Home World Profar’s 1st-inning grand slam does in SF Giants in loss to Padres

Profar’s 1st-inning grand slam does in SF Giants in loss to Padres

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SAN FRANCISCO — The sun peeked through the upper rafters of Oracle Park and a strong breeze blew out to right field as Keaton Winn fired his first pitches of the evening, and those conditions may well have been the difference in the Giants’ loss Saturday to the Padres.

Winn recovered well after a rocky first inning, but the Giants were never able to climb out of the hole he put them in, falling 4-0 and sapping whatever momentum was gained from Friday’s walkoff win in their home opener.

By the time they came to bat in the bottom half of the inning, the swirling winds had shifted direction, and if Jurickson Profar had stepped to the plate with the bases loaded only 20 minutes later, his fly ball may have died on the warning track. But the high pop fly occurred at just the right time, meeting the jet stream blowing toward McCovey Cove, and rode the wind inches over the brick wall, fair by a few feet.

“Sometimes you just have to pick up some things that go wrong in the first inning,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Obviously a big swing by Profar.”

The one swing from the Padres left fielder, sending a first-pitch fastball on a 43-degree trajectory only an estimated 347 feet onto the Levi’s Landing concourse, amounted to the only runs scored by either team on a brisk night at the corner of Third and King.

Winn went on to face the minimum for the remainder of his six innings, allowing two base runners that he erased with a pickoff move and a double play, and it’s possible his pitching line would have reflected that dominance had he thrown his first pitch only an hour later.

The first batter of the game, Xander Bogaerts, popped a routine fly ball toward Jung Hoo Lee in center field. But it fell to the grass when Lee, playing his first evening contest at Oracle Park, couldn’t find the ball in the sun setting behind home plate.

“The first play of the game, you couldn’t see the ball at all in center field,” Melvin said. “Look, anytime you start at 5 (or) 6 o’clock on the west coast, it can be a little bit tough at times, whether it’s seeing at the plate and/or the sun in the outfield. But it’s not an excuse.”

Lee confirmed as much in Korean through interpreter Justin Han. He was wearing sunglasses, but they did no good.

“The ball escaped from my view. I wasn’t able to see it through the sunlight,” Lee said. “I’d never played a home game at this time at Oracle Park. I wasn’t experienced with it. But next time through the experience I had today, I’ll try to do better.”

Retiring the next two batters, Winn should have been out of the inning without a hit or a run but instead had to square off against Manny Machado, who lined a single, and then was squeezed on a full-count splitter to Ha-Seong Kim that appeared to scrape the outside corner, loading the bases for Profar.

Lee came up to Winn in the dugout between innings and apologized in English.

“I was like, ‘Dude, it’s all right. I understand. It’s all good,’” Winn said. “Yeah, it does suck, but that’s part of the game. Part of pitching at Oracle (Park). The sun does play a factor. But I’ve got to be able to work through that.”

In their two games at Oracle Park this season, the Giants snapped a streak of seven straight games with a homer in Friday’s home opener win, then were shut out for the first time this season Saturday against Padres starter Michael King.

After homering in all seven games of their opening road trip and scoring an average of 4.6 runs per game, the Giants have yet to homer and managed only three total runs over their first 18 innings at Oracle Park. They were shut out Saturday for the first time this season, managing only four hits and none for extra bases.



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