Five Thoughts: Padres unload heavy lumber
Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.
It's impossible to predict baseball.
Going into Saturday night's much-anticipated pitching matchup between the Giants' Madison Bumgarner and the Padres' James Shields, it appeared the Padres' offense could be in for another long night.
Bumgarner, after all, is the hottest item in baseball after last season's postseason run that saw the left-hander win MVP Award honors in both the National League Championship Series and the World Series.
During the World Series, Bumgarner won two games and pitched five great innings in relief in the decisive Game 7. His line against the Kansas City Royals: One run on nine hits and a walk allowed over 21 innings with 17 strikeouts. During the World Series, he twice came out on top of Shields when the aces were paired in Games 1 and 5.
As for the Padres' bats ... they had produced one run on 12 hits over their first two games of the season at Petco Park. Padres hitters had struck out 45 times in the season's first five games.
And we all know what happened...
The Padres scored five runs on 10 hits in just three innings against Bumgarner. Yes, they got one more hit in three innings off the Giants' ace than the Royals got in 21. The start was Bumgarner's shortest since he lasted only one-third of an inning against Minnesota on June 21, 2011. The 10 hits were one shy of the most he's ever allowed in his career.
The Padres went 10-for-18 against Bumgarner.
San Diego went on to tie its all-time record of 20 hits at Petco Park in their 10-2 win -- marking only the third time since the downtown ballpark opened in 2004 that the Padres had 20 hits in a home game.
All nine starters -- and all 10 players who took a swing -- got a hit for the Padres. And the Padres got multiple hits from the first through sixth hitters in their lineup, marking the first time since July 29, 2007, that they had accomplished that feat.
Notes from the scorebook
• Shields picked up his first win as a Padre on Friday, allowing the Giants one run (a Joaquin Arias homer) on three hits, a walk and a hit batter over seven innings. In two regular-season starts against the Giants, Shields is 2-0 with a 0.56 earned run average (one earned run in 16 innings). In two World Series games against the Giants last fall, Shields was 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA. Shields' 15 strikeouts in his first two Padres games tops the National League.
• On the meaningless of early-season averages: Matt Kemp's 4-for-5 game Saturday night raised his average from .238 to .346. With three hits Saturday, Will Middlebrooks shot up to .250 from .158.
• After six games, Padres first basemen are hitting a combined .524 (11-for-21) with a .615 on-base percentage. Yonder Alonso is off to an 8-for-17 start in five starts with four walks. Switch-hitting Yangervis Solarte made his first start at first Saturday night against Bumgarner and went 3-for-4 with a walk.
• Justin Upton has hit safely in each of the Padres' first six games and has an eight-game hitting streak going back to last season. He is 10-for-32 during the eight-game streak. Upton is tied for the longest active hitting streak in the Major Leagues.