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Padres' comeback hurts Giants' playoff standing

September 25, 2016

SAN DIEGO -- The Giants still can qualify for the postseason, though their 4-3 loss Sunday to the San Diego Padres captured many of their second-half woes.San Francisco generated a fraction of the offense it produced Saturday, when the club amassed nine runs and 12 hits. This time, the Giants

SAN DIEGO -- The Giants still can qualify for the postseason, though their 4-3 loss Sunday to the San Diego Padres captured many of their second-half woes.
San Francisco generated a fraction of the offense it produced Saturday, when the club amassed nine runs and 12 hits. This time, the Giants mustered seven hits and scored only in the third inning.
The Giants split the four-game series with the Padres and lost eight of 10 to them after the All-Star break. By contrast, the Giants were 9-0 against San Diego in the season's first half.
This vast difference partly symbolized the Giants' second-half slump that spoiled their bid to win the National League West. That pursuit officially ended Sunday, when the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the division championship. San Francisco appeared destined to capture the title when it led the West by eight games on June 26. But winning only three of 21 second-half series forced the Giants to settle for the possibility of a Wild Card berth.
"You know that's inevitable, the way the second half's gone," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Sure, everybody's disappointed we didn't win the division, but right now our focus is keep trying to win games and get there and have a shot at it."
The Giants (82-74) trail the New York Mets (83-73) by one game in the race for the NL's pair of Wild Card postseason berths. St. Louis (81-74) remained a half-game behind the Giants, though the Cardinals play Monday, when San Francisco has its final scheduled off-day of the regular season.
Padres starter Clayton Richard utilized his breaking pitches more than usual Sunday afternoon, with his sinker not as lively as he's been used to. Still, he allowed just two earned runs in six innings. In seven of his eight starts with the Padres, Richard has allowed two earned runs or fewer.
"Behind the plate, Hedgey has a good feel for what's needed in situations, and I don't think the sinker was quite as good today," Richard said, complimenting catcher Austin Hedges. "So we needed to offset it with something. And the slider was the choice. So I think I went to that a little more often than I have been in the past to kind of keep them off the down-and-away and keep them honest."
The might of Margot: One day after tallying his first Major League hit, Padres No. 2 prospectManuel Margot put on a hitting clinic, going 3-for-4 with a single, double and triple. The 20-year-old outfielder stole his first bag in the first inning, drove in San Diego's first run in the second inning and scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh after hitting his triple, igniting the Friars offense out of the leadoff spot.
"I really enjoyed hitting [behind] him," said Wil Myers, who singled home Margot in the seventh to give the Padres their 4-3 lead. "Today he was on base three times. You know, the play of the game was obviously the triple. For him to put a good swing like that on [Cory Gearrin] in those shadows was very impressive." More »

Blach party: If keeping the score close is truly a starting pitcher's minimum requirement, as managers repeatedly say, then Giants rookie Ty Blach did his job in his first Major League start. Blach allowed two runs and four hits in three innings, which was less than overwhelming. But he left the game with a 3-2 lead on the strength of San Francisco's three-run third inning that included Buster Posey's two-run single.
"I felt good. I felt prepared. I felt like I had a good game plan," said Blach, who exhausted himself by throwing 76 pitches. "I just didn't execute as many pitches or get as much early contact as I normally would."

Rosales is rocking: San Diego utility man Adam Rosales has been on a power binge of late. The 33-year-old infielder has been able to break out his signature home run sprint five times in his last 13 games. His 13 home runs this season are a career high, and his dinger in the third inning helped the Padres set a franchise single-season home run record with 173 long balls.

Phantom hit: Gearrin surrendered the single by Myers that put San Diego ahead to stay. Or did he? In the afternoon shadows of autumn, it was difficult to see the batted ball skip inside first base and on into right field.
Gearrin insisted Myers initially didn't see the ball, either.
"It was more of a defensive-type swing," Gearrin said. "He didn't run out of the box. There's nothing you can do about stuff like that."
Per Statcast™, Margot went from home to third in 10.85 seconds on his seventh-inning triple. Among right-handed hitters, only Byron Buxton has managed a faster home-to-third time this season. Buxton's top time is 10.69 seconds. Only nine times all year has a right-handed hitter gone from home to third in less than 11 seconds. Buxton has five of those times, with no other player having more than one.
Giants: The Giants will observe their final scheduled off-day of the regular season Monday, then will resume the business of trying to reach the postseason. They open a three-game series against Colorado on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. PT, with Matt Moore opposing Rockies right-hander German Márquez.
Padres: After a an off-day Monday, the Padres begin a three-game series with the Dodgers, which will be the last series at Petco Park this season. Paul Clemens takes the hill for the Friars on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. PT. The 28-year-old righty hasn't allowed an earned run in his past two starts.
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Carlos Collazo is a reporter for based in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @CarlosACollazo.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.