These comebacks have all been brilliant, but everything else needs to go right if the San Francisco Giants want to convert these inspiring moments into wins. They’ve have been ridiculously adept at making deficits go away so far this season, something that happened in all three games of this series against the Arizona D-Backs. But they’re still heading to San Diego with a two-game losing streak.
“There’s such a small margin of error,” Bruce Bochy said. “Last two nights it’s kind of the same deal. Couldn’t finish it off.”
Madison Bumgarner deserved a better fate. And after getting almost no credit whatsoever for an excellent sacrifice bunt that preceded Brandon Belt’s walk-off single on Monday night, Brandon Crawford should’ve been the offensive hero today based on three plate appearances.
- His single in the fifth inning was the Giants’ first hit off Ian Kennedy.
- His double in the seventh knocked in Gregor Blanco to break a 0-0 tie.
- His home run into the right field arcade off David Hernandez to lead off the bottom off the ninth tied the game at 2-2.
Crawford’s slash line is now .320/.393/.573, and he currently leads all Giants regulars in each category. Meanwhile, Marco Scutaro has done absolutely nothing in 20 games but is entrenched as the No. 2 hitter. If Crawford and Scutaro keep playing the way they have so far, Bochy may have to seriously consider making a lineup swap.
Bumgarner was so good that Bochy didn’t want to take him out for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh with Crawford on third and one out. Crawford was stranded after Bumgarner struck out and Angel Pagan grounded out. Then a familiar burr in the Giants’ saddle, Eric Hinske, led off the eighth with a pinch-hit double which later turned into a run on a single by the next hitter, A.J. Pollock. Bumgarner, who struck out seven and allowed six baserunners in 7.1 innings, had this to say about Hinske’s double.
“Made a good pitch. It was on the outside corner, it looked like to me. He was obviously looking for something out there. He dove across the plate, pushed it that way. Maybe if it was down, get a ground ball. But it was a pretty decent pitch, I thought.”
– Santiago Casilla made a play that was the fielding equivalent of a Santiago Casilla plate appearance. Between warmup pitches in the bullpen, he leaned over and caught Hinske’s double. “I don’t know what Casilla was thinking,” Bochy said. I wish I could’ve heard what Bochy said to Casilla after giving him the ball when he replaced Bumgarner a few minutes later — that conversation definitely lasted a little while longer than usual.
– Remember Andres Torres’ brain Machi last night on a ball hit by Didi Gregorius? Pagan helped jog everyone’s memory in the ninth. Gregorius hit a shallow fly ball in the ninth that Pagan initially broke back on. The ball fell in front of Pagan, who took his sweet time getting the ball back into the infield. As a result, Gregorius easily took second and would later score to give Arizona a 2-1 lead.
If you want to see how two people can see the same thing and process it in completely different ways, I present Pagan and Bochy after the game.
Bochy: “Us as outfielders, we definitely got to probably pick it up a little bit as far as getting the ball in and not take for granted that it’s a single, because (Gregorius) kept running both plays and we let him get to second base.”
Pagan: “Couldn’t get the throw in time. That’s what (Gregorius) is supposed to do. Nothing you can do about it.”
– However, Pagan did save Hunter Pence when the right fielder lost a fly ball in the sun.
– Chad Gaudin was the latest Giants pitcher to get burned by Paul Goldschmidt, who walked on five pitches in the 10th and later scored after a Cody Ross (yeah, him again) double and a sacrifice fly by Wil Nieves. Goldschmidt went 3-for-9 with a double, a homer and four walks in the series.
– You’d figure the Giants should’ve been able to muster some sort of rally against Heath Bell, but Bell hasn’t allowed a run in six straight appearances after giving up four earned runs and eight hits in his first three. Oh, who am I kidding. The Giants only scored 21 runs in this six-game homestand. If it weren’t for the starting pitchers generally performing either really good (Bumgarner, Barry Zito, Tim Lincecum) or good enough (Ryan Vogelsong, Matt Cain), the Giants would have finished 2-4 instead of 4-2. The Giants hit some home runs at AT&T, but the offense isn’t exactly rolling.
– Guillermo Quiroz caught Bumgarner today, and the writing seems to be on the wall: Hector Sanchez hasn’t looked that sharp in limited action after spending the Spring nursing a sore shoulder, and should probably be playing every day in Fresno. The Giants don’t need three catchers, and Quiroz and Bumgarner have worked well since March. I asked Bumgarner about throwing to Quiroz after the game, and here’s what he said.