SAN DIEGO — Wins don’t have to be pretty, you know. This one certainly wasn’t for the Giants, who had just one hit through seven innings against a Padres team that played a Triple-A lineup.
But they found a way to take the lead in the eighth and hold it for two innings, making a winner of Jeff Samardzija on a night when he was brilliant. The 2-1 win allowed the Giants to keep pace with the Mets, who stunned the Phillies on Asdrubal Cabrera’s three-run, extra-innings walk-off. The Mets and Giants are a half-game ahead of the Cardinals, who had the night off.
Most of the night at Petco Park was remarkably quiet.
Samardzija, perhaps the most consistent Giants starter in recent weeks, dominated. He struck out five of seven at one point and scattered four hits. The only real threat came in the sixth when Samardzija made a throwing error and then gave up a single to put two on with no outs. But he got a pop-up before striking out Will Myers and Ryan Schimpf. Myers, the biggest threat in San Diego’s lineup, fouled off four pitches before waving through a curveball.
The Giants haven’t hit a parade of no-name Padres pitchers in the second half, and they had little chance through seven innings against Christian Friedrich, who entered with a 4.78 ERA. The lefty needed just 86 pitches to take a shutout into the eighth, but Joe Panik set the end in motion with a long double to right-center. Kelby Tomlinson hit for Samardzija and fell behind 0-2 before smacking a single between third and short. Panik scored two batters later on Angel Pagan’s bloop to shallow right and Tomlinson scored on Hunter Pence’s double.
The tack-on run would prove crucial. Alex Dickerson hit a long solo shot off Derek Law in the bottom of the eighth. Will Smith and Sergio Romo closed it out.
Starting pitching report: Samardzija tied his Giants high with nine strikeouts. He’s done it twice in his last four starts.
Bullpen report: Will Smith has 15 consecutive scoreless outings.
At the plate: Panik had been hitless in his previous 24 at-bats when he doubled.
In the field: Eduardo Nuñez made a slick snag of a short-hop liner to third in the first inning. He threw Manuel Margo out from his knees in the eighth.
Attendance: The Padres announced a crowd of 25,789 human beings, including a guy in a Todd Linden jersey.
Up next: Albert Suarez faces Edwin Jackson, who gave the Giants quite a bit of trouble earlier this season.