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Wood homers as Padres take series from SF

August 31, 2017

SAN DIEGO -- A pair of Padres hit their 10th career home runs Wednesday night at Petco Park, with pitcher Travis Wood and left fielder Jose Pirela providing power and excitement in San Diego's 5-0, series-clinching victory against the Giants.Wood's shot to left in the third inning was the Padres'

SAN DIEGO -- A pair of Padres hit their 10th career home runs Wednesday night at Petco Park, with pitcher Travis Wood and left fielder Jose Pirela providing power and excitement in San Diego's 5-0, series-clinching victory against the Giants.
Wood's shot to left in the third inning was the Padres' first hit off Giants starter Ty Blach and the second home run by a San Diego starter in four days, the shortest gap between pitcher home runs in franchise history. The Padres' pitching staff entered Wednesday leading the National League in slugging percentage and OPS, stats that were boosted as San Diego won its fifth straight series against the Giants.
"Assumed he was probably going to come at me with something soft right there, and he left it up in the zone," Wood said. "I was able to get it. It's always exciting, especially when you can help yourself out and put a run on the board and get the team going."
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Blach was effective with the bat, as well, singling and doubling off Wood. The latter hit began a fifth-inning rally that chased Wood and left him two outs shy of qualifying for the win. The Giants left the bases loaded and finished the game 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

The Giants completed a 1-5 trip in which they were particularly punchless. They totaled 10 runs while being shut out twice. They batted .202 overall and .121 (4-for-33) with runners in scoring position.
"What's hurting us is not doing little things, not getting guys over," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're not getting a good, quality at-bat with runners in scoring position."
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After 4 1/3 scoreless frames, Wood has a 1.61 ERA at Petco Park since a late-July trade to San Diego.

"He wouldn't say he was on top of his game today," Padres manager Andy Green said. "It didn't come out alive. It was really only a two-pitch mix. … It was a battle from the get-go, but you look up, and he manages 4 1/3 scoreless."
Blach's outing was strong through five, but Pirela's sixth-inning blast to the Western Metal Supply Building's second deck began a three-run frame for San Diego. Blach allowed three runs, including both homers, in his 5 2/3 innings.

The Padres added an unearned run in the eighth on Jabari Blash's RBI single, his fourth time reaching base, after William Myers made it to second on a pair of errors.
Sixth sense: Through five innings, the Padres had three hits, and two of them were by pitchers. They pieced together a rally in the sixth, beginning with Pirela's home run. Myers followed with a double down the left-field line, advancing to third on a Yangervis Solarte grounder and scoring on a wild pitch. The next three Padres reached with two outs, capped by Austin Hedges' RBI single, San Diego's fourth hit of the inning.

Leaving 'em loaded: Blach doubled off Wood to open the fifth. A walk and single followed a popup, loading the bases for Hunter Pence. Green ended Wood's outing and brought in Craig Stammen, the seventh time this year the veteran reliever has entered with the bases loaded. Stammen struck out Pence before inducing a groundout from Nick Hundley to leave the bases loaded. In those seven outings, Stammen has allowed only two inherited runners to score, and they both came in on a two-out error by Stammen on April 18.
"He's done it time and time again," Green said of Stammen escaping the jam. "I don't think anybody should be too surprised. He's come in with runners on base all year, and he's managed to work out of 90 percent of those situations. It's great to have a weapon like that down there."

"I didn't even know he had a good swing." -- Blash, on Wood's home run
Blach, Wood and Stammen recorded hits Wednesday night, making them the second trio of pitchers to hit safely in the same game this season; three Reds hurlers had knocks last Tuesday against the Cubs. It also marked the first time pitchers had combined for four hits in a game since May 23, when Pittsburgh's Tyler Glasnow and Atlanta's R.A. Dickey did so.
Wednesday's performance was continued proof Blash has found comfort in San Diego.
His eighth-inning RBI single capped a day in which he reached four times in four plate appearances, adding to a line that featured another hit and a pair of walks. Although he's hitting only .231 through three stints in the Majors this year, he has a .362 on-base percentage, a high mark for a team last in baseball in that category.

"The thing you can't discount with him is: It's a .350 on-base," Green said. "We're desperate for guys like that, to get on base. He's shown that ability to get on base. We need that as a team."
Mixed with his patience, Blash also provides power. Afforded consistency, he's found success as the Padres' right fielder since his most recent callup.
"With time, confidence comes," Blash said. "It's been fun getting regular at-bats and just being back in general. … To contribute to wins, whether it's getting on base with walks or doing some damage with the long ball and playing good defense, that's what every player wants, and that's what it takes to stick around."

Giants: Fortified by their 17-13 record against National League Central teams, the Giants will begin a four-game series Thursday against the Cardinals at 7:15 p.m. PT at AT&T Park. Madison Bumgarner, who has a 2.78 ERA in nine starts since coming off the disabled list, will start the series opener for San Francisco.
Padres: San Diego is off Thursday before beginning a four-game set with the Dodgers on Friday at Petco Park that includes a doubleheader on Saturday. Rookie right-hander Dinelson Lamet, who has a 2.63 ERA in his past seven starts, will face Clayton Kershaw in the series opener at 7:10 p.m. PT.
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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for based in San Diego.