The Giants still had some residual good mojo left over from their previous 20 games in the first game of this series, but it was only a matter of time before the Marlins reminded us that they’re here to make baseball games miserable for San Francisco fans and players. Maybe the baseball gods are still paying Brian Sabean back for poaching Robb Nen and Livan Hernandez when the Florida Marlins were in firesale mode. More likely it’s just happenstance, but it’s dominance just the same.
It’s tough to win when you don’t score, as the Giants found out on Tuesday in a 5-0 loss where the offensive futility was masked with the freakout over Buster Posey failing to tag a runner who was beaten by a throw from Hunter Pence. The same “lesson” about putting runs on the board was hammered home a little more clearly on Saturday night, as the home runs weren’t coming and, until the ninth inning, every scoring opportunity seemed to come with two outs.
There was still a semi-controversial replay to serve as a distraction of sorts, however.
The Marlins were able to capitalize with two outs in the second inning, as Tim Lincecum walked two consecutive batters before allowing a single to Adeiny Hechavarria that gave Miami a 1-0 lead. The Giants answered with a Hector Sanchez single and a double by Brandon Hicks high off the bricks down the right field line. But as Hicks stood on second, the Marlins threw to first base, engaged in a conversation with the umpires, then finally requested a replay to see whether Hicks ever touched the bag.
The crew in New York overturned the call on the field, sending Hicks back to the dugout. Generally the word “overturned” is usually paired with “conclusive,” but in this case it appeared more “likely” that Hicks missed the bag than anything else. Unless the people reviewing the play had an angle that we weren’t privy to, it seemed difficult (if not impossible) to state beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hicks didn’t brush the base.
“I’ve looked at it, and it’s hard to tell. They may have a different angle,” Bruce Bochy said. “I guess the bottom line is you shouldn’t be that close. Hit the bag. Hicksy was watching the ball.”
“I thought I touched it,” said Hicks. “That’s just how it goes. You can’t keep thinking about it. You can’t do anything about it after the fact.”
Janie McCauley of the Associated Press ran into Shawon Dunston, who’s in charge of deciding whether or not the Giants should challenge close plays. “The umpires were right, he didn’t touch it. They got it right,” Dunston said.
We can argue about angles and replays all night, but most of you have probably already forgotten this game ever took place (or turned off your sets before it ended). Also, Marlins starter Tom Koehler was dealing. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is under two for his career, but the hard-throwing young righthander struck out seven, walked just two and gave up four hits. Sanchez actually collected two of this hits and one of the walks off Koehler, then doubled off the right field wall in the ninth.
The Giants had runners on second and third with no outs in the ninth and failed to score, so fixating on the Hicks play seems a little ridiculous. It’s not like they lost this game by one or two.
— No update on Angel Pagan’s left shoulder, which took the brunt of his body weight when he dove in hopes of catching a Garrett Jones triple. It’s sore, and if it’s really sore on Sunday … who knows, it might be MRI time. It was rather surprising that Pagan played all nine innings, seeing as the play occurred in the sixth.
— Lincecum threw 114 pitches over six innings, but truth be told he wasn’t that bad. Six innings, 10 baserunners, three runs and six strikeouts is a pretty average/decent outing for a fourth starter.
“It’s a quality start,” Bochy said. “The way we’re swinging the bats, you’ll take a chance with that. We just got shut down offensively.”
— Lincecum’s slider wasn’t nearly as devastating as it was on Monday night against Atlanta, when he got 14 whiffs on that pitch alone. Tonight he used that pitch more to set up others, like when he struck out Giancarlo Stanton on a high fastball in the first inning.
“It was working early on for spotted strike calls, but I wasn’t burying the pitch as much as I wanted to for strike three calls,” he said.
— Stanton did triple off Lincecum, and he blasted his 12th home run into the centerfield bleachers off David Huff. The ball landed near where my sister was sitting (and celebrating — happy 30th birthday, Julia!).
Kids, if you’re a Giants fan and want to attend a game on the day you were born, pray the Marlins aren’t in town.
— Why do I keep getting the sense that Stanton will end up on the Dodgers? Sorry, the negativity is permeating through this place tonight and seeping into this recap (that no one will probably read, considering the game’s final score).
— Even if it is a little early for grilled marlin, the Giants should have a pregame feast before tomorrow’s game to see if they can possibly net some positive momentum. They can’t just let Miami off the hook.
— The Marlins are 11-2 at AT&T Park over the last four seasons. The Giants get one more chance to stem the tide tomorrow.
— It was fedora day today. Nothing cooler than an old style hat with a biotech company’s name on the back.