The Giants turned a big early deficit into a one-run game. They couldn’t pull out the win, though.
Chris Heston got knocked around early and the lineup didn’t have quite enough gas for a comeback as the Giants fell 5-4 at Wrigley Field. They dropped to 3-4 on the road trip and lost a game to the Dodgers in the NL West and the Cubs in the Wild-Card race.
Heston was missing by feet at times in the first inning and the Cubs took advantage. Heston was almost knocked out during the 38-pitch first, as he walked two, hit one and left a pitch up that Jorge Soler lined into left for a two-run single.
Heston was off again in the second, giving up a pair of singles to the bottom two in the Cubs order. Kyle Schwarber, the power-packed rookie catcher, crushed a three-run homer to right-center to give the Cubs a five-run lead.
Heston finally settled in and the Giants started to claw back. Hunter Pence got on board ahead of Brandon Belt in the fourth and Belt hit a two-run homer. Pence got on board ahead of Brandon Crawford in the sixth and Crawford hit a two-run homer.
Starting pitching report: July was Heston’s best month in the big leagues, but he’s been hammered in two August starts. He gave up seven hits and three runs in 4 2/3 innings in Arlington and was charged with five earned on five hits and two walks in four innings Thursday. Heston’s ERA was 3.14 at the beginning of the trip; it’s up to 3.48.
Bullpen report: Five Giants relievers combined for four scoreless innings.
At the plate: Belt’s homer was his fourth of the trip and 14th of the season. He’s on pace for 21 bombs, which would be a career-high. Crawford’s homer gave him 69 RBI, tying his career-high.
In the field: Angel Pagan was back in the lineup after getting a series off to rest his sore knees, and he didn’t appear all that comfortable coming in on Anthony Rizzo’s flare in the second inning. The ball dropped for a bloop single.
Up next: Ryan Vogelsong starts in place of Mike Leake, who has a strained hamstring. Vogelsong will face Jon Lester, who is 6-8 with a 3.26 ERA. Lester was the Giants’ top target in the offseason, but as Bobby Evans put it at the Winter Meetings, “We did not receive a rose.”