The Giants were all smiles after last night’s victory and ring ceremony, but those hoping for an early season turnaround left sorely disappointed Sunday afternoon.
Instead it was more of the same from San Francisco, who fell to Arizona 5-1 in front of their 334th-consecutive sellout crowd, losing the series and their ninth in ten games overall.
On the bright side, it only took San Francisco three batters to give starter Tim Hudson his first run of support in 2015. Unfortunately, it would be the only support he received all afternoon.
Paul Goldschmidt lived up to his Giant slayer moniker in the first inning, yanking the first pitch he saw from Hudson (L, 0-2, 3.93 ERA) into the left field bleachers to put the visitors up 2-0 just minutes after first pitch. The homer was Goldschmidt’s fifth of the season, and extended his hitting streak to seven games.
The run would be the last of the day for San Francisco, who scattered eight hits off Arizona starter Jeremy Hellickson, but were once again unable to take advantage of runners on base.
Hellickson (W, 1-2, 4.58 ERA) finished his best start of the season only allowing 1 earned run in 6-2/3 innings and walking just one batter.
The Giants grounded into three double plays and couldn’t catch a break on a number of hard-hit balls that might’ve gone for hits on a different day.
After a memorable Saturday evening where Giants starting pitcher Tim Hudson received his first World Series ring after 15 years of major league service, the 39-year-old had a day to forget.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
A poor third inning spelled Hudson’s demise, with the right-hander giving up three runs on 31 pitches. He hit Jordan Pacheco in the back with the bases loaded before giving up a two-run single to Chris Owings on an 0-2 fastball over the plate.
The turning point in both the inning and the game came on a close 3-2, two-out pitch to Aaron Hill that was called a ball, loading the bases and sending manager Bruce Bochy into a fury in the Giants dugout. The walk extended the inning, leading to a three-run rally for Arizona. Hudson said that pitch and the Goldschmidt illustrate the fine line between success and failure:
“Bring back two pitches and it would be 1-0. It’s pretty much that simple. If the call goes our way in the third inning … and a little better pitch to Goldschmidt on the first pitch of that at bat, we’d be having a totally different conversation here.”
Both Owings and A.J. Pollack had three-hit days. Pollock also hurt the Giants with his glove, robbing Tim Hudson of a would-be RBI single with a diving catch in center field in the second.
The play added to a frustrating day for Hudson, who gave up six hits, five earned runs and struck out six in five innings.
The Giants trotted out a somewhat unconventional lineup Sunday, with Brandon Belt playing in left field for the first time since 2012. Bochy wanted to keep the struggling Belt in the lineup and give Posey a break behind the dish. Belt responded with his first multi-hit game of the season.
George Kontos continued his impressive start to the season, retiring all six batters he faced in two innings of relief. The Giants bullpen has a whole pitched well, with Kontos, Machi and Affeldt combining for four innings of shutout relief.
The Giants have their first day off of 2015 on Monday, after playing 14 consecutive days to start the season. Joe Panik said he welcomes a day to regroup:
“When you have those days off you have to go out, go see a movie, just do something that gets your mind away from the game … Do something different.”
The Giants host the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-game series starting Tuesday night. San Francisco dropped the season series last year against Los Angeles (9-3), going just 3-6 at AT&T Park.