AT&T PARK — It’s hard to imagine the Giants blowing a game worse than the way they did Tuesday night.
But they did.
For the second straight game, the Giants wasted a ninth-inning, game-tying home run only to lose in extra innings.
If the Giants take anything from the last two games, it’s keeping their focus and not daydreaming. Because teams that win capitalize on mistakes.
The Diamondbacks took advantage of Giant miscues in consecutive games to win two straight and take the series.
Arizona took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 9th thanks to a bloop hit that went for a double by the speedy Didi Gregorius. Geraldo Parra singled him in to score the go-ahead run.
Although Brandon Crawford nearly saved the day with his clutch game-tying home run in the bottom of the 9th, Will Nieves’ sacrifice fly in the 10th plated Paul Goldschmidt for the winning run as the Diamondbacks edged the Giants 3-2.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy didn’t sugarcoat how the lack of concentration by outfielders Andres Torres and Angel Pagan cost the team two wins:
Giants manager Bruce Bochy
“There’s a few things you can look at. There’s such a small margin of error. We did a great job of coming back after giving up the lead. Crawford with the home run…the last two nights, it was kind of the same deal, we couldn’t finish it off and the same hitter (Gregorius) hit a ball we couldn’t quite see and handle and he gets a double. Little things came back to get us.”
In the loss, Crawford was a triple shy of the cycle. Madison Bumgarner got no decision despite pitching 7-1/3 innings, scattering five hits and a run, walking one, and striking out seven.
Crawford was aware of the effort put on display by Gregorius:
Giants shortshop Brandon Crawford
“This is the first time I’ve seen him play but I’ve noticed every time he pops a ball up or every time he hits a ball he’s running hard out of the box and he kind of caught our outfielders sleeping a couple of times I think and stretched them into doubles.”
The Wednesday matinee played like a chess match for the first 6-1/2 innings. Each starting pitcher did their best to keep the game scoreless. Who would give in first?
Arizona’s best threat was in the top of the second. With one out, Aldredo Marte’s grounder eluded both Bumgarner and second baseman Marco Scutaro. A double by Gregorius put runners at second and third. Bumgarner then began a stretch retiring 17 of 18 batters faced from the second through the seventh inning.
In the top of the eighth, pinch hitter Eric Hinske doubled to left. Giants reliever Santiago Casilla warming up in the bullpen picked up the grounder as if it were foul, and had no idea he interfered with a ball in play.
A.J. Pollack followed with an RBI single to tie the game. Though the Hinske double had no effect on the eventual outcome of the game, the lack of concentration by the Giants was a harbinger of things to come.
With two outs in the top of the ninth, Gregorius hit a bloop to center field that was fielded casually by Pagan assuming the runner was content with a single. But Gregorius runs hard on every ball and slid into second with a double.
After an intentional walk to Cliff Pennington, Parra delivered a single to left to score the go-ahead run.
The game went to extra innings only because Crawford — with a flair for the dramatic — hit a game-tying home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth. It was the second time in two games the Giants hit a home run in the ninth inning only to lose in extra innings.
In the tenth, old friend Cody Ross — hero of the 2010 NLCS — came back to haunt his former mates.
After a one-out walk to Goldschmidt, Ross doubled to right. After an intentional walk to Miguel Montero loading the bases, Nieves hit the game winning sac-fly off Javier Lopez.
Ross says he enjoyed the reunion playing in San Francisco for the first time since he was a Giant two years ago. But more importantly, the Diamondbacks won the series:
Diamondbacks right fielder Cody Ross
“It’s fun to be back and I think last time I played here back in 2011, I had a terrible year and I think maybe the front office thought I didn’t have it in me anymore and fans probably thought the same and you know, I had a decent year (in Boston) last year and to come in here and play well and beat them two out of three…it feels good.”
The Giants still had hope in the bottom of the tenth when Brandon Belt doubled to left-center with two outs. But pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias grounded to short to end the game. When asked if Crawford could take the positives about rallying twice in two games to force extra innings, Crawford said:
“In the end it’s one win and two losses so I mean we all know we can come back. We’ve been doing it since last year and you can never count us out. We just couldn’t hold the lead this time.”
The Giants are off Thursday and begin a six-game road trip in San Diego on Friday. Tim Lincecum (2-0, 3.97) gets the ball opposed by Padres’ Andrew Cashner (0-1, 4.05). First pitch at 7:10 p.m.
The Giants dropped to 1-2 in rubber games this season. … San Francisco was 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left ten men on base. … Crawford’s home run was his fourth of the season, matching his career high set in 2012. … Arizona is 7-0 this season in the final game of a series.