SAN FRANCISCO – Once again, the Giants thrilled their fans with a late-inning comeback.
Once again, the end result was not satisfying.
The Giants fell 3-2 in 10 innings to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday afternoon, their second consecutive defeat in extra frames, and they closed their six-game homestand by dropping two of three to Arizona.
Brandon Crawford sent a charge through the home crowd with a game-tying homer off David Hernandez with one out in the bottom of the ninth, knotting the score 2-2. But the Diamondbacks answered back in the top of the 10th, as pinch hitter Wil Nieves’ sacrifice fly plated Paul Goldschmidt with the go-ahead run.
The Giants didn’t go quietly. Brandon Belt doubled with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, but Matt Reynolds coaxed a game-ending groundout from pinch hitter Joaquin Arias.
Starting pitching report
Madison Bumgarner continued his AT&T Park dominance. The left-hander gave up one run in 7 1/3 innings, scattering five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. On most days, that should be good enough for a victory. He had his full repertoire working, as the Diamondbacks were way ahead of his off-speed stuff and chasing his fastball up in the zone.
Bumgarner has a 2.17 ERA over his past 28 starts at home dating back to the 2011 season. He’s 19-4 at home over that span, and he was primed for win No. 20 on Wednesday. Pitching with a 1-0 lead in the eighth, he allowed a one-out double to pinch hitter Eric Hinske. Thinking the ball was foul as it shot down the left-field line, Giants reliever Santiago Casilla plucked it with his glove. The umpires held a powwow, and Hinske was awarded a double (he would have wound up on second anyway). Then A.J. Pollock went the other way with a single to plate the tying run and chase Bumgarner.
The lefty remains the Giants’ best starting pitcher so far this season.
In a game with such little margin for error, the Giants needed perfect work from the bullpen and didn’t get it. Jose Mijares was on the mound as Arizona took a 2-1 lead in the ninth. Chad Gaudin loaded the bases with one out in the 10th, and Javier Lopez allowed the go-ahead sacrifice fly.
At the plate
The Giants stranded the leadoff man in four of the first six innings and managed precious little against Arizona starter Ian Kennedy. They had just four hits through the first seven innings, but they snapped a scoreless tie in the seventh when Gregor Blanco singled to right and Crawford drove an RBI double to right-center that chased Kennedy. Crawford had more in store in the ninth, when he sent a 1-2 pitch from David Hernandez soaring into the right field seats for the tying homer.
Crawford entered the day in a 2 for 17 dry spell but he went 3 for 4 with both of his team’s RBIs. His tying homer came on a 1-2 pitch from Hernandez, displaying once again Crawford’s developing maturity in such situations. His .324 average in two-strike counts entering Wednesday ranked seventh in the National League.
But the Giants simply need to generate more offense – and earlier in the game.
In the field
A day after Andres Torres’ mental blunder hurt the Giants, fellow outfielder Angel Pagan made a similar mistake in the top of the ninth Wednesday. Pagan fielded a blooper off the bat of Didi Gregorius and held on to the ball too long, allowing Gregorius to leg out a double. That put Gregorius in position to score the go-ahead run on Gerardo Parra’s single to left that clipped off the glove of the leaping Crawford. On Tuesday night, Gregorius stretched out a double when Torres nonchalantly fielded his hit to left-center, and proceeded to score the go-ahead run.
Casilla’s ill-advised play on Hinske’s double is sure to be shown repeatedly on highlight shows. Marco Scutaro air-mailed a throw into Arizona’s dugout on a potential double play in the eighth inning with the score tied. That play didn’t hurt the home team.
A crowd of 41,756 gave the Giants their 177th consecutive sellout.
After the Giants just swept the Padres last weekend, they’re happy to see the Friars on the schedule again for a three-game set beginning Friday. Tim Lincecum and Andrew Cashner face each other in a pitching rematch from Saturday. This six-game trip also takes the Giants to Arizona for three.