Marlins jump on Moore, sink Giants early
Giancarlo Stanton and Kelby Tomlinson have something in common: the pair are the last two righties to hit home runs to right field at AT&T Park.
Ok, so Tomlinson’s was an inside-the-park home run in 2015, one of his two career round-trippers occurring within months of each other. If we’re talking wall-clearers, Hunter Pence was the last– hitting a grand slam into Levi’s Landing, again in 2015.
The point is, this had only been done 41 times in AT&T Park history up until Friday night. Stanton made it 42, handing Matt Moore his loss just two at-bats into the Miami Marlins’s 6-1 win over the San Francisco Giants Friday night.
Stanton’s blast foreshadowed the inevitable: Moore allowed five runs in two innings, and it was no surprise. Moore has been inconsistent, erring to the side of disastrous nearly every time he takes the mound. After all but abandoning his cutter — he threw just two Friday — Moore hasn’t been able to find his put-away pitch, he said:
“When I’m ahead, I’m not putting it away.”
Moore’s walk rate has been in flux this season. He gave up six walks and allowed just one run in his last start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Moore slid to the other extreme Friday, said Bruce Bochy:
“He threw a lot of strikes, almost too much…He didn’t expand the zone when he needed to.”
The Marlins leapt on some good pitches and capitalized on the bounty served up in the zone. Stanton’s home run, off a changeup, jump started a devastating parade of long innings for Moore (L, 3-9), whose fresh 6.04 ERA put him back atop the ranks as the starter with the highest ERA in baseball. It was as if every Marlins hitter knew what was coming. Moore saw a six-hit, four-run, 36-pitch barrage of a first inning followed by a three-hit, one-run second.
Moore’s final start of the first half ended only as it should: 3-2/3 innings into the game with 70 pitches under his belt. Bochy said he and his staff are discussing how to approach the two-faced rotation during the team’s week off. Moore said he just needs a couple fishing trips, a couple rounds of golf to escape his head. The same Matt Moore who nearly no-hit the Dodgers and ushered the limping Giants to a playoff berth exists somewhere in this imposter, the tools are there. Moore approaches every start as if that guy isn’t far off:
“I think just trying to have something to set my sights on…I have the second half to figure out what’s keeping me from the seventh, eighth inning. That’s something I look forward to.”
Friday, though, there was no looking back.
Even a stingy bullpen — now owners of a 1.42 ERA over the last 10 games — couldn’t help much. Cory Gearrin struck out three over 2-2/3 innings, allowing a home run, and Josh Osich struck out two over two shutout innings. Kyle Krick pitched a perfect ninth. Iced at a six-run deficit, there would be no major late comeback this time.
Denard Span denied Dan Straily (W, 7-4, 3.31 ERA) his first career shutout, and complete game, with Splash Hit No. 74 one out into the ninth inning. Joe Panik doubled off Dustin McGowan to give the Giants just their fifth hit of the night and Buster Posey drew a two-out walk, but the biggest rally they mounted all night came too late and sputtered into dust — Brandon Belt was caught looking on a 3-2 fastball to end the game. The crowd booed.
There were some defensive highlights to cheer about, per usual. Brandon Crawford bare-handed a deflected Straily ground ball to end the third inning with runners threatening.
Posey made another solid play off Straily, hurling a squeaky bunt to second in time for Crawford to flip it for a double play.
Jeff Samardzija (4-9, 4.54 ERA) will take on Chris O’Grady in his major league debut Saturday. Johnny Cueto skipped his start Thursday with an ear infection. Bruce Bochy said there is a chance he will take over Matt Cain‘s spot for that start Sunday to round out the first half.
Austin Slater is headed to the DL after re-injuring his hip running out a ground ball in the eighth inning. He’ll get an MRI tomorrow and a week off to recover, fortunately. His hip has been bothering him for a few weeks, he said.