Padres' star lineup edges Giants team missing key players in big spots


Missing key players in big spots, Giants beat by Padres' stars originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN DIEGO -- The Juan Soto trade soaked up nearly all of the headlines -- not just in San Diego but nationally -- on Major League Baseball's trade deadline day. At Petco Park, they also celebrated the arrival of All-Star closer Josh Hader, the five-year extension given to All-Star starter Joe Musgrove and the start of Fernando Tatis Jr.'s rehab assignment.

They have built a team of stars down here, one they hope can rival the Los Angeles Dodgers' superstar-filled lineup. The Giants have built a much different way, but they still like their chances ... with a huge caveat.

They like their chances when healthy and whole, and on Tuesday night they weren't.

Joey Bart has an ankle injury that kept him from replacing a left-handed bat as Hader melted down in the top of the ninth, but more importantly, the Giants continue to watch the workload of young, hard-throwing closer Camilo Doval.

Doval was only available in a save situation Tuesday night after pitching back-to-back games, which meant Tyler Rogers got the ninth in a tie game. Manny Machado, the somewhat forgotten superstar in San Diego these days, hit a three-run walk-off homer to give the Padres a 7-4 win.

The night was a reminder of just how much firepower the Padres now possess, and of just how well the Giants must play to compete with the NL West powers. They did everything right on Monday and won 1-0. They did just about everything right on Tuesday -- playing one of their best defensive games of the year and stunning Hader in the ninth -- but this time it wasn't enough.

Rogers watched 8 1/2 innings of solid baseball and saw the Padres' lead disappear as he warmed up in the ninth, but he couldn't hold on. As he stood in front of his locker, the emotion was clear in his eyes.

"This one hurts, because the way they battled back and played all game, everyone played a good game except for me. It stinks," Rogers said. "The boys battled back. I'm sick to my stomach, to be honest with you."

Machado's homer capped a six-run ninth inning between the teams and a huge night for the rebuilt heart of the lineup in San Diego. Soto hit a game-tying homer off Alex Cobb, ignited the go-ahead rally with a double, walked, and reached base on a catcher's interference call ahead of Machado's homer. Soto, Machado and Josh Bell -- also acquired in the Soto deal -- combined for six hits, six runs and five RBI.

"It's as challenging a two-three-four as there is," manager Gabe Kapler said. "I think the best way to combat those two guys [Soto and Machado] and the middle of their lineup is by ensuring that you're throwing a ton of strikes, getting ahead and staying ahead, to the guys at the bottom of their lineup. [Jurickson] Profar is a good player, but you've got to get him out somehow, someway. You've got to get Austin Nola out somehow, someway.

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"Because you're going to get hurt in a series like this by Machado and Soto. From my perspective, you've got to execute around those guys."

Soon, the top spot in the lineup will be just as dangerous. Tatis Jr. doubled and tripled in a rehab game Tuesday and is expected back next week. It's a frightening lineup, and the Giants are 6 1/2 games back of it in the race for the final wild card spot.

They have kept the faith and were emboldened on Monday by a great win. But the Giants cannot afford any health issues, and in big spots on Tuesday they were without two young players who are just hitting their stride. Their depth was chipped away just a little bit, but that was enough with what the Padres brought from the other side.

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