of flares here and there, and I left a couple of pitches up," said Williams, "and they took advantage of them and hit them."
Hernandez would add a triple to score Ryan Klesko off of Jeff Fassero in the 5th to seal the victory.
Meanwhile, the Giant offense went quietly into the night. Petco Park is a huge field that doesn’t give up many home runs, but that wasn’t the Giants problems. The Giants, who had been leading the NL in batting average as recently as Monday, were only able to score 2 runs on 6 hits against Brian Lawrence.
"If that radar gun was right, Lawrence was throwing an 86-mph fastball and an 82-mph sinker," said Alou. "He baffled our guys with an assortment of soft or whatever. We didn't hit too many balls hard.”
Lawrence also had the Giant hitters swinging wild. Through 30 hitters, Lawrence threw only 98 pitches, average just over 3 pitches per at bat. As one can imagine, Giant hitters earned no walks in the game.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Matt Herges – In a game of downers, Matt Herges’ easy to ignore performance in the 9th gives a lot of encouragement that the guy who was a star setup man in 2003 might be returning to form. He got through the 9th on only 8 pitches, lowering his ERA to 3.68. After giving up 3 runs against the Dodgers in the 2nd game of the season, Herges has pitched 5 innings in 5 appearances, giving up only 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 4 in that stretch.
Game Notes: Felipe Alou noted an advantage for the home team at Petco Park before the game. He complained to the umpires that, in the rain, the Padres were able to keep a tarp on their bullpen mound to keep it dry, since it was in a fenced off area in center field. On the other hand, the Giants could not do the same with their bullpen, since it’s in the field of play (as Giants fans might remember Dustan Mohr injuring himself on it last year). The difference is, on wet days, the Padres can warm their relievers faster. Major League rules prohibit such hometown advantages, and Alou said there had been a complaint filed on his radio show before the game…J.T. Snow missed Tuesday’s game after a mild groin stain on Monday. He’s expected to miss at least another game right now, with Lance Niekro taking his place…Moises Alou appears ready to come off the DL on Friday, when he’s eligible.
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