SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hector Sanchez is getting a lot more comfortable with his swing and his role on the Padres since coming off the disabled list almost two weeks ago.
Hitting a home run against his former ballclub provided a lift, too.
Sanchez homered and singled twice in his return to AT&T Park, and six San Diego pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout as the Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 4-0 Monday night.
“It’s amazing to play in this ballpark,” Sanchez said. “Great fans, beautiful field. Sometimes in baseball you have to turn the page. I spent a lot of time with the Giants, had great memories. But when you come back here you have to turn the page and do the best you can do.”
Sanchez spent his first five seasons in San Francisco as a backup behind four-time All-Star catcher Buster Posey and had homered only twice previously at AT&T Park before hitting a 2-2 pitch from starter Jeff Samardzija (11-10) into the stands above the brick wall in right field with one out in the sixth.
It’s Sanchez’s first three-hit game since May 17, 2014.
“That was crazy. I didn’t expect the ball to go out,” Sanchez said. “I guess I put a good swing on it and lucky for me it went out.”
Yangervis Solarte drove in two runs and Luis Sardinas added two hits while helping the Padres to their fourth consecutive win over the Giants.
It was a bitter loss for San Francisco, which dropped four games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West after trimming two games off the lead last weekend.
With 19 games left, however, the Giants still lead the race for the league’s top wild card.
“We have not been consistent with our lineup,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “It sure looks bad to get shut out when you get back home the first day, but we’re staying behind these guys.”
Padres starter Paul Clemens (3-5) fought through flu symptoms earlier in the week and vomited between innings but still pitched five gritty innings to end San Francisco’s three-game winning streak. The right-hander allowed three hits, walked one and struck out two.
“He actually held it together stuff-wise better today than he has in his previous couple of starts,” San Diego manager Andy Green said. “It was a cool night so I’m sure that helped him, too. He was just very, very good under the circumstances.”
Solarte had an RBI single in the fourth and drove in another run in the fifth with a grounder.
Hunter Pence had two hits for the Giants.
Samardzija allowed four runs over six innings, struck out six and walked one. Not a terrible outing but one that quickly went south when Sanchez homered. It was only the second home run allowed by Samardzija in his last seven starts “The two-run homer put a sour taste in my mouth with the way things were,” Samardzija said. “I left a splitter a little bit up in the zone and (Sanchez) was able to put a barrel on the ball.”
Padres: Green said RHP Tyson Ross (right shoulder inflammation) hasn’t progressed as quickly as the team had hoped and isn’t likely to pitch again this season. Ross did not accompany the club on its road trip and remained in San Diego to continue throwing. ... OF Travis Jankowski left the team to be with his family in Pennsylvania for personal reasons.
Giants: 3B Eduardo Nunez was a late scratch because of back tightness. ... Relief pitcher Derek Law threw a simulated game and is likely to be activated from the disabled list Wednesday. ... OF Gregor Blanco (shoulder) is making progress and took swings before the game.
Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (2-3) pitches the middle game of the series Tuesday night in his sixth start since signing as a free agent on Aug. 6.
Giants: RHP Albert Suarez (3-3) makes his 10th career start but first against San Diego. Suarez faced the Padres as a reliever earlier this season.