SAN DIEGO - It's a problem that's been gnawing at Bruce Bochy all year. He wants his guys to pitch, not just throw, and on Sunday, it boiled over.
Jeff Samardzija gave up two three-run homers in a 7-1 loss to the Padres, the second on a 96 mph fastball right across the heart of the plate on an 0-2 pitch. The Giants have given up 27 homers on two-strike pitches this year, including five in 0-2 counts. Many others - like Hector Sanchez's walk-off Saturday - have come on pitches that caught far too much of the plate with a base open.
"It seems like the more we make an issue out of it, the more mistakes we make," Bochy said. "We've talked about it, we've done fines. I don't know if they're putting added pressure on or what. It's got to stop. I don't know if I need to pitch out 0-2 or what. You have to learn to throw your put away pitches or chase pitches."
Samardzija paid for two of them. Sanchez crushed a three-run homer on a first-inning pitch at the knees. The one to Spangenberg was put on a tee, and he lined it out for a 7-1 lead that held up. Samardzija said he was trying to elevate to Spangenberg and get a strikeout.
"You get it up another six inches and it's an out," he said. "It stayed in the hitting zone and he put a good swing on it."
Samardzija called the Sanchez homer the difference, and it was. The lineup once again came out flat, scoring just a second-inning run off a Padres team that now has a six-game lead in the race for fourth place. The Giants thought they had grabbed momentum on Friday night. Then they got walked off and blown out.
"Enough is enough," Bochy said, echoing a common theme of the first half.