Giants dig a hole just a bit too deep
The Giants’ 8-6 loss Friday night to the Rockies couldn’t help being a bit of a letdown after a 19-hit, 13-run win one day before.
The same hard-hitting squad was just inches away from that late-inning comeback that came so naturally on Thursday.
Sparse San Francisco rallies were few and far to in between. They had one in the sixth down 3-1, when Duffy blooped a two-out single to right and Buster Posey followed with another single. Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford tied it all up with consecutive RBI singles.
The Giants attempted a ninth-inning comeback off Padres’ reliever Tommy Kahnle. Two walks and a wild pitch put Crawford and Justin Maxwell in scoring position. Another wild pitch scored Crawford to give the Giants four runs. Travis Ishikawa walked and Gregor Blanco sent an RBI single to right to score Maxwell, cutting the deficit to 8-5. Joe Panik launched another RBI single to center, scoring Ishikawa. The Giants were within two with two runners on.
Matt Duffy almost squeezed out a potential game-tying RBI when he launched a line drive that bounced just left of the line. He struck out the next pitch. Bruce Bochy and his team looked at the bright side:
“It would have been nice if the ball had dropped in.”
And on the ninth inning:
“It’s all you can ask. They were fighting.”
“If that ball hits the line, its a tie ball game. Or we have a runner in scoring position with the best hitter in the league up.”
Posey drew a full count with two outs, but struck out to end the game with two aboard. Cue the awkward fireworks.
It’s been a tumultuous week for the Giants. Outfielders like Angel Pagan, whose wall collision has him day-to-day with a bruised knee, are dropping to injuries like flies, forcing the Giants to act quickly. Top outfield prospect Mac Williamson was promoted to Triple-A Sacramento earlier today from Richmond to cushion Jarrett Parker. Bochy said they want him warmed up:
“He needs playing time, we want to push him a little … Like you saw with Belt and Crawford, we’re not afraid to push these people.”
While the Giants are preparing for the worst with this very thin outfield, one guy is providing a bit of relief.
Andrew Susac, with a little more playing time, is showing off that shiny swing. Today he relieved the four-inning scoreless drought with a solo shot deep to left field. He started his second game of the homestand behind the dish, allowing Posey to take over first and Belt to slide into left field.
Belt in left isn’t ideal — he morphed back into that baby giraffe he’s so nicknamed for, wobbling when faced with a tall fly ball — but can contribute offensively and a run-producing Susac becomes more than filler at catcher. He’s grown to understand the ballpark:
“We know this park plays big, we know we have that line drive approach.”
Expect to see Susac behind the dish a lot more while the outfield recovers. He said after the game he and Tim Hudson were clicking:
“Huddy and I got on the same groove. I thought he did a great job of staying in the game.”
Tim Hudson fought valiantly for his spot in the rotation in his start, allowing five runs on 10 hits in 6-2/3 innings. He kept up four about five innings, but once Colorado’s hitters began to beat the shift, he got into trouble. The heart of Colorado’s lineup, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez pulled a few costly hits in the sixth and Nolan Arenado smashed his 21st home run of the season. A three run homer. Huddy was frustrated:
“I threw a fastball up, that’s a pitch I wish I could have back … I felt like we were one pitch from shutting out. It was a frustrating game. I felt like we had the game in hand up until that inning.”
Talk of the rotation changes must be hard to avoid, but Hudson is having not part in said talk:
“They have to do what’s best for the team everybody here knows that … It’s out of my pay grade to make that decision.”
Lopez had allowed only one run in his first 23 appearances. He gave up three in his 24th.
A sign, perhaps, that this bullpen is worn down, though Bochy and his team insisted the ‘pen was fresh. Jeremy Affeldt took a trip to the 15-day DL today with a strained left shoulder, Bochy said before the game it was something he’d been dealing with for a while:
“It was a gradual thing, more tired than anything … Down in L.A. he threw great, he’s been battling this for a little while. This gives him time off here.”
With that, Lopez becomes the only lefty reliever in the ‘pen. Righty flamethrower Mike Broadway was called up to take Affeldt’s place. He pitched the eighth and two outs of the ninth, before allowing Carlos Gonzalez’s fifth hit of the game, letting him score on a wild pitch, then serving up Nolan Arenado‘s 22nd home run of the season and second of the game, to put the score at 8-3.
Then, the quasi-comeback, that fell just short.
Matt Cain pitched 5-1/3 innings and gave up four hits and two runs in his start for the River Cats Thursday. He also struck out four, walked two. That could be his last rehab start, and Bochy said he was pleased with it. … Jake Peavy started Friday night and things went a little differently. He had a rough first inning, giving up five runs, but calmed down and lasted six innings in a 6-3 loss.