SAN FRANCISCO Giants manager Bruce Bochy watched his team ekeout one run on a ground out, go hitless in 11 at-bats with runners in scoringposition and waste four late chances to parry with the Pittsburgh Pirates in a4-1 loss Sunday afternoon.
And this was his reaction:
Strange day, he said. We just never had it going there.
Yes, its true. The Giants believe days like this will bethe exception, not the norm. They scored the fewest runs in the NL last season.Clearly, they expect more this time.
Nine games into 2012, this was the first time they were heldto fewer than four runs.
Weve been swinging the bats so well, Bochy said. Thatsthe difference between winning or losing getting those big hits.
The Giants took two of three despite Sundays loss, butBochy was in a myopic mood. He didnt like the fact that Angel Pagan failed toscore from third on a ground out in the eighth, even though the Pirates alreadyled by three. On an otherwise solid defensive day behind Ryan Vogelsong, Bochycriticized Pablo Sandovals errant throw on Neil Walkers surprising bunt thatallowed the Pirates to open up a 2-1 game.
Its going to be vital that we play well, Bochy said. Wehave to catch the ball, make the plays and tighten it up here. Its frustratingbecause I know were better than this.
Perhaps Bochy is on edge for good reason. The PhiladelphiaPhillies arrive Monday to begin a three-game series, and the pitching matchupswill include Roy Halladay vs. Tim Lincecum (on Monday) and Cliff Lee vs. MattCain (on Wednesday) the kind of duels that are usually decided by one pitchor one mistake in the field.
As hitters you want to face the best of the best, and weknow Philly is tough, Buster Posey said. So its going to be a good series.
Bochy said his hitters looked out of sorts against KevinCorreia and three relievers, and none were as thrown off as Posey. Thecleanup-hitting catcher had a day off Saturday but looked worn down anduncomfortable as he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts including a big one on acalled breaking ball with two on in the eighth.
Posey, who was diagnosed with shingles last week and is playing on a reconstructedleft ankle, said he was fine.
Correia did a good job mixing it up, Posey said. Hedidnt repeat pitches too much and he stayed out of the middle of the plate.
So did Vogelsong, who lost his 2012 debut but gave theGiants a glimpse that hell be an effective cog in the rotation yet again. Hewas treated to a standing ovation as he walked off the mound trailing 2-1 inthe seventh.
A battle, said Vogelsong, who might give the same answereven if he pitched a perfect game. I was fighting myself the whole day, tryingto find a rhythm. I was kind of in and out all day.
Even the stretch in which he retired 12 consecutive?
Some of those were really lucky, though, he said,crediting Emmanuel Burriss, Nate Schierholtz and Sandoval with making plays. Ifelt they played great defense when I was on the mound.
Vogelsong didnt get over to cover first base quickly enoughon Alex Presleys bases-loaded dribbler in the second inning, saying he frozeand momentarily went for the ball before first baseman Brandon Belt fielded it.But Vogelsong said the focal point of that inning was when he issued a one-outwalk to No.8 hitter Michael McKenry.
I wouldve been in a perfect spot, two outs and Correiacoming up, Vogelsong said. That walk changed the whole inning.
The Giants drewtwo walks off closer Joel Hanrahan to make a late rally in the ninth, but Paganflied out to end it.