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Avelino gets first career hit, but offense lags

September 27, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants invited Lou Ferrigno to throw out the first pitch Wednesday night at AT&T Park, and the bodybuilder and actor was happy to oblige.For most of the night, a 3-2 loss to the Padres, it seemed as if the Giants should have asked for his Incredible

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants invited Lou Ferrigno to throw out the first pitch Wednesday night at AT&T Park, and the bodybuilder and actor was happy to oblige.
For most of the night, a 3-2 loss to the Padres, it seemed as if the Giants should have asked for his Incredible Hulk persona to make an appearance. But it turned out that a version of the Hulkster was in the lineup after all.
Abiatal Avelino, who had exactly zero hits and almost zero playing time in the approximately three weeks he'd be in the big leagues, singled in the third inning and singled as part of the Giants' two-run seven as well.

He was in the lineup with Brandon Crawford getting a day off at shortstop. And with the Giants playing what could well be three meaningful games against the Dodgers this weekend, there is a chance that Avelino might not get another chance to bat. And he didn't want to head home for the winter with a big round number in his hits column.
"It would have been a little bit [hard]," Avelino said with teammate Gorkys Hernandez serving as interpreter. "I feel pretty happy now."
He said the first hit, an opposite-field grounder to right, allowed him to relax and made the second hit, a single to left, possible. He got the ball from the first hit and plans to give it to his father, Roberto.
"You could see him relax tonight," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He was getting comfortable. It was pretty exciting."
The Giants didn't have much in the way of excitement in this one. Avelino's hit was the only one for San Francisco in the first six innings. Aramis Garcia's homer in the seventh produced two runs, but from there the well dried up quickly.

The loss went to starting pitcher Casey Kelly, who went five innings and allowed just two runs. A 2008 first-round pick of the Red Sox, he's a journeyman who has moved between the Padres, Braves, Cubs and Giants since his big league debut with the Padres in 2012. He won twice that year. He hasn't won since.
"You don't think about that when you are out there," Kelly said. "I can't tell you the last time I've won. You just want to go out there and give the team a chance to win."
He did that, but a balk call against him in the fifth inning didn't help. It brought the second run home, and in a 3-2 game, it was critical.
"I think I shook my head and moved my hands up," Kelly said. "There was no sense in arguing."

SOUND SMART
The Giants have the second worst offense in MLB after the Marlins. That's one reason someone like Kelly can be winless, despite a 3.04 ERA. He hasn't given up more than two earned runs in a game since joining the Giants mid-August.

HE SAID IT
"They were into it. It wasn't quite as big a crowd, but we were a hit away, and they were into it." -- Bochy, on the small but fired up crowd in the final three innings
UP NEXT
After a day off Thursday, the Giants face the Dodgers at AT&T Park on Friday at 7:15 p.m. PT. The Giants don't have much to play for other than beating their rivals. Madison Bumgarner, who made headlines with a walk-off pinch-hit against the Padres Tuesday, will make his last start of the season. He's 0-1 vs. L.A. this year, but is 15-10 lifetime, his most wins against any team.

John Hickey is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.