AT&T PARK — In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray has to repeat the same day — over and over — until he finally falls in love with Andie McDowell.
Since mid-May, Giants baseball has played out much like the whimsical 90s comedy, only their repeated mistakes are translating to losses — which continue to mount.
Like the game before, poor fielding ultimately resulted in a 6-1 defeat to the Brewers. Hard to believe this Giants club (50-63) is virtually the same team which won the World Series a year ago.
And it’s baffling to Madison Bumgarner (11-7, 2.75 ERA), who pitched great for seven innings until he and the Giants unraveled in the eighth.
Bumgarner — who was shown on television punching at the roof of the dugout after he was removed from the game — admits losing is taking it’s toll:
Giants Pitcher Madison Bumgarner
Video: CSN Bay Area
“We’ve had a lot of games like this this year. For whatever reason we don’t look like the same team we were last year even though we’ve got the same guys out there. It’s just not going our way.”
The Giants made solid contact but couldn’t buy a hit. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence each drove a ball into deep left center but both times, Carlos Gomez reached out and made the catch.
The lone run scored on a sac-fly by Posey in the bottom of the seventh but left-fielder Khris Davis made a highlight reel catch robbing Posey of a potential double.
The eighth inning was like a game of Jenga gone bad for San Francisco.
It fell apart in a hurry when Davis singled and Yuniesky Betancourt doubled. Jeff Bianchi followed with a grounder to short, scoring Davis. Brandon Crawford double-clutched and Bianchi beat the throw to first on what was ruled an infield single — though it should have been an error.
With runners at first and second, pinch-hitter Logan Schaefer laid down a bunt towards third. Big burly Pablo Sandoval charged the ball, but lost his footing and tried to backtrack to third.
Bumgarner fielded the bunted ball and threw it away to Sandoval, allowing Betancourt to score. It was a total lack of fundamentals on that play for both Sandoval and Bumgarner.
On that play, Schaefer and Bianchi were both in scoring position. After a pitching change for Santiago Casilla, Norichika Aoki put the finishing touches on the collapse with a two-run single to center.
Manager Bruce Bochy has run out of excuses and his comments were understandibly blunt:
Giants Manager Bruce Bochy
Video: CSN Bay Area
“Our execution killed us in the eighth. An infield hit that really hurt and not getting the out on the bunt. We’re playing like where we’re at (in the standings) right now. It shouldn’t happen but it did and to get this kind of pitching and not get some wins, shame on us.”
In the ninth, Barry Zito pitched in his first appearance since his demotion to the bullpen, and it was a disaster. Zito coughed up a towering home run to Davis and gave up a RBI single to pinch-hitter Martin Maldonado.
The Brewers scored six runs in the final two innings, delighting manager Ron Roenicke with a win against Bumgarner:
“We didn’t do a whole lot off of him but it’s nice. When you go up against a guy that’s that good you look at his numbers and his record, anytime you can win a game when he’s starting, it’s a great game.”
There likely isn’t a hollywood ending for the Giants this season.
Having lost four of five and 17 of their last 27 games, the season can’t end soon enough. The best hope is that the team continues to give it their best effort and work on individual goals for the remaining 49 games.
The Giants still need improvement at the leadoff spot. The combination of using Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence batting first are a combined 0-for-13. The Giants in this series alone are 2-for-25 with runners in scoring position and they’ve left a combined 21 men on base.
Gregor Blanco is batting.067 (3-for-45) since the All-Star break and will be given a few days off. … Jeff Francoeur started in center field for only the third time in his career. … Bumgarner’s streak of pitching seven innings giving up two earned runs or fewer ended at nine. The last pitcher to do it in ten starts was Gaylord Perry in 1969. … The Giants have gone 11 home games and 101 innings without a home run. Posey was the last Giant to homer — in the fifth inning on July 20 against Arizona’s Josh Collmenter.