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Poor Defense Haunts San Francisco Giants in Loss to Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Johnny Cueto
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Johnny Cueto
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The San Francisco Giants have made a name for themselves over the years by winning with pitching and defense. Those days are long gone, as the abysmal defense strikes again, playing a crucial role in Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Dodgers.

Although only one error will show up in the box score, the Giants made several other costly mistakes on Tuesday night, which is unacceptable when going up against Clayton Kershaw.

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It was a strange night on the mound for Johnny Cueto, who only lasted 3.2 innings. When his night came to an end, he gave up 4 runs, on 6 hits and 4 walks. It was visible that he did not have his best stuff, but he managed to record 8 strikeouts on the night, and the defense did not do him any favors, causing him to throw extra pitches.

The Giants’ defensive woes started in the top of the third inning when Joe Panik and Hunter Pence failed to communicate on what would have been an inning ending fly out. What should have been an easy play, led to a double by Yasiel Puig.

That play did not lead to any runs for the Dodgers, but it did force Cueto to throw more pitches on a night where his pitch count was already high early on.

Kelby Tomlinson got the Giants on the board first in the third inning after taking Kershaw deep for a solo shot. It was his first home run off the Dodgers’ ace, and the third of Tomlinson’s young career.

Chase Utley led the fourth inning off with a home run over the right field wall to tie the game at one.

The defense began to fall apart after that. Clayton Kershaw followed with what will show up in the box score as a double after Austin Slater lost the ball in the lights. Then, Chris Taylor reached on a fielder’s choice after Tomlinson made a bad throw trying to nab Kershaw at third.

Los Angeles wound up scoring four runs in the inning, forcing Cueto out of the inning with one out to go.

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The Giants hit Kershaw fairly well in the early going, but could not capitalize and had nothing to show for it. Nick Hundley doubled to lead off the bottom of the fourth, but was thrown out on a two out single by Tomlinson. I understand being aggressive because of the limited opportunities when Kershaw pitches, but Hundley had no business trying to score, whatsoever.

Failure to capitalize on opportunities haunted the Giants again in the sixth inning. Hunter Pence and Buster Posey reached on back-to-back singles. Slater reached on an error by Justin Turner with one out and if the Giants were going to inflict damage on Kershaw, now was the time.

Pence scored on a sacrifice fly by Orlando Calixte to make the score 4-2 and Tomlinson continued his career night off of Kershaw with a walk to load the bases. Tim Federowicz pinch hit in attempt to extend the rally, but ended up striking out to end the inning.

Span led the 7th inning off with a double down the right field line and Panik advanced him to third. He wound up scoring on a ground out by Pence. Posey put an end to the rally by grounding into a double play.

The Dodgers tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning when Turner doubled off of Derek Law, knocking in Chris Taylor along the way.

One thing I will praise the Giants on is they battled the entire game and made it interesting late in the game. In the ninth inning they loaded the bases on a single by Span and back-to-back infield singles by Panik and Pence. With one out and the bases juiced, Kenley Jansen was able to strike out Posey and Hundley to end the game with a 5-3 loss for the Giants.

Next: How the Giants Can Avoid 100 Losses

The Giants and Dodgers will conclude their three game series Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. PCT with Matt Moore and Yu Darvish on the bump.

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