SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have been swept in a four-game series just twice in the history of AT&T Park. Johnny Cueto, then a Red, beat Madison Bumgarner in the first sweep in 2014. His solid start Thursday wasn’t nearly enough to prevent this second one.
Cueto went seven strong but the lineup again failed to capitalize on shining opportunities and the bullpen again struggled. The Giants lost 6-2, falling to the Diamondbacks for the 12th time in their last 14 meetings at AT&T Park. They have been outscored 60-28 during that stretch.
The Giants entered the day with just three hits in their previous 30 at-bats with runners in scoring position and they showed no improvement in that area in the first inning. Denard Span drew a leadoff walk from a wild Shelby Miller and stole second, but Joe Panik grounded out, Hunter Pence struck out and Brandon Belt flied out.
The Diamondbacks were already up 1-0 at that point on a Paul Goldschmidt double and the perennial MVP candidate made it a two-run game with an RBI single in the third. The Giants got both runs back in the bottom of that inning, but it should have been much more.
Miller, battling hand discomfort, walked the bases loaded with no outs in an inning that started with the pitcher’s spot. He walked Pence to bring in a first run, and was replaced by Tyler Wagner. Belt hit into a double play that tied the game but halted the rally, and Brandon Crawford grounded out.
Yasmany Tomas blasted a no-doubter to left-center in the next half-inning to again give the Diamondbacks the lead. Any hopes of a comeback were dashed by the Diamondbacks putting three runs on Cory Gearrin in the ninth.
Starting pitching report: It’s easy to see how Cueto has cruised to 200-inning seasons in the past. He needed just 83 pitches — 65 of which were strikes — to get through seven innings. Cueto was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the seventh. He was charged with eight hits and three earned runs, walking none and striking out three.
Bullpen report: Josh Osich plunked David Peralta for the second time in two days and the benches cleared when Peralta objected. Nothing of consequence happened.
At the plate: Welp.
In the field: It’s been a good week for Brandons who make running basket catches. Brandon Crawford had one in Los Angeles, and Brandon Belt made one near the visiting dugout in the sixth inning Thursday.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,052 people who will listen to the first three quarters of the Warriors game while stuck in traffic.
Up next: The Marlins come to town. Their hitting coach is famous around here. Also, Jose Fernandez starts on Saturday, which should be fun.