SAN FRANCISCO – It’s never good when a member of the rotation takes a line drive off his throwing elbow. That’s what happened to Chad Gaudin in the fifth inning Thursday night.
But that might have been a flesh wound compared to what happened down the road in Stockton.
Angel Pagan, in the first game of his rehab assignment for Single-A San Jose, was carted off the field with an apparent knee injury after he pulled up lame while running to first base. Pagan, who is on the disabled list, was trying to come back from a strained hamstring tendon near his knee.
It was a lost night all the way around. Jeremy Affeldt blew a lead for the third time in his last four appearances as the Miami Marlins scored a pair in the eighth inning and beat the Giants 2-1 at AT&T Park.
The Giants were on the verge of getting their regular lineup back. Now it’s anyone’s guess how long Pagan will be out. The leadoff man was a lot closer to having surgery than he let on the other day in Atlanta, from what I’ve been told. This injury might make it automatic now.
Gaudin was diagnosed with an elbow contusion after he was struck by Derek Dietrich’s line drive in the fifth inning. He attempted to stay in the game but departed after trying two warmup pitches.
Starting pitching report
Gaudin hadn’t lasted more than six innings in his three starts, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy said prior to the game that he’d have no problem letting the right-hander throw 100 pitches.
Gaudin was nowhere near that point as he cruised in the fifth inning. He had allowed just two hits – an infield single in the first inning and a line single by Justin Ruggiano to start the fifth. But his fortunes changed in an instant when Derek Dietrich hit a line drive back to the mound.
Gaudin tried to turn his body away from the ball, but it struck him in the pitching arm just above the right elbow. Gaudin recovered and threw to first base for the out, then he tried a warmup pitch under the watch of head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner. After more consultation, Gaudin threw one more warmup, though not at maximum effort.
Then discretion trumped valor and Gaudin was escorted to the dugout. He had thrown just 49 pitches.
Gaudin’s next start would come Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. If he’s unable to go, Mike Kickham also pitched Thursday night for Triple-A Fresno and held Reno to one run on five hits and one walk in seven innings. He threw 85 pitches while striking out four, and it’s worth noting that Reno’s ballpark is a launching pad.
The Giants can’t get Santiago Casilla back quickly enough.
Sandy Rosario filled the gap by taking over for Gaudin and retired his first seven batters to get to the eighth inning. But he walked Ruggiano to start the eighth and Affeldt blew the lead for the third time in his last four outings.
Affeldt hit Dietrich with a pitch, and after a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, the left-hander threw three nasty pitches to strike out pinch hitter Jeff Mathis. But pinch hitter Marcell Ozuna followed with a two-run single, and to make matters worse, Affeldt didn’t back up home plate. Ozuna practically walked to third base when Hunter Pence’s throw from right field sailed over the head of catcher Buster Posey.
At the plate
Tom Koehler was winless in seven starts with a 5.09 ERA and he was coming off an outing in which the Cardinals crushed him for nine runs.
But the Giants looked lost against him, made plenty of quick outs in the air and didn’t get a hit until Gregor Blanco singled with one out in the sixth inning.
Rosario nearly broke up the no-hit bid just before Blanco – in his first big league plate appearance, no less. He missed a double in the left field corner by no more than 2 or 3 feet, as it bounced near the chalk line. Then he struck out looking on the next pitch.
The Giants broke through in the seventh, though. Brandon Belt doubled and Joaquin Arias followed with a triple to the deepest part of right-center. The hit extended Arias’ quiet hitting streak to 11 games that coincided with Pablo Sandoval going on the disabled list; Arias was batting .364 during the streak.
Posey singled with one out in the ninth but Marlins closer Steve Coshek got Pence to pop up and Belt to strike out.
Hard to believe, but Posey had made 21 consecutive throws without nabbing a potential base stealer. He interrupted that streak by throwing out Adeiny Hechavarria at second base in the third inning and Ruggiano at third base in the fifth.
Posey has thrown out 10 of 41 potential base stealers this season (19.6 percent). He threw out 30 percent last year and 36 percent the year before. Since Posey appears to be throwing as well as in years past, his lower percentage probably has more to do with pitchers not varying their times or being quick enough to the plate.
The Giants announced 41,290 paid, and the crowd let out a hearty boo when the scoreboard displayed the result of the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat emerging triumphant.
As the Palm Beach Post’s great beat reporter Joe Capozzi tweeted: “Congrats to #Heat winning championship. South Florida sports fans can now focus their attention on their #Marlins.”
The Giants and Marlins continue their three-game series at AT&T Park. Tim Lincecum (4-7, 4.57 ERA) takes the mound against potential trade target Ricky Nolasco (4-7, 3.61). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. PDT.