SAN DIEGO — The old Tyson Ross is back, which is a good thing for the San Diego Padres.
Ross hit an RBI single with the bases loaded to snap a scoreless tie in the fifth and pitched six-plus strong innings to lead the Padres to a 5-1 victory against the San Francisco Giants on Friday night.
The Padres had gone 10 hitless innings since pinch-hitting pitcher Clayton Richard had their only hit Thursday night in the third inning of a desultory 7-0 loss to the Giants. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that was the first time a team's lone hit was by a pitcher who did not start the game since June 28, 1935, when Pittsburgh's Mace Brown did it against the Chicago Cubs after entering as a reliever.
"Our pitchers are raking right now," San Diego manager Andy Green said.
Ross said he was happier with his hit than with his strong performance on the mound.
"RBI for sure, man. All pitchers wish we could hit. That was fun," he said.
Ross (2-1) allowed an unearned run on seven hits while striking out five and walking one. He exited in the seventh after a single and an error on shortstop Freddy Galvis put runners on first and second. Craig Stammen allowed Joe Panik's RBI single.
The 31-year-old Ross rejoined the Padres when he signed a minor league contract in December and made the squad as a non-roster invitee. He was an All-Star in 2014 and was San Diego's opening day starter in 2016, but didn't pitch again that season due to a shoulder ailment that required surgery. He appeared in just 12 games for Texas last season after recovering from the surgery.
"I felt like I threw a good game out there. I competed," Ross said. "That's what I did back in '14, '15 when I was going good. Throwing six innings, us getting the win, that's all I can ask for."
Ross was happy with his command.
"I'm getting a little older, a little wiser. I'm not trying to hump up and throw it as hard as I can, and trying to move the ball around a little bit and having better command comes with that. I felt pretty good today and hopefully I can get better."
His comeback has been impressive so far.
"When you miss 15 months you've got nothing to do but learn, unless you're just going to bury your head in the sand and be stubborn," he said. "I sat out and watched a lot of baseball and talked to a lot of people on the bench during that time of not playing, and tried to learn and be better and smarter when I came back."
Franchy Cordero homered for the Padres leading off the seventh, his second.
Brad Hand came on with runners at first and second and one out in the ninth to get his fifth save.
The Padres jumped on Ty Blach (1-2) for two runs and four hits in the fifth, with a fielding error by first baseman Brandon Belt leading to one of the runs being unearned. San Diego added two runs on three consecutive hits opening the sixth to chase the left-hander.
Jose Pirela also hit an RBI single in the fifth. In the sixth, Hunter Renfroe and Christian Villanueva hit consecutive doubles and Galvis followed with an RBI single to chase Blach.
Blach allowed four runs, three earned, and seven hits. He struck out three and walked one.
"I felt really good," Blach said. "I felt like I was keeping the ball down, executing a lot of really good pitches down in the zone, getting a lot of groundballs, kind of the contact that I like to get. Left a couple of balls up there with some guys on base. I got a couple groundballs early in that inning, just not quite right at guys. Got behind, left a couple balls up, then the same thing in the sixth there."
Said manager Bruce Bochy: "He was throwing well. They placed it where we couldn't catch it. That was the difference really in the game, and we were still having a tough time getting that big hit. We're going to have to find a way to get these runners in."
Brandon Crawford had three hits for the Giants.
Padres: Announced that RHP Dinelson Lamet will have season-ending reconstructive elbow surgery next week. He was hurt in his final spring training start. Lamet had been projected as the team's No. 2 starter.
Giants: LHP Derek Holland (0-2, 4.09 ERA) is scheduled to make his third start of the season. He's 0-1 lifetime against San Diego, having allowed seven runs, six earned, on a career-high 13 hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 7-3 loss with Texas on June 27, 2009.
Padres: Richard (1-1, 5.29) is coming off a 7-6 win at Colorado on Monday night in which he hit a three-run homer.