Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt come through to put Giants up 7-4 going into the seventh

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The Giants were one weak ground ball or fly ball away from squandering a bases-loaded opportunity, but Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt made sure their club was able to capitalize on the opportunity. The Giants put their first two batters on base on consecutive bloop singles by pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias and Gregor Blanco against Royals rookie Brandon Finnegan. Rookie Joe Panik then bunted both runners over to second and third base, which forced Royals manager Ned Yost to order Finnegan to intentionally walk Buster Posey to load the bases.

Hunter Pence grounded into a 6-2 fielder’s choice, putting the Royals closer to an escape from a tense situation. Sandoval, however, wasn’t having it. He swung at Finnegan’s first offering, ripping a two-run single up the middle to break a 4-4 tie. Brandon Belt followed up with a ground ball single into right-center, pushing the Giants’ lead up to 7-4. Juan Perez grounded out to second base to end the inning.

The Giants have now scored six unanswered runs against the Royals. They’ll head into the seventh inning with a three run lead and nine outs to go. Yusmeiro Petit pitched three scoreless innings of relief but was replaced by Jeremy Affeldt to start the next frame.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.