SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants considered Gordon Beckham while compiling a list of second basemen prior to the July 31 trade deadline. They didn’t have enough solid scouting reports to justify making a run at him.
He didn’t join him. So he beat them.
That’s not quite how it goes, is it? Then again, what really makes sense when you’re 7-22 at home since mid-June?
The Giants were a strike away from losing in the ninth before Brandon Crawford woke the ballpark with a tying single. But in the end, that only served to wipe an undeserved loss off Ryan Vogelsong’s ledger.
Beckham made a tremendous defensive play in the ninth to save at least one run, then he roped an RBI single in the 10th off Santiago Casilla as the Giants lost 3-2 to the Chicago White Sox at AT&T Park Tuesday night.
Vogelsong is having another career renaissance. He allowed three hits in seven masterful innings and paid for just one pitch. It resulted in a two-run home run to Adam Dunn that came with two outs in the first inning – immediately after the Giants were an instant late turning a double play that would’ve ended the inning.
And because Vogelsong received his usual portion of run support, which is to say, none at all during his mound tenure, he remained winless in his last seven home starts.
Amazingly, the Giants had been shut out in each of Vogelsong’s previous three home starts. White Sox left-hander Chris Sale did exactly what the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, the Diamondbacks’ Wade Miley and the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright did in Vogelsong’s previous three home starts, shutting out the Giants through eight innings. It took a two-run uprising in the ninth for the Giants to keep Vogelsong from taking his sixth loss in his last seven home starts.
The Giants lost their fifth consecutive and are just five games over .500 for the first time since April 29.
Starting pitching report
Vogelsong mixed his cutter, slider and fastball to keep the ball off the barrel – for 104 of his 105 pitches, anyway -- through seven innings. He has a 1.64 ERA over his last three starts, and has looked every bit as impressive.
But third baseman Pablo Sandoval needed one extra shuffle after fielding Jose Abreu’s ground ball in the first inning, and the Giants barely missed turning a double play that would’ve ended the inning. As so often happens, Dunn made the Giants pay when he drove an 0-1 fastball the opposite way into the left field bleachers for his 18th home run this season.
Vogelsong allowed one more hit the rest of the game. Conor Gillaspie tripled to start the second inning but Vogelsong got a shallow fly out, a strikeout and a ground out to strand him there. He walked two and hit a batter but otherwise gave the White Sox no opening.
Vogelsong entered with an average of 2.07 runs of support in his home starts, the lowest mark among all NL starting pitchers. His seven home losses overall are the most in the NL – one ahead of teammate Madison Bumgarner.
Jean Machi and Javier Lopez gave the Giants a chance to rally by combining to retire all six batters they faced.
But Casilla issued a one-out walk in the 10th, then barely missed on a 2-2 pitch to Moises Sierra that had Giants manager Bruce Bochy barking from the dugout step. Sierra whacked the next pitch for a single, and after the entire infield met at the mound, Casilla got Alejandro de Aza to hit a sharp grounder to second base. Matt Duffy fielded it and threw for an out at the plate, with a replay review confirming the call.
But then Beckham singled to left field to put the White Sox ahead.
At the plate
Back in June, the Giants made noise in the late innings against Sale when they saw him in Chicago. It appeared they would crack him for a run when Hunter Pence tripled to the wall in right-center with one out in the first inning.
But Pence made a bad baserunning mistake. He didn’t take off on contact when Buster Posey followed with a slow grounder to shortstop, instead making up his mind to go when the ball had almost reached Alexei Ramirez. The throw home was high and wide, but Pence’s break was so late that catcher Tyler Flowers still had time to swipe a tag.
The Giants did not get a runner into scoring position again until the seventh inning, when Adam Duvall singled and Crawford worked a two-out walk. Bochy, stuck with a thin bench all year, sent up pinch hitter Joaquin Arias in the pitcher’s spot. Arias, who is batting .138 as a pinch hitter, popped out.
Sale struck out 12 and held the Giants to four hits in eight shutout innings, but White Sox manager Robin Ventura wasn’t going to extend him beyond 117 pitches – even if it meant going to a bullpen that entered with a 60 percent save percentage, better than only the Cubs, Rockies and Astros.
The White Sox continued to have problems in the ninth. Sandoval, Michael Morse and pinch hitter Travis Ishikawa hit consecutive singles off right-hander Jake Petricka, and it took a tremendous glove save from Beckham to keep Joe Panik from another single that would’ve tied the game. Beckham made a full-extension dive up the middle and flipped with his glove to Ramirez to start an electrifying 4-6-3 double play as a run scored.
Down to their last chance, Crawford took a borderline 1-1 pitch for a strike but avoided his 100th strikeout of the season, instead grounding a fastball through the right side for a tying single.
Posey hit a two-out single in the ninth and Sandoval put a charge into one, but De Aza tracked it down short of the track in left field to end it.
Crawford made a nice stop up the middle and a 360-spin before throwing for an out in the eighth inning. Sandoval played his 66th consecutive errorless game at third base, meaning he’s two-thirds of the way to matching the major league record of 99.
With an official attendance of 42,317, the Giants extended their streak of announcing sellouts to 306 consecutive regular-season games.
The Giants and White Sox finish their mini two-game series on Wednesday at AT&T Park. Jake Peavy (0-3, 4.82 ERA) takes the mound against White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana (6-8. 3.04). First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. PDT.