SAN DIEGO — The Giants should have expected some regression after sweeping the Padres three times in the first half. They could not have expected this.
Journeyman Edwin Jackson took a no-hitter into the seventh in his first start for the Padres before giving up a three-run blast to Conor Gillaspie, but that was one of just two Giants hits in a 5-3 loss. After posting the best record in baseball before the All-Star break, the Giants got swept by a rebuilding team on their first weekend back in action.
Jackson, 32, was released by the Marlins last month after posting a 5.91 ERA in eight relief appearances. He had a 7.11 ERA in the minors for the Padres, but manager Andy Green told reporters that Jackson’s stuff was sharp and they felt it could still play at the big league level. The Padres, banged-up and having traded Drew Pomeranz, were also desperate for innings. The gamble paid off.
Jackson walked eight while pitching a no-hitter for the Diamondbacks in 2010 and he issued three free passes in the first three innings Sunday. An error put another runner on, but Jackson held tough. He found a groove in the middle innings and ended the sixth in style, throwing a 97 mph fastball past Buster Posey.
In the meantime, Johnny Cueto was matching his shortest start as a Giant. He gave up two homers in the fourth and left with no outs in the sixth with two on base. Both runs were cashed in, one on Jackson’s second single of the game.
The single helped the Padres but hurt Jackson. He spent a lot of time on the bases during a 30-minute rally and looked gassed in the top of the seventh. After fumbling Gregor Blanco’s grounder to the mound, Jackson walked Ramiro Pena on a series of flat pitches. Gillaspie blasted a hanging changeup deep to right, ending Jackson’s no-hit bid and day.
Starting pitching report: Cueto gave up just six total homers in the first half, but the Padres got two in a span of four batters. Cueto also gave up two homers in the second inning of the All-Star Game on Tuesday. Maybe it’s a Petco Park thing.
Bullpen report: Josh Osich was impressive, striking out three before and after a pop-up to right that was misplayed into a triple.
At the plate: Gillaspie’s pinch-hit homer was the fourth of his career.
In the field: Brandon Crawford was charged with an error in the fifth. It was just his fifth of the season. Last year, when he won the Gold Glove, Crawford committed a career-low 13 errors.
Attendance: The Padres announced a crowd of 35,784 human beings who kept asking if this was the same Edwin Jackson.
Up next: A day off! Jake Peavy and Matt Cain tackle Fenway Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.