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Giants bullpen stumbles, fall to D-Backs in series-opener

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The Giants (65-66) have stood firmly behind rookie Tyler Beede (L, 3-8, 5.56 ERA) in 2019, despite a pretty rough season and especially poor outings over the past four weeks, during which time the team went 0-6 in his starts heading into Monday’s outing.

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But, while not dominant, Beede was adequate facing the Diamondbacks in the homestand-opener at Oracle Park, and he put together his strongest performance in weeks. It was ultimately a hole the bullpen dug after Beede came out in the sixth, that San Francisco (65-66) could not climb out of in their 6-4 defeat at the hands of Arizona (66–66).

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

Beede left the Giants with two outs in the sixth down 3-1, and recent bullpen addition Fernando Abad coaxed a ground out to close the inning without giving up ground.

But Trevor Gott, got a pretty depressing 27th birthday gift Monday. He left the field with a trainer in the seventh after allowing a pair of walks and a single and abruptly losing his velocity.

Gott dealt with a right arm forearm strain earlier this season that shelved him for 13 games from June 19 to July 3. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he was removed from Monday’s contest with right forearm tightness again and the team is waiting on diagnostics to determine the extent of the injury. Either way, the skipper expects he will be out for at least a few days:

“Curt [Young] went and checked on him there and you know he was getting up there a little bit [in pitch count] and he assured him he was fine, he felt good. Then we could see him after a pitch or two he was kind of shaking his arm a little bit so that’s why we went out and got him.”

Bochy handed the ball to Shaun Anderson with an eye toward extinguishing the fire, but the rookie allowed a two-run single to put the Diamondbacks up 5-2, before getting the Giants off the field. It and the eighth-inning solo homer Anderson allowed off the bat of Adam Jones (15) were back-breakers.

Especially because the Giants offense watched several rallies go down the drain over the course of nine innings.

In the first, they got a man into scoring position with no outs, on the first of three D-Backs errors.

Facing southpaw Alex Young (W, 6-3, 3.81 ERA) Donovan Solano led off with a grounder to short that Nick Ahmed airmailed. All the Giants could muster were a pair of ground outs from Austin Slater and Buster Posey to score Solano.

In a bid to keep the rally moving against the rattled rookie starter, Evan Longoria singled to center. But  Kevin Pillar made out No. 3 on a firstpitch infield fly out.

Beede then gave the run right back. Wilmer Flores just missed a ball Beede threw right down the pike in the top of the second, fouling it off, much to the Giants relief. But Flores didn’t miss a middle-in 93-mph fastball that followed, swatting it up the middle to open the frame with a single.

Josh Rojas took up the charge when he came up next and knocked a changeup that leaked over the plate to Austin Slater in right to put two on with no outs.

Beede said he felt his command was better and he was able to more consistently repeat his pitching motion than in recent starts, but he noted that one thing he was unhappy with Monday was how many pitches he left over the plate:

“The more that I can stay on the corners and get ahead, I think obviously with the stuff that I have there will be more successful outings more outings like tonight where we’re in the ball game and have a chance to win.”

Beede got Ahmed to ground into a double play, but a run scored.

From there the Giants rookie cruised through the third, fourth and fifth innings, though, and the offense had a shot to take the lead in the fifth inning when Brandon Crawford led off with a single.

But Beede failed to bunt Crawford over, and the best Solano could do was ground out to move Crawford to second. Slater reached first on Arizona’s second error at the hands of third baseman Eduardo Escobar, moving Crawford to third. But Posey whiffed, bringing his tally of stranded runners up to three to that point.

Beede seemed to lose his touch quite abruptly in the sixth after a couple of routine ground outs to Crawford at shortstop to open the sixth. Evan Longoria committed an error that allowed Escobar to reach and things went downhill from there. Beede said he didn’t lose his confidence or control in that moment, though:

“I got right back after Walker that next at-bat and got ahead. And then I felt like I made a decent pitch there 1-1, I probably could have went slider or threw something different but I was convicted and I still felt in control at that point.”

The 26-year-old right-hander left a fastball over the plate to Christian Walker, who knocked it to center for a single, moving Escobar to third. Next came a wild pitch to Flores to score Escobar and put the Diamondbacks ahead, 2-1.

Ultimately he would cough up a single to Flores, the second baseman’s third of the evening, allowing another run to score and it would be the last pitch he threw.

The Giants had a chance to pick Beede and Anderson up with a sixth-inning rally, but they couldn’t follow through. Pillar knocked a one-out single to center and advanced on a passed ball to Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly with Abiatal Avelino at the plate.

Avelino came up with a single of his own, scoring Pillar for his first big-league RBI and chasing Young from the game.

Then Brandon Belt, who’s been struggling mightily at the plate, was clutch facing lefty-reliever T.J. MacFarland with a bloop single off the glove of Rojas in left to keep the line moving.

But when Brandon Crawford continued the rally with another single, Avelino blew right through third-base coach Ron Wotus’ stop sign and was thrown out easily on a put-out from right fielder Jarrod Dyson.

Bochy said Avelino must have missed Wotus’ sign in the excitement of the moment:

“That hurt, there’s no getting around it. He’s like a wild horse out there and he just didn’t see the stop sign.”

Pinch-hitter Alex Dickerson came in for Abad and drew a walk to load the bases, but Solano struck out looking against Matt Andriese, and the Giants failed to take advantage of what could have been a big inning.

Beede didn’t bomb in his 19th start of the season. He kept the Giants in it against the Wild Card-rival Diamondbacks, allowing just three runs (one earned). He wasn’t dominant in the way the Giants have seen occasional flashes of, but he is proud of the progress he’s made:

“I’ve been making adjustments, I don’t try to go out and do the same thing each week per se and just try to roll out there and hope it works out. In past starts, I’ve been taking positives out and even though the big picture hasn’t been great, tonight was more evidence of the work that I’ve been putting in.”

He didn’t overpower the D-Backs hitters with a ton of strikeouts—he struck out four. He didn’t drastically limit their hits—he allowed six.

But he also didn’t allow any walks for just the fourth time all season. 

He didn’t allow the Diamondbacks to take him deep, though he’s averaging 2.1 homers per nine innings in 2019.

And he didn’t get bogged down in full counts and long at-bats. He’d thrown just 88 pitches in 5-2/3 innings and 13 of those came with two outs in the sixth after he came unraveled, before that he was economical. 

He said it’s a step in the right direction:

“My biggest goal today was just to go out there and attack the zone with first-pitch strikes and I did a good job with that. When I’m in better counts, it’s usually a better outcome.”

Bochy said he was happy to see Beede’s improvement, despite the loss:

“He should feel good about this outing, I thought he had all-around better stuff and command. He looked very composed out there tonight, pitching very efficiently, too. This was a good outing for him we just couldn’t get some runs, but he had us there in the game.”

San Francisco made a last gasp in the ninth when Scooter Gennett led off taking first after whiffing for strike three on a wild pitch that got away from Kelly. Gennett advanced to second on a ground ball up the middle from Stephen Vogt. Ketel Marte failed to field the ball from Ahmed at short cleanly and both runners were safe on a third and final D-Backs error.

Posey had yet another chance to come up big for the club, but the most he could muster was a fly ball that advanced Gennett to third. Critics have called for Posey to be moved out of the three-spot in the lineup, but Bochy was pretty unequivocal when asked about it:

“He’s still such a good hitter. He’s had a couple games here where it hasn’t gone well, but two nights ago he squared up on the ball every at-bat. These guys are who we will win with and I’m staying with ‘em”

A Longoria sac fly and Pillar double added on two more for San Francisco, and Bochy even risked using Mike Yastrzemski off the bench, who was said to be off-limits as he recovers from a contusion after getting plunked in the hand in Oakland Sunday. But Yaz struck out to close the book on the comeback.

Up Next

Jeff Samardzija (9-10, 3.44 ERA) will face former-Giant Mike Leake (9-10, 4.77 ERA) Tuesday in the second game of the two-game set with the Diamondbacks. First pitch is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. at Oracle Park.


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