In his first major league game, Adam Duvall came up in the seventh inning, and hammered a drive over the left field wall for the first run of the game for the San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, it was not enough as Mike Leake went eight innings, giving up the one run, on four hits, with a walk and a career-high twelve strikeouts, and the Cincinnati Reds went on to defeat the Giants, 3-1.
The night after the San Francisco Giants held a starting pitchers’ meeting and Tim Lincecum no-hit the San Diego Padres, Ryan Vogelsong went out and pitched as though he had also taken Bruce Bochy’s message to heart.
Vogelsong went six innings, allowing one run, on five hits, with no walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 97 pitches and at one point retired eleven batters in a row. He left the game on the losing end of a 1-0 score.
Jean Machi came in to pitch the seventh and gave up up a first-pitch home run to Brandon Phillips, on a challenge fast ball. It was an abrupt end to both his scoreless streak and the Giants tenuous, one-run lead. Machi had gone 25 and one-third innings without giving up a run, and had not given up a home run all season.
Unfortunately, having given up the home run, Machi went on to surrender a double to Jay Bruce and an RBI-single to Ryan Ludwick, and the Reds had a 3-0 lead that was more than adequate to take the opener of the four-game series. Juan Gutierrez pitched the eighth and Santiago Casilla came in to finish out the ninth.
The Giants threw their second base runner out at the plate in the eighth, when Brandon Phillips tried to score from first base on a Jay Bruce double, but was gunned down on the relay from Brandon Crawford to Buster Posey. Gregor Blanco started the sequence of events when he fielded the ricochet off the wall perfectly, and threw a strike into Crawford.
One guy that the Giants were zeroed in on was Billy Hamilton, who took a called third strike to lead off the game, and flied out to center in the third. However, in the sixth, he led off with a single to center and advanced to second on an infield hit by Todd Frazier (2-3), before stealing third base in a very close play at third.
Then things got bizarre. When Devin Mesoraco popped up to Joe Panik, no deeper than twenty feet out onto the outfield grass, Hamilton tagged and tried to score. My assumption is that Hamilton figured the rookie would make a hasty throw, but Panik did not…falter, taking the time to set and make a perfect one-hop throw to Buster Posey, who applied the tag to the awkwardly sliding Hamilton.
The slide caused Hamilton to partially cartwheel across the vicinity of the plate and Buster tagged him as he sailed past. He then retagged the runner once he had stopped scrambling, just to make sure. Being unsuccessful, the play made Hamilton look bad, especially with the Reds only one run ahead at the time. Think of it as a Yasiel Puig moment.
Joe Panik had a mixed performance, going 0-3 with two infield groundouts and a called strikeout, while committing another error on an exchange between him and Pablo Sandoval at third. The Panda made a perfect throw, but the ball just bounced back out of Panik’s glove, leaving runners at first and second, instead of a possible bases-clearing double play. Panik has yet to get a base hit at AT&T Park in four games.
On the plus side, he made a good catch on a popup into the outfield by Brandon Phillips in the fifth, before there was any score, and he made the clutch throw to get the dangerous Billy Hamilton at the plate in the sixth. The bottom line is that the Giants still need production at second base.
Offensively, besides the home run by Duvall, Buster Posey was the only player to get on base more than once, and he did it with two doubles, one in the ninth, and a walk. Pablo Sandoval came up three times with runners in scoring position and could not pull the trigger.
The fact that Duvall started in the first place meant that there was trouble in the attic. Michael Morse was ill, and unable to start. If needed, he could have pinch-hit. But Mike Leake was hot and without Angel Pagan, Brandon Belt, Michael Morse, or a productive second baseman, there just wasn’t enough left to get it done.
The injuries are hurting the Giants big-time, but at least the starting pitching seems to be coming together. Belt started a rehab stint tonight, and Morse may be back in the lineup tomorrow. The Giants simply have to put this game behind them and come out strong tomorrow. What else are they going to do?