Instant Replay: Dodgers knock around Cueto, end Giants' streak

Instant Replay: Dodgers knock around Cueto, end Giants' streak

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — On Sept. 29, 2015, with the Giants threatening to get back into a division race that had seemed lost, Clayton Kershaw took the mound at AT&T Park. He pitched a shutout, struck out 13, and clinched an NL West crown.

The stakes were nowhere near that high Wednesday, but Kershaw once again put his spikes down on the throat of his surging rival. He threw seven shutout innings, allowing just three singles and leading the Dodgers to a 6-1 win that snapped the Giants’ season-long five-game winning streak. 

The win was Kershaw’s 20th against the Giants and 12th in 19 career starts at AT&T Park. He has a 1.29 ERA here.

There is no margin for error against Kershaw, and Johnny Cueto couldn’t keep the Dodgers off the board early. With two on and two outs in the first, he threw a good two-strike slider to Yasmani Grandal. Buster Posey spread out in the dirt, preparing to block strike three, but Grandal somehow drilled it off the wall for a 2-0 lead. 

Cueto and Grandal chirped at each other in the third and the benches cleared. By that point it was 3-0 thanks to a pair of Giants mistakes. Michael Morse didn’t get back to first fast enough on Chase Utley’s grounder to second, and Joe Panik had no throw. Later in the inning, Utley scored on a wild pitch. The Dodgers tacked on two more in the sixth before Cueto’s day was done. 

Starting pitching report: Cueto was charged with five earned runs on eight hits and a walk. He’s been better of late, but still, he’ll take a 4.50 ERA into his next start. 

Bullpen report: Bryan Morris continues to show he might be here for good. He pitched a perfect eighth. 

At the plate: Eduardo Nuñez took Sergio Romo deep in the ninth.

In the field: Morse played left field for the first time since returning. He got turned around on Cody Bellinger’s fly to the track that went for an RBI double. 

Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,588 human beings who chose the wrong game to attend this week.

Up next: A day off! The Giants fly to St. Louis on Thursday and start a three-game set there Friday. It’s a HUGE trip.

 

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

SAN FRANCISCO — Over in Cleveland earlier Friday, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer for the visiting team and five other players chipped in a pair of hits. The Royals had six runs, which meant that when Jim Johnson closed the Giants out a few hours later, what has seemed true all season became officially true. The Giants have the lowest-scoring lineup in the majors.

At 3.32 runs per game, they have dipped below the equally-disappointing Royals (3.38). They are capable at the moment of making any pitching staff look dominant. A 2-0 shutout was the first of the year for the Braves, who previously had just two games this season where they allowed fewer than two runs. 

“Six runs in (the last) four games … I thought we would come home and get some rips in tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Bruce Bochy said. 

The manager’s frustration showed late in this one. After the only rally of the game — a two-run single by opposing pitcher Jaime Garcia — Bochy took his cap off and rubbed his forehead. He dipped his head and briefly stood as if he was going to fall asleep on the rail. The bats were equally still. 

The Giants had just four hits, all of them singles against Garcia, who is a nice pitcher but hardly one of the league’s best. One was an infield single by Eduardo Nuñez, another a single through Garcia’s five-hole, and a third a generous ruling by the official scorekeeper. 

“It comes down to, you’ve got to get some hits and create opportunities, and we’re not doing it very often,” Bochy said. “It’s just a matter of guys getting somewhat hot. We did, we had some success, and we won some games. The thing you like to see is some good cuts and I didn’t think we got enough of those tonight.”

That run, which spanned the last homestand and small parts of two road trips, has come to a screeching halt. The Giants have lost five of six. It seems silly to scoreboard-watch in May, especially when a team is playing like this, but it’s worth noting that the teams the Giants eventually need to catch keep winning. They fell 12 games back of the Rockies and 11 back of the streaking Diamondbacks. They are 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who might be the best team in the whole league. 

Matt Cain did his part to allow the Giants to keep pace. He got beat just once in seven sharp innings. The Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, who bounced a single into left. Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw was short and hit the runner. A second run scored. 

“That’s tough,” Cain said. “(Garcia) was throwing the ball really good and that’s what it comes down to, you’re looking for that one hit and he did it. He’s a good hitter. We’ve seen it in St. Louis. But it definitely is tough when the pitcher does that … it just stinks on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher.”

Instant Analysis: Giants bats silenced, losing streak now at four games

Instant Analysis: Giants bats silenced, losing streak now at four games

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The return to AT&T Park was a huge boost to Matt Cain, who has wild home-road splits this season, but it did predictable things to an already-limp Giants offense. 

The Giants entered the night as the lowest-scoring team in the National League and they got blanked 2-0 by Jaime Garcia and the Braves. Garcia out-dueled Cain and provided the only offense of the night, as well. The Giants have dropped five of six.

Here are five things to know from AT&T Park, where they keep having Star Wars Night but they’ve never once celebrated Super Troopers … 

--- Cain entered the seventh with a 0.94 ERA at home this season, but the opposing pitcher busted him. With one on and two outs, the Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, a career .145 hitter. He bounced a single into shallow left and it looked like Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw home hit the runner. That allowed Swanson to race home for a 2-0 lead. 

--- Cain’s final line: seven innings, one earned run, one walk, three strikeouts. Yep, that’s a Caining.

--- Justin Ruggiano is here for the opportunity he was given in the sixth. Ruggiano has always crushed lefties, and Bruce Bochy put him behind Buster Posey on Friday night. The Braves intentionally walked Posey to load the bases for Ruggiano, who grounded out to third. Even the platoon splits are failing the Giants. 

--- If you need a little perspective on Christian Arroyo’s struggles, look across the field. Swanson, the former No. 1 overall pick, is batting .198. The shortstop slashed .302/.361/.442 as a rookie but his numbers are way down across the board, and he’s nearly two years older than Arroyo. These things take time. Having said that, Arroyo’s hole is pretty deep. He’s hitless in his last 21 at-bats after an 0 for 3.

--- There were three no-pitch intentional walks. I hope you used the extra ninety seconds wisely.