Pablo Sandoval

Giants suffer tough loss that they can’t really complain about

After the Giants Machi’d the Pirates to pieces last night, they might have needed a loss like this as a reminder that May 6 is far too early for any team to start thinking they’re destined for anything … besides 130 more games. Some will end like the six wins before today, and others will end in losses that seem unfair like tonight.

Tim Hudson pitched a complete game and lost, because the Giants hit the way they did in mid-April and this offense usually struggles when they don’t hit balls out of the park. Also, Ehire Adrianza is a kid who’s near the bottom of a 40-man roster that could see a change in the coming days, and he appears to be trying to do too much.

Just like it’s unfair that Hudson was tagged with a loss (I’ve probably written about pitchers’ wins and losses more in the last 24 hours than the previous five years combined), it seems wrong to place all the blame on Adrianza since he’s the one who drove in the Giants’ only run on a sacrifice fly.

He also collected one of the Giants’ five hits, but he only spent about two minutes at first base before getting picked off. But that miscue was a cute sidelight compared to his misguided throw on the game’s final play. Starling Marte drove one high off the right field wall. By the time Hunter Pence’s throw reached Adrianza, Marte was starting his slide into third. Adrianza threw a bullet that Pablo Sandoval couldn’t catch or stop (Sandoval told Henry Schulman that Marte accidentally kicked his glove, otherwise he would’ve come up with the ball), but Sandoval made a quick recovery as the ball bounced off the side wall. His throw home appeared to beat Marte, who was called out.

Extra innings! Again! Yay.

In the end, everyone ended up heading home at a reasonable hour after the call was overturned and the Pirates were awarded the game-winning run. It was the first ever triple+error+replay=walk-off to bite the Giants on the backside.

As a moment, it wasn’t nearly as memorable as Machi’s bunt and sprint to first. But the Giants sounded pretty upset by the New York crew’s decision.

“As much as I saw it, I don’t see where it was conclusive,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

Tim Hudson, who threw the game’s final pitch and took his second loss after another exceptional start, seeemd angry.

“That’s the kind of baseball we live in now, I guess,” Hudson said. “You never know what the outcome is going to be until you get the final conclusion.

“I’ve never been a fan of it from the beginning,” Hudson said. “We’ve got to accept all the stuff that comes along. We just happened to be on the wrong end of the call tonight and it cost us a ballgame. It’s frustrating.

“It was a close play. I’ve seen closer plays not turned over.”

Posey was incredulous after watching the replay.

“It was really close,” he said. “I feel like most of the plays I’ve seen that could have gone either way stayed the way they were called on the field. I don’t know if they saw a different angle, but I don’t think so. To me, it was a little inconclusive whether I had my glove on his chest before he had his hand on the plate.”

“I was surprised how quickly they overturned it. I figured it must have been a no-brainer. But after seeing it, I’m surprised how fast they overturned it.”

Based on the reactions from Schulman and many fans on Twitter, a lot of people seem to think the call shouldn’t have been overturned. I thought Marte was safe. Posey was moving from left to right as he received the throw, and it looked like Marte’s right hand touched home plate before Posey tagged Marte’s chest. Marte’s helmet made it a little less clear than it might have been otherwise, and it was a “really close” play like Posey said, but the correct call was made.

Buster Posey Starling Marte

Starling Marte Buster Posey

OK, maybe the Giants have a point. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty close. But he was safe.

Extra BASGs

— Hudson has gone seven-plus innings in all seven of his starts. According to the Giants, that’s the most consecutive starts of that length to start a season for a Giants starter since Vida Blue did it nine times in 1981.

— Hudson has pitched 54.1 innings, second in the majors to Johnny Cueto’s 55.

— Brandon Belt reached base in all four plate appearances with two singles, a walk and a HBP.

— Sandoval went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and in his first at-bat (a strikeout) he swung and missed at a pitch that came close to hitting him. The pitch was called a ball, because it hit the catcher’s mitt a while before Sandoval’s swing started. Sandoval is hitting .167, fifth worst among qualified major leaguers. If Arias was hitting at all, Sandoval would be in danger of losing a couple starts a week.

— Today’s game (161 minutes) took less than half the time as the series opener (329 minutes).

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