SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Giants will look back at several missed chances over the final week that cost them a playoff berth that was right there for the taking.
San Francisco had its postseason hopes dashed on the final day of the regular season, losing 5-4 to the playoff-bound San Diego Padres on Sunday.
“We kind of controlled our own destiny this past week. We just needed to win another game or two the last couple series to get in,” shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “We played great I think the last six or eight weeks. To not take the opportunity to win a couple of these last games and get into the playoffs, it definitely hurts.”
San Francisco finished 29-31 under first-year manager Gabe Kapler, beginning the day tied with Milwaukee for the final NL playoff spot. The Brewers hold the tiebreaker, which meant the Giants needed to win and have Milwaukee lose at St. Louis — the Brewers did their part but the Giants couldn’t.
“We just didn’t play good enough baseball,” Kapler said. “… It stings, right?”
Now, the Giants’ drought reaches four years since they lost a four-game division series in 2016 to the eventual World Series champion Cubs. The Giants — World Series winners in 2010, ‘12 and ’14 — will look back to costly losses in the final stretch, most notably Thursday’s 5-4, 11-inning defeat at home to the Rockies then 6-5 to the Padres in Game 2 of Friday’s doubleheader.
Wil Myers homered in the second for San Diego (37-23), the NL’s No. 4 seed, as the Padres prepare for their first postseason in 14 years. They will host a best-of-three series against St. Louis beginning Wednesday.
Mitch Moreland hit a go-ahead double in the fourth. Jorge Mateo’s double in a three-run seventh followed by Greg Garcia’s sacrifice fly provided insurance.
Brandon Crawford hit a two-run homer for the Giants in the seventh then Wilmer Flores connected in the eighth. That just wasn’t quite enough.
Trevor Rosenthal closed it out for his 11th save, retiring Austin Slater on a called third strike to end it. Slater put his hands on his head, and Giants players cursed from the dugout at plate umpire Rob Drake.
“It was disappointing,” Kapler said. “I haven’t had a chance to go back and watch the game but I know there were some calls that went against our guys.”
There was no out-of-town scoreboard to be seen inside Oracle Park to follow the Brewers-Cardinals game. Dozens of boats and kayaks stayed hopeful waiting on the other side of right field in McCovey Cove on a picture-perfect late-September day when first-pitch temperature was 84 degrees.
In fact, even former Giants fan favorite outfielder Hunter Pence watched from a vessel called BRAVO a day after announcing his retirement.
Mauricio Dubon homered in the bottom of the second for San Francisco, which also missed giving Drew Smyly (0-1) his first victory in five starts and seven appearances.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow today,” said Smyly, who would like to stay with the Giants if it works out. “Our guys grinded all day, we gave it our all, we gave it our all all season. I think we outperformed most expectations. It’s a good group of dudes and we’re very disappointed today but I think we’ll all look back and have a lot of really good memories about the season.”
Smyly struck out 10 over five innings for his 11th career double-digit strikeout game and first since Sept. 25, 2019, at Washington with Philadelphia.
San Diego starter Adrián Morejón was winless in his final four appearances since getting the decision in relief against the Giants on Sept. 10.
Dan Altavilla (2-3) relieved and pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win.
San Francisco went 77-85 in retired manager Bruce Bochy’s final year of 2019.
TATIS IN 2020
Fernando Tatís Jr. worked a short day to get off his legs with the playoffs ahead, and so did Manny Machado.
Tatís homered Friday and Saturday, and the 21-year-old Padres slugger finished the shortened season with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs, batting .277.
San Diego C Jason Castro took a foul ball off the face mask in the bottom of the sixth and had his jaw looked at for several minutes before he exited. Austin Nola replaced him.
“He’s diagnosed basically with a sprained jaw. The good news is coming out of the concussion protocol, we’re good there, but his jaw is pretty tender,” manager Jayce Tingler said. “The trainers think it’s going to be even more sore tomorrow. We think that everything is going to be fine since it is a sprain and he should be good to go on Wednesday.”
If he’s healthy as the Padres expect, RHP Dinelson Lamet is the projected Game 1 starter for San Diego on Wednesday. Lamet gave his team a scare when he came out of Friday’s game with biceps tightness.
Lamet is slated for a bullpen Monday that will better determine his status.
“Tomorrow is going to be a big day,” Tingler said.
San Francisco’s first spring training game in Cactus League play is set for Feb. 27 against the Angels.
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