SAN DIEGO — Madison Bumgarner was back on the mound after three long months away. The San Francisco Giants left-hander was making his first start since April 19 at Kansas City. The next day, he wiped out while riding a dirt bike on a day off in Denver, spraining the AC joint in his left shoulder and suffering bruised ribs.
He pitched seven innings Saturday night and left with the score tied at 3 after allowing four hits, including home runs to Matt Szczur and Jabari Blash, while striking out five and walking two.
The San Diego Padres won the game 5-3 on Hector Sanchez’s two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.
“I felt pretty good the whole time and we kind of gradually built up to it,” said Bumgarner, who threw 102 pitches. “I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get much over 100, or they wouldn’t have let me anyway. So yeah if you can get out there for seven, I’ll take that any time.”
The lefty retired the first seven batters before Szczur homered to left, his third. Bumgarner walked Carlos Asuaje leading off the fourth and retired the next two batters before Blash drove a two-run shot an estimated 424 feet to straightaway center field for a 3-2 lead. It was his second.
“Obviously I’d like to be able to have a redo on a couple pitches, but they weren’t bad pitches,” Bumgarner said. “Obviously now looking back they were probably the wrong pitches, but I mean I felt pretty good for the most part for especially the first time back in three months or whatever.”
The ace said he “tried to be all business about it. Any negativity is just going to make it worse, so you’ve got to try to find a way to make the best out of whatever situation you’re in.”
Sanchez, the backup catcher, found out during batting practice Saturday that he would start in place of Austin Hedges, who took a foul ball off his mask the night before.
Several hours later, after going 0 for 3 against Bumgarner, Sanchez hit a no-doubt, two-run homer off Steven Okert to lift the Padres.
Four of the switch-hitting Sanchez’s seven hits this year are homers — three as a pinch-hitter and then Saturday night’s walk-off.
“It’s fun seeing him succeed,” manager Andy Green said. “He’s been such a good teammate and he’s had such limited opportunity to play. He’s been big for us. He’s been worth like probably three wins.
“You look at this stat line, you wouldn’t come away thinking, ‘How is that guy winning baseball games for you?’ He’s done it over and over,” Green said.
Sanchez came in hitting .154 in 39 at-bats in just 29 games.
“It’s not an easy job, but I know my job. I have to be ready every single day,” Sanchez said. “If something happens, I have to be ready.”
Blash started the winning rally when he singled leading off the ninth against Cory Gearrin (3-3) and advanced on Erick Aybar’s sacrifice bunt against Okert.
Sanchez said he was looking to hit a line drive to bring in Blash. Instead, he drove a fastball an estimated 407 feet off the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner for the win.
“It’s great,” Sanchez said. “To get the victory for my teammates and my team, that’s more important for me. That’s all that matters.”
Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin was happy for Sanchez.
“He wasn’t expecting to play and he got the huge hit,” Chacin said. “I know how much he wants to play but sometimes you have to be ready when the opportunities come, and he was.”
Brandon Maurer (1-4) pitched the ninth for the win.
The Giants lost for the sixth time in eight games. It was San Diego’s sixth win in nine games.
Joe Panik tied it at 3 with a solo shot to right leading off the sixth, his sixth.
Chacin gave up three runs and six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked four.
He labored through a 34-pitch first inning, when he loaded the bases on two walks and a single before allowing a two-run single by Hunter Pence.
Giants: Johnny Cueto was placed on the 10-day DL with blisters on the tips of his right thumb, forefinger and middle finger that forced him out of Friday night’s game after four innings. With Cueto expected to miss at least two starts, Matt Cain moves back into the rotation.
Padres: Green said Hedges “didn’t feel quite right” during batting practice. The Padres don’t think Hedges has a concussion.
Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-10, 4.58 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale Sunday. His 10 losses are tied for the most in the NL.
Padres: RHP Trevor Cahill (3-3, 3.38 ERA) is scheduled to make his third start since coming off the DL (strained right shoulder).