SAN FRANCISCO – Ryan Vogelsong had a stellar run last season in which he threw 16 consecutive quality starts.
His streak stopped after three Thursday night.
Vogelsong had a shutout in hand and two quick outs in the fifth inning when he had came down with the pitching equivalent of food poisoning. Everything came up suddenly and forcefully.
He faced six batters and couldn’t retire any of them, the Arizona Diamondbacks scored four times and that was all they needed to win 4-2 at AT&T Park.
It was a big blip for a veteran pitcher who had thrown four good ones out of five since returning from the disabled list. Vogelsong’s velocity ticked up a little bit, too. His hardest fastball was 91.48 mph, according to Pitchf/x.
He’s going to have his $6.5 million option exercised in a few weeks, as long as he remains healthy. Overall, it’s been an encouraging return after missing three months with a crushed pinkie finger on his pitching hand.
But that doesn’t make losses any easier to punt away. Vogelsong definitely owned up to this one.
“Some of it was I made bad decisions on pitches and selections, and on top of that, I didn’t execute the ones I picked,” said Vogelsong, who is 3-5 with a 5.62 ERA this season. “It wasn’t like the game sped up on me. (Hector) Sanchez made some right calls and I shook him off.”
Vogelsong had Adam Eaton down 0-2 with two outs and the bases empty but couldn’t put him away on five more pitches, giving up a double on a slider he regretted. Walking Willie Bloomquist, ahead of Mr. All-Everything Paul Goldschmidt, wasn’t part of the plan, either.
Goldschmidt hit a tying two-run double and Martin Prado followed with another to put Arizona ahead.
“It’s disappointing that I couldn’t get it together,” Vogelsong said. “That’s on me. This loss tonight is on me – no one else.
Well, you could give an assist to Arizona right fielder Gerardo Parra. Two of them, in fact. And he would’ve gotten a third if plate umpire Tom Hallion had made the correct call when Pablo Sandoval scored on Sanchez’s sacrifice fly.
(No major league outfielder has had three assists in a game since Mark Teahen in May of 2007, in case you were curious.)
Brandon Belt made the biggest mistake, getting thrown out by almost 10 feet when he tried to stretch a single. The play was right in front of him. And even those with latent attention spans at scouting-report readings know who Parra is.
“There’s not a better arm in baseball and he’s as accurate as any outfielder I’ve seen,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy of Parra, who also threw out Brandon Crawford trying to score on Belt’s single in the third. “I mean, it’s electric. He helped win the ball game for them. That’s how good he is. He’s got a quick release and as strong an arm as I’ve seen. And it’s on the money.”
That’s some glossy praise there, Skip. Just one more question: Why did your boys test him so often, then?
“I don’t know,” Bochy said. “You’ll have to ask them.”