There's a good chance that Trevor Cahill's roughest start in a Padres uniform won't be his last start in a Padres uniform.
The pitcher coughed up a season-high six runs in a marathon Friday at AT&T Park — after 11 innings and nearly five hours, the Padres clinched a 12-9 victory — and interested teams likely will want to see one more performance before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Long after Cahill's exit, the Padres rode a wave of offense to a post-midnight celebration. Hector Sanchez, Matt Szczur and Jose Pirela all finished a hit shy of the cycle.
Going into his latest display, Cahill had proven a shrewd signing. The right-hander, who accepted a one-year, $1.75 million deal to pitch for his hometown club, had recorded a 3.14 ERA and average 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings. External attention on the Oceanside native had been renewed after a solid return from the disabled list.
But owing to a pair of injuries — first, a mild back strain; more recently, a shoulder strain that sidelined him for several weeks — Cahill, who spent the last two seasons as a reliever, was making only his 11th start for San Diego. How he fared Friday would be of significance.
"The fact he knows it's an audition adds a little bit of pressure," a rival scout said. "Good to see how guys do this week."
While some sloppy defense offered no assistance, Cahill looked off from the start. In the first inning, he ceded four runs on four hits and a walk.
"We didn't do much defensively behind him," manager Andy Green said. "He definitely wasn't sharp tonight, but we didn't do anything to help him."
Cahill continued to waver into the third, when he issued a leadoff walk that came around to score. In the fourth, he was lifted after consecutive two-out free passes.
Cahill's final line, at a critical time of year: 3 2/3 innings, seven hits, six runs (five earned), four walks, a strikeout. He threw 86 pitches, including 43 balls and a couple of wild pitches, one allowing the Giants to score.
"That curveball he throws that's straight down and people bite on, he was pulling that out of the zone, so it didn't appear as a strike," Green said. "I think also, for him, Austin Hedges (currently on the disabled list) has done such a tremendous job of blocking his curveball in the dirt that when a couple get by another catcher, he gets a little bit hesitant and doesn't finish through that aggressively. Because of that he starts babying the curveball a little bit."
For the Giants, fellow trade candidate Jeff Samardzija also struggled, yielding five runs over 4 1/3 innings. The damage against him included a home run by Hector Sanchez, who continues to haunt his former team. Just this season, the reserve catcher has gone deep four times when facing San Francisco.
"It's fun playing against those guys, because that was my team for a long time," said Sanchez, who has started five of the last seven games, with four homers over that span. "But it's just my job. … I'm just happy to have the opportunity to help my team get Ws."
Sanchez would finish a triple shy of the cycle.
"Offensively, we've always loved what he does," Green said. "Hector's just been limited in opportunity this year. But the bat's real."
Craig Stammen, who relieved Cahill and who has received modest trade interest, threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings. After walking and scoring a run in the top of the sixth, Stammen attempted to take the mound for the bottom of the inning. Before he could continue, however, he was forced to exit the game with what Green described as a mild hamstring injury.
"First to third by a pitcher isn't something you ask them to do very often," Green said. "Hopefully it's not a big deal."
A single by Carlos Asuaje had pulled the Padres even with the Giants in the sixth. The night was still young then.
In the top of the seventh, Wil Myers broke the tie with a solo home run.
The Padres extended the lead to 9-6 in the eighth.
In the bottom of the inning, Brad Hand, the Padres' biggest trade asset, yielded a softly hit single. He struck out all three of the other batters he faced.
Another reliever who might soon be on the move faltered in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Padres closer Brandon Maurer surrendered an RBI single. The next batter, Conor Gillaspie, blasted a game-tying home run.
The homer was Gillaspie's first of the season. The blown save was Maurer's first since mid-May.
In the top of the 11th, Szczur ended the deadlock with an RBI single, his career-high fourth hit of the night. The reserve outfielder, who had entered in the fourth as a defensive substitution, fell a home run short of the cycle. He later acknowledged that, with the Padres leading by three, he had swung for the fences in the ninth. (He struck out.)
"But in the 11th, I wasn't," Szczur said. "I was just trying to get on base and make things happen."
Szczur started a trend. Pirela, who also finished a homer shy, followed with an RBI single, making it 11-9. Asuaje added one of his own.
"That's as resilient as we've been all year long," Green said. "It was good at-bat after good at-bat. It was a group of guys having a good time competing today. We were sloppy, too. There's no other way to say it."
Though it ultimately took four hours and 46 minutes, the offense proved the decider. The Padres finished with 20 hits, their most in a game since they amassed 20 on June 2, 2016, against Seattle, and tied for the fourth-most in AT&T Park history.
Szczur, Pirela and Asuaje each collected four hits. Sanchez notched a trio.
Rookie Phil Maton threw two spotless innings to record his second career win.