SAN FRANCISCO – For the first time in less than a month, Johnny Cueto took the mound. Fans were excited to see the veteran for the finale in hopes for a sweep on the series. But the San Diego Padres had other plans on this beautiful Mother’s Day afternoon.
Cueto sailed smoothly in the first inning, but got rocked in a four-run second inning. He struggled through three frames in the Giants 11-1 loss to the Padres in their series finale.
“I felt really good, I was a little worried about the injury, but I’m happy everything was fine,” Cueto said through his translator. “It was just a couple of pitches that I left up, especially the slider that I left hanging for [Fernando] Tatis and [Jake] Cronenworth, but there’s plenty of baseball left.”
The loss comes after San Francisco went up 2-0 for the first two games outscoring the Padres 12-5.
Tatis and Cronenworth took Cueto deep in the second inning with a pair of two-run homers. Wil Myers drove in a run in third which eventually knocked Cueto out after the inning. He recorded his shortest outing of the season and his shortest since last July against the San Diego.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler didn’t credit the loss to Cueto coming off of injury.
“I think early on there were some balls that got through and sometimes that can spiral a bit, and there were mistakes as well,” said Kapler. “The stuff was there, so he came back with life on his pitches, bite on his pitches, so no concern there. He looked healthy.”
San Francisco’s lineup struggled to push runners across the plate and get on base. The Padres pitching staff held the Giants to just seven hits while allowing just two walks. San Francisco threw away several opportunities, in the first frame both Mike Yastrzemski and Buster Posey got on base, but Brandon Belt grounded to Cronenworth at second, who turned the double play to end the inning.
Later in the sixth inning, Brandon Crawford struck out swinging with a pair of runners on to end a potential rally. Yastrzemski also struck out swinging with a pair of runners in scoring position in the seventh frame as well.
The Giants did get on the board in the eighth inning when Belt scored on a sacrifice fly by Crawford with one away. Just before Belt’s lone run scored, Evan Longoria hit his 400th career double to left to get Belt to third.
There was one bright spot for the day, San Francisco’s bullpen took over for Cueto in the fourth and the duo of Matt Wisler and Jarlin Garcia cooled off the Padres lineup through the middle innings, giving the Giants a chance to rally back.
“Super promising innings for both of them,” Kapler said. “Wisler’s slider was good, his command was good, he was prepared to go out for a second inning for us, and I think Garcia tired a bit there at the end, but I thought he made enough pitches to keep us where we were.
“Jarlin’s stuff was back. You saw the velocity, saw the zip on the fastball, and there were a couple of moments that we noticed that, but I think that was another kind of silver lining or peripheral benefit from today’s rough game.”
However, even that fell apart in the eighth inning as reliever Jose Alvarez overthrew Wilmer Flores trying to turn a double play, which scored Victor Caratini to extend the Padres lead to 6-0. It all snowballed from there as Trent Grisham hit a two-run triple to make it 8-0 and Eric Hosmer hit an RBI single to score in Grisham to make it 9-0 after the eighth inning.
Infielder Darin Ruf took the mound for his first career Major League appearance in the ninth and allowed a pair of runs.
Despite the loss the Giants still have sole control of first place in the National League West. They now lead by a game and a half with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Padres close behind. They’ll take on the Texas Rangers for a quick two-game series starting Monday night. Lefty Alex Wood (3-0, 1.96 ERA, 22 K) takes the mound for San Francisco.
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