Rewind: Giants can't protect house in series loss to D'backs

Rewind: Giants can't protect house in series loss to D'backs
April 11, 2014, 12:45 am
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The Giants were 42-40 last year and failed to reach the playoffs. (USATSI)

SAN FRANCISCO -- You can find a commonality in those seasons when the Giants do things like win division titles and surpass 90 victories and spray themselves with assorted beverages.

They protect China Basin. They pile up wins at home.

That’s what made their knockdown, drag-out, see-saw and seagull-infested 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks such a bummer Thursday night.

[RECAP: Diamondbacks 6, Giants 5]

They battled back in every aspect to take a lead on Michael Morse’s 420-foot double, putting Ryan Vogelsong in line for a potentially redemptive victory five days after he couldn’t limp through five innings with an eight-run lead at Dodger Stadium.

But Pablo Sandoval lost his senses along with his grip on the ball, sailing a throw he never should have made after fielding Tony Campana’s chopper in the eighth inning. The Diamondbacks tied it with an unearned run courtesy of Sandoval's error, then Campana singled in the tiebreaker in the 10th off Yusmeiro Petit.

And just like that, the Giants lost their first home series of the season.

“He just got in rush mode there,” Bochy said of Sandoval, who also flied out to strand the bases loaded in the eighth. “The game’s on the line like that, you’ve got to be a bit more cautious. You have to understand the situation.”

The situation became dire for the Giants after that. Sergio Romo literally gutted through the ninth with stomach cramps and the last man standing, Petit, came on for the 10th one day after he threw two innings.

[RELATED: Sergio Romo hurting, not injured]

Petit took the loss, but the game was ceded much earlier. The Giants couldn’t take advantage of Brandon Crawford’s leadoff double in the eighth, when Campana either got fooled by the wind or a flock of seagulls or both while letting it drop in front of him. Brandon Belt, who has been so sizzling in the first two weeks of the season, hit a shallow fly out to left field with the bases loaded before Sandoval ended the inning.

“We just let the game get away,” Bochy said. “You hate to lose those at home. These are the games you’re supposed to win.”

The Giants were just 42-40 at home last season, and it seemed a lot worse than that when they dropped series to the likes of the Marlins and Cubs. They’ll have to be better this season, especially against division teams.

Vogelsong shouldered some of the blame as well, even though his start was more impressive than the linescore would indicate.

“It was better but it’s still not where I want to be,” said Vogelsong, who trailed 4-1 in the third inning but managed to pitch one batter into the sixth. “I felt better the last couple innings but I’m still not as crisp as I’d like to be.”

Vogelsong threw what looked to be a good changeup to Miguel Montero in the third, in a perfect spot to get the double-play grounder he wanted to escape the inning. Montero golfed it for a two-run double.

“It was really weird,” Vogelsong said. “I felt I made good pitches that got hit for hits, and I hung a couple that got rolled over or popped up.”

As for the way he toughed it out, and the way his offense rallied to put him in line, at least momentarily, for a victory, Vogelsong wasn’t quick to pat himself on the back.

“They really gave us a chance,” he said. “I don’t really feel I gave us much of a chance.”

The way Vogelsong saw it, he needed to pitch deeper in the game. The fact the Giants turned to Petit, a pitcher who threw two innings the previous night, was his fault.

“I’ve got to get through the sixth and take the stress off the bullpen,” Vogelsong said. “A lot of this comes back to me tonight.”

And what were the Giants’ options after Petit, exactly?

“There was no option,” Bochy said. “He was pretty much our option. You might have seen (outfielder Juan) Perez out there, I don’t know.”

At least Morse showed during this three-game series that his power will translate to AT&T Park. He hit a 449-foot shot three-quarters of the way up the left field bleachers on Wednesday. The following night he went to his favorite power zone, right-center, and found a productive result there as well.

No, he didn’t hit it out. But there’s nothing wrong with two-run doubles high off the bricks over the 420 marker. Most right-handed hitters curse the ballpark when they barrel up pitches to right field and they settle into gloves. Morse is stronger than most right-handed hitters.

“At AT&T Park, you never know,” Morse said. “I was just glad it hit off the wall and got those two runs in.”

That’s one bit of encouragement for the Giants in this home series loss. If Morse’s power plays in that part of the field, on this kind of night, it’ll play anywhere.

And that’s good, since the Giants have 78 more of these and they’ve got a house to protect.

 

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