Matt Chapman

Giants' bats silenced in brutal shutout loss to Padres

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SAN FRANCISCO – After flashing a lot of offensive pop during their first road trip of the season, the Giants returned home keen on sustaining that momentum.

In the pitcher-friend confines of Oracle Park, however, the offense has been mostly silent other than Thairo Estrada’s walk-off hit in Friday’s home opener.

In another sign of the struggling offense, San Francisco was silenced on Saturday by a pitcher who hadn’t made it out of the fourth inning in either of his two previous starts.

Padres’ right-hander Michael King, who carried a 6.14 ERA into the game, barely broke a sweat while breezing through San Francisco’s lineup during a 4-0 victory. He allowed four singles, including an infield hit by Nick Ahmed, but was otherwise steady and strong, going seven innings without allowing a run in the Padres' win.

“He had really good command of his both of his fastballs,” Giants clean-up hitter Michael Conforto said. “Sinker’s probably most to righties and a lot of four-seams to lefties, a couple sinkers mixed in there. Really good command of his changeup and he was using his slider as well.

“He just made a lot of really good pitches in big counts. Just kept us off balance.”

Conforto has been the Giants best hitter so far this season but couldn’t get anything going against King. He extended his on-base streak to nine when he drew a walk off reliever Robert Suarez in the ninth, but that was it.

He wasn’t the only San Francisco player who struggled against King.

The San Diego veteran mixed and matched his pitches and never allowed more than one runner to reach base in six of his seven shutout innings.

That was in stark contrast to when King faced the Giants six days earlier. In that game at Petco Park, San Francisco’s batters drew seven walks and scored two runs off the San Diego starter.

King said he tinkered with his mechanics in between starts. The payoff was an efficient and effective outing that earned him his first victory of the season.

“I think he just commanded the ball better today and was able to miss barrels He came right after us and was able to throw a lot of strikes and keep guys off balance. He was throw,” Giants third baseman Matt Chapman told NBC Sports Bay Area. “He was throwing all his pitches for strikes and he made pitches when he needed to.

“He did what he was supposed to do. He beat us. He went right after us.”

The Giants clubbed 10 home runs and put up 36 runs in their first seven games of the season against the Dodgers and Padres.

In the two games since returning the shores of McCovey Cove, though, the offense has been mostly silent.

They had only four hits in Friday’s 3-2 victory before Estrada delivered the game-winner in the ninth inning.

Against the Padres on Saturday, the Giants managed just four hits – all of them singles.

“It was more (King),” manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s a pretty good pitcher. The last time he was just a little bit out of sorts and we made him work. We didn’t really come through with runners in scoring position. We made him work off the walks. Today he had much better command.”

Obviously it’s far too early for anyone to panic. The Giants’ current struggles are a small sample size and the players are confident that they’ll bust out of the collective funk soon.

“I think we all understand that we need to pick it up a little bit,” Chapman said. “A lot of us have played a lot of years so I think that we understand that you’re not going to always come out right away and bang the cover off the ball. Obviously we would love to win these games. The main focus is winning baseball games. When we start hitting and doing things well, winning games will be easier. But right now we need to just find ways to win.”

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