Padres look to bounce back against Giants

SAN DIEGO — It’s going to be pretty difficult for Giants‘ left-hander Ty Blach to top what Chris Stratton did Thursday night in the opener of San Francisco’s four-game visit to San Diego.

But if he does, he will have pitched the game of his career.

On Thursday, Stratton and reliever Derek Law held the Padres to one-hit — and that hit was a third-inning, pinch-hit single to right by pitcher Clayton Richard. Not since Pittsburgh’s Mace Brown in 1935 had a non-starting pitcher got the only hit in a game.

So, top that Ty Blach.

He might have a chance were he lined up against the Dodgers. In five starts against the Dodgers — including Opening Day this season when he outdueled Clayton Kershaw — Blach has a 1.52 ERA.

Blach hasn’t been quite that tough on the Padres.

In five career appearances (four starts) against the Padres, Blach is 0-2 with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.176 WHIP. He is 0-1 in two starts at Petco Park with a 5.19 ERA.

The 6-foot-1, 213-pound Blach features a five-pitch mix and owns a 10-13 career record with a 4.41 ERA in 41 games (29 starts). He is not overpowering. But on the plus side, he’s one of the best defensive pitchers in the game. Blach is 1-1 this season with a 4.11 ERA.

Blach is paired against Padres right-hander Tyson Ross, who is 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA in his first three starts since returning to the Padres as a minor league free agent last winter. Ross had thoracic outlet surgery following the 2016 season.

“We’re not really worried about his health anymore,” Padres manager Andy Green recently said of Ross. “He proved this spring that he’s healthy. Now we need him to again be the pitcher he was.”

Ross owns a 3-4 career record against the Giants with a 3.61 ERA in 10 appearances. He has 57 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings. The Giants have hit .246 against Ross with a .332 on-base percentage.

Ross, however, has excellent numbers while at home in Petco Park. He is 13-17 in the Padres’ downtown home with a 2.84 ERA in 48 games (39 starts) with 266 strikeouts in 262 2/3 innings. Ross’ other figures at the Padres downtown home are just as formidable — a 1.112 WHIP, a .213 opponents’ batting average, a .281 opponents’ on-base percentage and a .346 slugging percentage for a .627 opposition OPS.

“We all know that Tyson’s slider is one of the best in the business,” Greren said recently. “That is his wipeout pitch. But he’s doing a better job commanding the fastball. If he’s got both those pitches working, he’s going to be successful. No one has worked harder to get back to where he was than Tyson Ross.”

Before injuring his shoulder, Ross was the Padres’ All-Star representative in 2014 when he finished 13-13 with a 2.81 ERA in 31 starts.

San Francisco’s Evan Longoria continues to dig himself out of an early-season slump, going 2-for-5 on Thursday to raise his average to .163 and giving him three hits in his last two games.