SAN FRANCISCO — One of these nights, the Giants will complete a comeback in the ninth.
I mean, it has to happen eventually, right?
Thursday was not the night, not when Eduardo Nuñez hit by far the hardest ball of the comeback attempt and ended up with a game-ending double play. The Giants lost 3-1, falling to 0-6 this year when trailing in the ninth. Since the start of the 2015 season, they are 2-136 when they’re behind after eight. They have lost 120 straight.
The latest halted rally came against Greg Holland, the new Rockies closer and a pitcher the Giants briefly looked at before signing Mark Melancon. Holland ran into trouble, but it wasn’t necessarily his fault. The Giants loaded the bases on two infield singles, a fielder’s choice grounder, and a walk. Nuñez, one of Bruce Bochy’s hottest players this month, scalded a ball right at second baseman DJ LeMahieu.
“You feel good when that inning starts to unfold,” Bochy said. “We got some breaks there on a couple of groundballs. Really the only thing you can do is take a good swing and Nuney did that. He’s a tough guy to double up but he hit it that hard.”
The rally was one of few on a night when two aces didn’t get as deep as expected. Jon Gray departed in the fourth with a toe injury and Madison Bumgarner was gone by the seventh of a game where his command was off. Bumgarner paid dearly for one pitch, a fastball across the heart of the plate that Trevor Story crushed to left for a two-run shot that ultimately held up.
“I certainly would like to have it back,” he said. “I don’t know, I just didn’t make a whole lot of great pitches tonight. I did OK to keep us in the ballgame, but obviously you would like to be a little better.”
The Giants couldn’t complete their latest comeback attempt, dropping to 4-7 on the season. They’re winless in Bumgarner’s three starts, though he has pitched well and contributed two homers at the plate. Bumgarner said he’s not letting that gnaw at him.
“All you can do is control what you can control,” he said. “You go out there and do your job.”
--- Brandon Crawford arrived at the park around 5:15 p.m. and pinch-hit in the eighth. Crawford’s wife, Jalynne, posted on Instagram that her sister, Jennifer, passed away suddenly. The Crawfords drove to Los Angeles on Wednesday night and Brandon took a flight back Thursday afternoon.
“He said he was ready for anything, ready to pinch-hit,” Bochy said. “It’s been a tough 24 hours for Brandon. You feel for him with what he’s had to deal with. It was a long night last night. Here he is, trying to help us win a ballgame. It says a lot about Brandon. He didn’t have to be here. For him to show up tonight, I really was surprised.”
Save a good thought for the Crawfords tonight. Our condolences go out to Brandon, Jalynne and their family.