Gyorko’s grand slam completes solid season

Posted at: 09/30/2013 9:35 PM
By RICK EYMER

(AP) SAN FRANCISCO - With the exception of a stint on the disabled list in the middle of the season, Jedd Gyorko could not have had a much better rookie season.

He capped it off with grand slam that gave San Diego a lead, which the Padres couldn’t hold in a 7-6 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.

"I’m pretty happy with the year I had," Gyorko said. "Obviously there’s a lot of room for improvement."

Gyorko became the first rookie second baseman to lead his team in RBIs and his 23 homers were the third-most by a newcomer.

"He’s had a fabulous year, no doubt about it," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The power numbers, the defense and you add the time he missed where he could have added to those numbers. He had a good rookie season, there’s no doubt about that."

He feels best about his defense. The Padres drafted him as a third baseman and he was moved to second in the middle of last year.

"There was a lot of questions whether I could handle second base," Gyorko said. "No one had seen me play second base until spring training. It was pretty successful over there. I take great pride in my defense."

Gyorko missed 30 games with a right groin strain between June 10 and July 12.

"I don’t even think about it," he said. "There’s nothing you can do about injuries. You don’t want to get hurt, but it happens. You never know, I could have not gotten a hit in those 30 games and my average would be even worse than it is."

Huston Street (2-5) blew his second save of the season when Francisco Peguero hit his first career home run leading off the ninth to tie it.

"That’s a tough one, whether it’s April, May, June or . . . September," Padres’ manager Bud Black said. "Huston has been so reliable for us the past couple of years and it just goes to show that players are not invincible."

Tony Abreu followed with a single and advance to second on Street’s wild pitch. Brandon Belt walked and both runners advanced on a passed ball.

After Buster Posey was intentionally walked, Hunter Pence, who had three RBIs, singled to center to end the game.

Tyson Ross pitched six innings and was in line for his first win since Aug. 10. He allowed three runs on seven hits and finished with a no decision. He walked one and struck out seven.

"I’m just happy I got the start," Ross said. "I wanted to finish the season strong."

Gyorko’s slam broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth. Walks to Alexi Amarista and Jesus Guzman sandwiched around Chris Denorfia’s single loaded the bases ahead of Gyorko, who was the first hitter faced by Giants reliever Kyle Dunning.

Nick Hundley led off the third with his 13th home run, a career high. Tommy Medica doubled home a run in the fourth.

Barry Zito entered the game for one batter in the eighth, striking out former teammate Mark Kotsay, who was playing in his final game as an active player.

"If I had to strike out in my final at bat, I’m glad it was against a former teammate whom I respect and love," Kotsay said. "I’m happy for Barry."

They played together with the Oakland Athletics between 2004-06.

NOTES: Denorfia, who had three hits, ended the season with a seven-game hitting streak. ... Kotsay played in his 1,914th and final game. ... Gyorko hit the Padres second grand slam of the season and No. 135 in franchise history.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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