Vogelsong topples Giants in AT&T homecoming

Monday night’s crowd saw a homecoming and a debut; a broken streak and a warm comeback story.

Matt Moore made his AT&T Park debut in front of an expectant crowd — the team gave up Matt Duffy for this guy — and didn’t take the chance to show them the real Matt Moore.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.

The real Matt Moore had accumulated eight consecutive quality starts and given up just four runs in his two Giants starts. The real Matt Moore can rebound from multiple-walk innings and establish his command. For 3-1/3 innings of no-hit ball, at least, they got a little peak.

In that fourth inning, though, Moore (L, 7-9, 4.14 ERA) gave up four hits and three runs, relinquishing an early 2-0 lead that opened up the Pirates’ 8-5 win over the Giants. Moore wanted to hold on:

“Coughing up the lead stinks.”

But one missed spot slashed the deepest cut: Moore’s pitch that was supposed to go up and away to Gregory Polanco landed right in the sweet spot of the zone. Polanco splashed it for a two-run homer and put the Pirates up by three runs.

Fellow lefty Polanco was supposed to be a sure out, Moore noted:

“I’m capable of getting him out there more times than not.”

So this wasn’t an ideal debut for Moore. But the fans did get to see Ryan Vogelsong, who returned from a brutal eye injury just in time to face his old team on his old mound.

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

Vogelsong (W, 2-2, 3.20 ERA) got off to a rough start, though. He walked in a run in a 24-pitch first inning and was tagged for another run in the third on a Hunter Pence RBI single.

He went into cruise control through the middle innings before Eduardo Nuñez and Denard Span both took him deep in the sixth to put the Giants within one run. The homers pushed Vogelsong off his old mound, but every fan stood up to applaud him as he left for the dugout.

And Vogelsong broke his game face for just a bit to acknowledge them, doffing his cap and waving.

That sweet moment–Vogelsong departed, in line for at least a win and a Giants comeback at least in sight–crashed down within minutes. George Kontos came in relief and let them answer with a two-run seventh, said Bochy:

“We got back in the game and our bullpen was leaking.”

The difference in this one came down to defense, really.

The Giants offense was a mere inch from a comeback when Andrew McCutchen laid to rob Nuñez of a sure-fire two-run hit that would have put the Giants within one run again. Nuñez thought he had it off the bat, but wasn’t surprised to see Cutch come up with it:

“That’s why he’s one of the best.”

Francisco Cervelli made a perfect tag on Trevor Brown in the second inning as he tried to score in the second inning off Span’s single. So there was another run squandered. There’s no fooling this Pittsburgh defense.

The Giants had a counter act, at least.

Hunter Pence tripped over the bullpen and made a rally-stopping third out catch on his back. Eduardo Nuñez made two big outs the following inning, throwing out McCutchen from his butt and David Freese from his knees. The crowd erupted, but Bochy wasn’t phased:

“Yeah, I’ll be honest, I’ve seen him make acrobatic catches out there so I wasn’t surprised.”


Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.