Bryce Harper hits Giants when it hurts
AT&T PARK — If it’s trendy to save up all of your offense until the end of the ballgame and go into extra innings, you could consider the Giants the most stylish kids in school.
Wednesday afternoon’s game might have been more of a fashion misstep though, as the Giants dropped the series finale against the Washington Nationals, 2-1 in ten innings.
Bryce Harper went 2-for-5 with a home run, double, and two runs scored as reliever Jeremy Affeldt suffered the loss, with the victory going to Nats reliever Tyler Clippard.
Despite the defeat, manager Bruce Bochy said he was satisfied with how his team played over the course of the three-game series, particularly after the 1-5 road trip they’d just returned from:
“Coming off of a tough road trip, and these guys have bounced back well. And they have a history of doing that. … I’m sure it’s a tough loss today, but you have to be encouraged how we did play.”
The Giants were aiming for yet another sweep after taking the first two games against the Nationals. The skipper said he still felt they performed well Wednesday afternoon:
“We played well again today. … That game was pretty much what we thought it was going to be, a tight game. And, they came back. The tie. And our guy threw very well.”
“Our guy” being starter Madison Bumgarner, who went seven innings and allowed just one run and four hits in his fifth career start against Washington, posting five strikeouts and two walks throwing 115 pitches.
The matchup was a pitchers’ duel between the young southpaw and Gio Gonzalez for the vast majority of the ballgame. Gonzalez pitched 7-1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits while tallying five strikeouts.
Neither team was unable to crack the scoreboard until the 6th inning.
Harper ended the scoreless streak with an opposite field solo homer to lead off the 6th. On a 1-2 count, the left-handed Harper launched the ball over the 2010 and 2012 championship banners on the wall in left center. It was the only sign of offensive life from either team for the next few innings.
Gonzalez exited the game after walking Angel Pagan. Reliever Drew Storen subsequently walked Marco Scutaro, putting men in scoring position for Buster Posey. No. 28 lined the ball past shortstop Ian Desmond for an RBI single that brought Pagan home to tie the game at 1-1.
Neither could score again as the game entered extra innings. It was San Francisco’s eighth game this season and second in a row, that has gone past nine innings.
Affeldt gave up a double to Harper with one out in the tenth inning. The next batter, Desmond, sent the ball dribbling into right field, giving the hard-running Harper just enough time to score to give Washington the 2-1 advantage.
The tense sold-out crowd got on its feet as Scutaro came up to bat with two outs in the bottom of the 10th. 16 pitches into his at-bat with a 2-2 count — with a chance to get on base as the tying run and extend his personal hitting streak — The fans held their breath as Scutaro hit a towering fly ball to left fielder Roger Bernadina who caught the ball on the warning track for the final out.
The Giants continue their homestand Friday as Tim Lincecum (3-3, 4.70) will take the mound against Tyler Chatwood (2-0, 2.55) in the first of four games against the Colorado Rockies. First pitch is at 7:15 p.m.
Andres Torres was 2-for-4 with two doubles. He has five hits in his last nine at-bats. … The Giants are 4-4 in extra innings for the 2013 season. They are tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the most extra innings games in the Majors. … San Francisco went 1-for-10 Wednesday with men in scoring position. … Marco Scutaro had the longest active hitting streak in the Majors heading into Wednesday’s tilt at 19 games. The streak was snapped as he went 0-for-3 with two walks. … Bryce Harper is the second youngest player to hit a homer at AT&T Park at 20 years and 218 days old. The youngest is Miguel Cabrera, who was 20 year and 128 days old when hitting a homer at the ballpark in 2003. (Courtesy of David Feldman.)