SAN DIEGO (AP) — The rebuilding San Diego Padres have made up two spots in the NL West in two games, thanks largely to two rookies.
Joey Lucchesi struck out nine in six innings, Christian Villanueva homered, doubled and drove in three runs, and the Padres cruised past San Francisco 10-1 on Sunday to beat the Giants for the third straight game.
Jose Pirela was a home run short of the cycle and had three RBIs for the Padres, who have won five of seven. They leapfrogged the Giants into third place, by percentage points. San Francisco has lost four of five.
Lucchesi (2-0) was sharp in outpitching Tyler Beede (0-1) in a matchup of 24-year-old rookies. Lucchesi walked none and his nine strikeouts were his most in four big league starts. The lefty allowed one run and five hits.
“He’s good,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “It’s fun to watch him pitch. He definitely didn’t want to come out after six innings; he wanted to keep going. I told him he needs to pace himself a little bit. He said, ‘I need to get a hit.’ On the pitching side he feels real good; on the hitting side he has some work to do.”
Lucchesi struck out twice, dropping to 0 for 8.
“I’m struggling on that,” he said. “I need to get a hit. I need to practice more. I don’t know what’s going on.”
His pitching, though, was outstanding.
“I felt locked in. I felt good,” Lucchesi said.
The 6-foot-5, 227-pounder has a deceptive windup and throws a “churve,” a combination changeup-curveball.
“It’s my go-to pitch and I hope they never learn how to hit it,” he said.
Lucchesi grew up in Newark in the East Bay and was an Oakland A’s fan.
“I never really liked the Giants. I was never a fan. I grew up like 30 minutes from San Francisco. Striking out a close hometown team feels pretty good.”
Lucchesi became the first pitcher from the 2016 draft class to reach the majors after Dinelson Lamet hurt his right elbow in his final spring training start for the Padres. Lucchesi got a no-decision in his big league debut March 30 against Milwaukee and again in a home start versus the Rockies on April 5 before earning his first win at Colorado on Tuesday.
Lamet will have reconstructive elbow surgery this week.
Lucchesi is doing “everything he possibly can, except hit,” to cement a spot in the rotation, Green said. “He’s been great. He’s a guy that, watching film last year, talking to our minor league guys, listening to them talk, they knew he was going to come quicker than the rest and he’s proving why right now. He throws strikes, he’s got offspeed when he needs it, he can punch guys out. That’s a great recipe. There’s a lot of deception there.”
Beede lasted only 3 2/3 innings, permitting five runs and six hits while striking out six and walking three.
Villanueva hit a two-run double in the third and homered off Josh Osich leading off the fifth, his fifth. Villanueva also homered in a 5-4 victory Saturday night.
Green said Villanueva’s three-homer game on April 3 knocked him off-kilter and he began swinging “at absolutely everything thrown up there for a week and a half.”
He’s been more selective recently.
“I think I’m going up there now to look at my pitch and not the pitcher’s pitch,” Villanueva said through a translator.
The Padres chased Beede in their three-run fourth. Cory Spangenberg and Pirela hit RBI doubles, and Freddy Galvis had an RBI single.
“They’re young, they’re talented, they’re free-swingers in a way, they’re aggressive,” Beede said. “They’re certainly a good lineup and hopefully next time we play them we can shut them down a little bit more.”
The Padres won three straight even though outfielders Manuel Margot and Wil Myers are on the disabled list and first baseman Eric Hosmer sat out the last two games.
“It was disappointing,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “I think it showed a little bit today how we’ve been nicked up with this pitching.”
Giants: C Buster Posey has a sore thumb but should be OK to play Tuesday night after an off day Monday. … RHP Jeff Samardzija, on the disabled list with a strained right pectoral muscle, likely will make another rehab start. He threw 62 pitches in 2 2/3 innings Saturday night for Class A San Jose, allowing six runs and five hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Padres: Hosmer sat out with mild back tightness and said he expects to return Monday night.
Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.69 ERA) is expected to come off the disabled list Tuesday night at Arizona. LHP Patrick Corbin (2-0, 2.45) is scheduled to start for the Diamondbacks.
Padres: LHP Robbie Erlin (0-1, 2.38) will start in place of suspended Luis Perdomo in the opener of a three-game series Monday night against the Dodgers. Perdomo was suspended five games for throwing behind Colorado slugger Nolan Arenado on Wednesday. Los Angeles counters with LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-0, 2.79).
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