Kruk & Kuip: They need to play better baseball
R.A. Dickey's final stat line: 8.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K, WIN. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants looked lost at the plate against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey as they mustered just two hits in a 4-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jay to close out a rare two-game homestand.
Starting pitching report
The Giants had gone 7-0 when Barry Zito starts at home this season heading into Wednesday’s game.
Zito matched R.A. Dickey zero-for-zero for four innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth.
Zito issued a one-out walk to Henry Blanco after having the Blue Jays’ catcher down 1-2. Dickey followed with a line drive down the third base line that Pablo Sandoval, playing in expecting a bunt, had no chance at. Blanco scored all the way from first to plate the game’s first run. Dickey moved up to third on Melky Cabrera’s groundout and scored on Jose Bautista’s single to left.
The Blue Jays started taking advantage of Zito’s slow delivery to home as Bautista stole second. Zito then walked Encarnacion, who executed a successful double steal with Bautista to put two runners in scoring positon for Mark DeRosa. The former Giant hit a ball back up the middle past Zito into centerfield for two RBI and a 4-0 Toronto lead.
Zito finally escaped the fifth, but started the sixth with a full-count walk to Colby Rasmus. A line-out double play erased Rasmus and Zito finished the inning, and his outing, by getting Dickey to foul out to Hunter Pence in right.
Zito gave up four earned runs on seven hits and three walks in his six innings of work. He didn’t record a single strikeout and threw 63 of his 101 pitches for strikes.
Jean Machi and Jose Mijares kept the Giants’ deficit at four runs. Machi worked a perfect 1.1 innings before giving way to Mijares, who allowed just one hit in his 1.2 innings.
At the plate
R.A. Dickey had seven double-digit strikeout games in 2012 as he led the National League in strikeouts with 230 while with the Mets. His lone start with 10 or more punch-outs came against the Giants this season on May 14.
While the Giants made more contact this time around, it was of the weak variety. Dickey made it through San Francisco’s entire batting order once without allowing a single baserunner and didn’t give up his first hit until Pablo Sandoval singled with two outs in the fourth. A great diving play by Blue Jays shortstop Maicer Izturis robbed Buster Posey of a hit on the next ball in play and ended the Giants’ only early threat.
The Giants finally put the pressure on Dickey with one out in the ninth as Gregor Blanco singled and Marco Scutaro followed with a walk.
Casey Janssen took over for Dickey and induced a 5-4-3 double play from Pablo Sandoval to end the game.
In the field
Gregor Blanco was parallel to the ground as he extended to make a diving catch in shallow center in the second inning.
The Giants played an error-free game in the shutout loss.
The Giants announced their 197th straight regular season sellout with a crowd of 41,559. The boo birds were out in full force again for every Melky Cabrera at-bat.
The Giants are just 10-17 on the road this season and that’s where they’ll play their next nine games. After a day off Thursday, the Giants start a three-game series in Arizona Friday before the road trip continues in Pittsburgh and concludes in Atlanta. Matt Cain (4-3, 5.45 ERA) will start the opener against the first-place Diamondbacks, who will send Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.06 ERA) to the mound.