SAN FRANCISCO — A.J. Pollock sprinted to the wall, timed his leap perfectly, and pulled Jarrett Parker’s home run back into the park. With that brilliant sequence, the National League’s most underrated player might have put the final nail in the Giants’ playoff hopes.
Pollock’s robbery cost the Giants their best chance at a run in a quiet 2-0 loss to the Diamondbacks. The Dodgers won 6-2 in Los Angeles, dropping their magic number to eight with just 15 games remaining. Any combination of eight Giants losses or Dodgers wins will end this division race once and for all. The Giants also dropped to nine games out in the Wild Card race.
The loss felt like two losses on a night when Madison Bumgarner again pitched brilliantly. Bumgarner gave up just two runs over eight innings — one was unearned — but took his eighth loss instead of his career-high 19th win.
Bumgarner didn’t allow a hit until the eighth inning of his last start, but on this night it was Rubby De La Rosa who was being stingy. The Giants had one hit in De La Rosa’s 5 2/3 innings, but they threatened a couple of times thanks to the right-hander’s wild streak. A walk and single put two on in front of the heart of the lineup in the fourth, but Buster Posey and Brandon Belt struck out.
Angel Pagan was hit by a pitch with one out in the sixth and De La Rosa walked the bases loaded. Andrew Chafin entered to face Belt, and he got him to roll over on a slider and ground out to second, ending the threat.
The Diamondbacks had scored twice in the sixth. Bumgarner gave up a leadoff single to A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt lined a ball into the left field corner two batters later. Alejandro De Aza let it go right under his glove, and instead of having runners on second and third, the Diamondbacks had a run and Goldschmidt reached third. Welington Castillo grounded to short a batter later and Brandon Crawford’s throw was wide, allowing Goldschmidt to score.
Parker pinch-hit for Bumgarner in the eighth and appeared to have his second career homer. Pollock had other plans.
Starting pitching report: Bumgarner threw a season-high 117 pitches and lowered his ERA to 2.85. His career-best is 2.77, set in 2013.
Bullpen report: Cory Gearrin continues to impress. He threw a wicked slider to Aaron Hill to strike him out. Gearrin has faced five batters since getting called up and has struck out three of them.
At the plate: The opposition is learning, and Bumgarner definitely isn’t getting pitched to like he’s a pitcher. De La Rosa started him off with three breaking balls in the third inning before getting a popup on a 96 mph fastball. In the sixth, Bumgarner got a fastball in the dirt and then three straight tight sliders. He struck out.
In the field: Kelby Tomlinson has come a long way defensively in the last month. He took a short-hop throw from Matt Duffy in the fourth inning and made a sweet, leaping throw to first to turn two as Goldschmidt came in hard.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,346 human beings. The Friday Night DJ didn’t play any Pitbull, so they were all winners.
Up next: Mike Leake will try to keep his winning ways going against lefty Patrick Corbin, who pitched well against the Giants in Phoenix earlier this month.