Bungling Giants lose, snap 530-game sellout streak

Why are the Giants so awful this year? They’re under-performing in every facet, to put it simply.

The most glaring of them all, given the team’s past dedication to pristine pitching, is the rotation’s struggles to keep their mistakes under control, especially with two strikes — Matt Moore chief among them.

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

Moore has all but abandoned his cutter and struggled to find his fastball command amid a 5.90 ERA-type of season. After a bullpen session, Moore knew his next start would be better:

“Walking away from it I was wishing I was in the game.”

That momentum fell into his Monday start as he sprinkled his cutter back into the mix. He surrendered just two earned runs to the offense-heavy Cleveland Indians over seven innings, striking out five. It was the kind of start that warranted a fourth win based on those numbers alone, said Bruce Bochy:

“He had good command tonight of all his pitches…He was throwing with confidence, save for what happened there. He’s 15 feet from first base, just waited too long.”

Oh yes, the caveat. The context:

Moore’s strong night on the mound would be squandered by an inescapable propensity for error. With a runner in scoring position and two outs in his favor, Moore (L, 3-10, 5.81 ERA) knocked down Bradley Zimmer‘s ground ball headed for the gap and lobbed a moonshot over first baseman Jae-gyun Hwang‘s head.

The runner scored and Moore had to deal 12 more pitches that inning, allowing the game-tying run to score and secure the Indians’ 5-3 win over the Giants Monday night. It was a throw Moore had never made on field before, he said, but a quick-running Francisco Lindor made him stutter:

“As soon as I let it go I knew it was too high … I probably should have ran it over and thrown under. That was the big dark spot because it cost us the game.”

Only two times this season had the offense provided Moore a lead upon his exit. Without the mental mishap, it looked like the Giants could help out.

Moore pitched efficiently and effectively through four, limiting Cleveland to one run — a Brandon Guyer first-pitch home run — and two hits on 60 pitches. The bats answered.

Joe Panik flew home on a questionable send by Phil Nevin on Gorkys Hernandez‘s RBI double. Francisco Lindor threw on point home, nabbing Panik, but a replay review deemed him safe when Yan Gomes put on a less-than-perfect tag to tie the game. Moore gave himself the lead with a bloop RBI single hit past a shallow infield.

Buster Posey read perfectly Brandon Crawford‘s double off the bricks the following inning, allowing him to score what felt like a cushion run, putting the Giants up 3-1 to start the fifth.

His miscue tied the game but Hwang — who was in at first for the first time as a big leaguer — made another on Guyer’s sac bunt with a runner in scoring position when his throw sailed past Panik into left field. The go ahead run scored and the Indians kept their lead for good. Unfamiliarity, too, cost the Giants the game, said Bochy:

“He’s just not accustomed to making that throw…Defense is a large part of the game and that’s what did us in tonight.”

Up next

Ty Blach (6-5, 4.60 ERA) takes on on Mike Clevinger (5-3, 3.00 ERA) in Game 2 of this interleague series.

Notes

Brandon Belt sprained his wrist Saturday, but is making good progress and could return this series. … The infamous sellout streak officially ended Monday night at 530 games, dating back to October 1, 2010. It was the longest active streak in baseball and is the longest in National League history, second only in the MLB to Fenway Park’s 794-game streak. Bruce Bochy wanted to thank the fans for sticking with his team:

“One constant has been our support and we couldn’t thank them enough. … There’s not a place in baseball like what we have here, it’s unmatched.”


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.