ARLINGTON, Texas — Before the first game of what promises to be a hot and tiring 10-game road trip, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he would limit the workloads of his starting pitchers. Unfortunately, Bochy had to get his bullpen loose in the early innings Friday for a much different reason.
The pen started stirring in the second inning at Globe Life Park after Madison Bumgarner gave up a sixth run. The big left-hander ultimately made it through seven but the Giants wouldn’t recover from the rough start, falling 6-3 to the Texas Rangers.
The Giants scored in the top half of the first but Bumgarner gave up a two-run homer to Adrian Beltre in the bottom of the inning. Nori Aoki’s double in the top of the second squared things up again, but the Rangers roared back with four runs in the second inning. The big blow came when Elvis Andrus jumped on a fastball down the pipe and hit his first homer since June 12.
It was an eventful night all around for Bumgarner, who cleared the benches in the fourth when he took exception to a bat flip by Delino DeShields. The Giants were already a bit steamed because Rougned Odor had gone in late and hard at second base in an attempt to break up a double play. When DeShields popped up to end the inning, he flipped his bat toward the Rangers dugout, angry that he had missed the pitch. Bumgarner immediately started yelling and gesturing at DeShields, and both benches briefly cleared.
Order was restored, but the Giants would get just a Brandon Crawford solo homer the rest of the way.
Starting pitching report: So, about that long road trip … Bumgarner did do Bochy a favor by staying in the game and saving the bullpen with a 98-pitch effort. He tied a season-high by allowing six earned runs.
Bullpen report: Jeremy Affeldt has been encouraged by recent outings, and he took another step in the right direction in the eighth inning. Affeldt struck out Prince Fielder and Ryan Ryu on nasty curveballs.
At the plate: Aoki had two hits out of the No. 9 spot. You figure it won’t be much longer before he’s back hitting leadoff.
In the field: Back in an American League park, Aoki had the kind of fielding adventure that he was famous for while playing for the Royals. Aoki misjudged Andrus’ hard liner to left in the first, playing it into a double. Beltre homered two batters later.
Attendance: The Rangers announced a crowd of 30,674 sweaty people. The game started in 95-degree heat, but it did get a little nicer as the night went on. It was 91 degrees in the ninth inning, so there’s that.
Up next: Because the Giants were off Thursday, they were able to bump Chris Heston up a spot to make room in the rotation for Mike Leake. Heston will start Saturday in the spot originally held by Tim Hudson, who was put on the DL. He faces Cole Hamels, who makes his Rangers debut. The Giants spent weeks trying to trade for Hamels and the lefty even waived his no-trade clause in the hours before he was traded to the Rangers.