SAN DIEGO -- In the aftermath of a great game gone sour, Giants pitcher Matt Herges didn't feel badly at all -- for himself.
Herges had watched all Thursday night as San Diego Padres fans stared in awe at baseball's latest wonderland, spanking-new PETCO Park, watched as old-timer David Wells seemed younger than his 41 years and dazzled San Francisco over seven scoreless innings, watched as the Giants awakened with a vengeance and came within an out of victory.
Then watched in horror as the pitcher in whom he has utmost confidence -- that man in the clubhouse mirror -- would throw 42 pitches in only 1 2/3 frames, allowing the Padres to eventually pull out a 4-3 triumph in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Worse -- much worse -- Herges witnessed rookie David Aardsma try to rescue the Giants, only to see the kid yield a smoking RBI double to Miguel Ojeda and a Sean Burroughs single that dropped into left field, scoring Ojeda and causing Herges to fall into a quick depression.
Oh, he'll pitch again, this 34-year-old veteran, but he epitomizes an arm-weary, suddenly thin San Francisco bullpen not even a week into the season, and the right-hander chastised himself for a poor performance, and regretting Aardsma even appeared in the game.
Matt Herges / P
Weight: 200 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: R
"I didn't get it done -- twice," said Herges, giving himself no excuses, even if he has appeared in three of the club's four games this week. "You lose as a team and win as a team but I flat-out didn't get it done. Everybody else did their job and then some and I had two opportunities to shut it down and I didn't do it.
"That's not good," said the right-handed reliever. "It hurts. It hurts because I let everybody down."
A 13-pitch at-bat against Burroughs preceding the Padres star's critical single was the key, felt Herges.
"I just never made that pitch, the out pitch," said Herges. "I was one pitch away and didn't do it, and then I hung a changeup and he hit it up the middle. That's frustrating."
Herges said he doesn't have an answer for why he couldn't finish off the Padres after a brilliant spring and then throwing zeroes over 2 1/3 innings against Houston. One of those games. He called it humbling and especially painful because he was facing his former team, that Marquis Grissom should have been the hero with his 10th-inning solo homer off Antonio Osuna that boosted the Giants into a 3-2 lead.
And sending Aardsma into the fire was the worst blow.
"It's an awesome ballpark. They fought back and did the job, but I didn't," said Herges. "It's a tough one to swallow. For David, I'll just pat him on the butt and shake it off. He shouldn't have been in there in the first place. I put him in that situation and it's all on me. He was throwing strikes out of the gate. Putting him in there breaks my heart."
There wasn't much else manager Felipe Alou could do except put 22-year-old Aardsma into the fray, as reliever Leo Estrella had been sub-par over two games and Kevin Walker had a 20.25 ERA.
At the game's onset, noise that covered the multimedia spectrum -- video, music, voices -- abounded in the festive opening of the high-tech ballpark, and for the Giants there was barely a murmur of offense for much of the contest.
Padres starter David Wells, a beefy 41-year-old returning to his Southern California roots, handled San Francisco's lineup like a stevedore hefting boxes of tissues over the first six innings, allowing but three singles.
Barry Bonds / LF
Weight: 230 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
There was a moment that might have been historic in the sixth as Barry Bonds -- seeking to tie Willie Mays' career 660 homers -- launched a deep shot to center field, but it was hauled down near the fence by Jay Payton for the third out.
Although Giants starter Dustin Hermanson pitched well, giving up only five hits and one run over six frames, the veteran hated to see the game slip away.
"Wells pitched a great game and we had opportunities but couldn't hold onto them," said Hermanson. "That's the way it goes sometimes. It was good to pitch well against a team that released you. They battled hard and sometimes you just have to tip your cap."
The Giants have an off-day on Friday, then face the Padres again at 7:05 p.m. PT Saturday at PETCO Park, with Kirk Rueter (0-0) opposing Brian Lawrence (1-0).
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.