Before the game, the story was that Madison Bumgarner was making his first start since recovering from an AC joint sprain that he received because he was riding a dirt bike like an idiot. Bumgarner did a fine job, throwing seven innings of typical MadBum ball, giving up three earned runs on four hits and two walks along the way. The real story was behind the plate in white and navy.
Before the game, Padres starting catcher Austin Hedges was a late scratch as the team decided to give him a rest after taking a Brandon Belt foul ball to the noggin. That was probably the prudent move, as it’s a long season, Hedges is a cornerstone player, and you gotta protect that glorious mug. Starting in his place was former Giant Hector Sanchez. While Sanchez knows how to call a game and handle sliders in the dirt, and he probably has some rapport with Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin, he most certainly does not know how to frame a breaking ball near the bottom of the strike zone. In the end, he made up for it, as you’ll see later.
The game got off to a rough start, with Chacin surrendering two runs in a sloppy first inning. The second and third innings were similarly messy, but Chacin managed to post zeroes as he started to become more efficient as he worked deeper into the game. He kept his nose clean until the sixth, when a Joe Panik home run became the third and final run he would give up in his six innings of work. Three earned runs in six innings isn’t bad, but it was an adventure for those who were watching.
Madison Bumgarner cruised through the first two innings, retiring the first six Padres he faced in order. Matt Szczur had decided that enough was enough, and he led off the third inning by giving the Giants an upper decker for the Padres’ first hit of the game:
It's SZCR SZN in San Diego! #HailSzczur pic.twitter.com/YYwca5iKMS— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 16, 2017
In the fourth inning, Carlos Asuaje opened by drawing a walk, and Jabari Blash decided to do what he does best by launching a MadBum hanging slider into the hedges beyond the centerfield wall:
Jabari Blash hammers a two-run shot to center field, giving the Padres a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 4th inning!!! #LetsGoPadres pic.twitter.com/qqbyEdIOZm— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) July 16, 2017
The afforementioned Joe Panik homer in the sixth would tie it up, and the Padres would take that tie into the bottom of the ninth inning. After Jabari Blash hit a well-placed single to open the inning, Hector Sanchez decided that he was tired of all this tie-game BS and he emphatically put an end to this game:
It doesn't seem right to just call this a walk-off. This is a KA-RUSH-off! #PadresWin pic.twitter.com/18LOmApT9E— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 16, 2017
The Padres won, the Giants lost, and Madison Bumgarner had his day ruined. That all adds up to a great day in Padre land. Now the Giants come back to Petco for one more game to close this series, which is now a rubber game between the division rivals. Sunday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:40 with Trevor Cahill facing Ed Rooney lookalike Jeff Samardzjia. There is no better sight than dismayed Giants fans filing out of Petco Park with the sour taste of defeat fresh on their palate.