It was all set up to be a day of celebration for San Francisco Giants, they were playing at home on July 4th, they had their ace on the mound, and the sellout crowd at AT&T Park was ready to cheer their home town heroes onto victory over the fourth place Padres, but as they say that is why they play the games. San Diego who came into the game a full 10 games behind San Francisco, had an Independence Day celebration of their own in store for the first place Giants as they beat San Francisco 5-3.
Tim Lincecum has had an up and down year for San Francisco and San Diego wasted no time letting the Giants ace know that it was going to a long day for the right hander. San Diego scored two first inning runs, which was good to see the Padres get off to a fast start to give the team some offensive confidence, after losing a weekend series to Seattle where they scored a total of two runs in three games. Chase Headley’s sacrifice fly allowed Will Venable to score to make it 1-0 San Diego. Still in the first Orlando Hudson’s single to right drove in Jason Bartlett and San Diego led 2-0.
There was no more scoring until the 5th inning when Ryan Ludwick’s single drove in Jason Bartlett and San Diego increase their lead to 3-0. Much to the dismay of the crowd at AT&T Park, Bartlett scored his second run of the game. At that point Giants manager Bruce Bochy had seen enough and gave Lincecum the rest of the day off – making it Lincecum’s shortest time on the mound since June 11 (when he was taken out of the game after four innings).
San Diego’s Clayton Richard was having no problems with the Giants hitters, striking out two and allowing only two hits over five innings. Richard was taken out with shoulder stiffness but still qualified for his third straight win.
San Francisco was not going to go down without a fight, as Pablo Sandoval hit a two run HR in the sixth to trim San Diego’s lead to 3-2. That would be as close as San Francisco would get as Padres closer Heath Bell recorded his 25th save. However, it did not go as smoothly as Bell allowed Miguel Tejada to score and put the tying runs in scoring position. Bell eventually nailed down the save by getting Andres Torres and Aaron Rowand to end the game.
The Padres won the opening game of this critical four game series. If the Padres have any chance of getting back in the race they must take at least three of the four games.
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Written by Kevin Kelly