SAN FRANCISCO — There’s no magic run total in baseball, no baseline that’ll guarantee you a win. But in his head, Bruce Bochy has one he hopes his team hits every night.
“You look at our track record, if we score four runs we’ve got a pretty good chance to win the game,” Bochy said late Friday night.
The Giants are 46-16 when they hit that mark. The problem: They’ve scored four runs total in the last 33 innings.
“It’s a better-hitting club than this,” Bochy said.
It should be, that’s for sure. But as a late-July slump has turned to an August nightmare, the Giants have had trouble providing actual evidence that this will turn. Every inspiring win has been followed with the laying of an egg. After Brandon Crawford’s seven-hit night dragged the club to a 14-inning win, the Giants came out the next day and got shut out. After a strong 1-0 win Wednesday, they came back Friday and lost 5-2 to the Orioles on the first night of a long homestand.
Bochy’s club scattered five hits. A run was scored in the third and another in the ninth, but in between there was a stretch of 13 consecutive at-bats without a baserunner.
“Their guy threw well. We did run into a hot pitcher and he threw well tonight, but we still have got to get these bats clicking,” Bochy said. “It’s easier said than done. There’s no magic wand here. We have a lot of good hitters here. You go to this past week and we have seen some really good pitching, but you’ve got to beat good pitching.”
The Giants haven’t topped good pitching or bad pitching consistently in the second half, or anything that qualifies otherwise. They have left little breathing room for their starting pitchers, and Matt Cain had no chance when he gave up four early runs. A fifth-inning homer from Chris Davis — the second from the Orioles — ended Cain’s night. He allowed 11 hits, tying a career-high.
“I got some pitches back on the plate a little bit more today,” Cain said. “I got a couple heaters over the plate.”
George Kontos followed with three scoreless innings and Jake Peavy pitched a pair in his new role. The Giants briefly flirted with a comeback in the ninth, but all that did was bring Zach Britton into the game. The most dominant reliever in baseball made sure the Giants lost a series opener for the eighth time in nine second-half series.