Over the last two weeks, beginning with a walk-off loss at the Pittsburgh Pirates that spoiled a chance for an Orange and Black sweep, the SF Giants had won just three of 12 games and fallen well off the pace in the National League West.
It can be argued that they generally played poorly - other than dropping three of four at Atlanta, they were at home facing sub-.500 teams - despite keeping games pretty close; other than a 10-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on the last Sunday of June, they fell by a total of 10 runs in the other eight losses.
So it wasn't expected that they would be blown out on Sunday, July 3. Sure, the offense was scuffling and the defense wasn't helping out the pitching staff. But the Giants usually keep things close and have chances to win.
The Chicago White Sox had other ideas. Coming off wins in the first two games of the three-game set at Oracle Park, the visitors broke through in the third, had a six-run lead before San Francisco scored and piled on late to hand the Giants a 13-4 loss.
John Brebbia, in the "opener" role of a bullpen game, tossed a scoreless first inning despite allowing a leadoff double. Left-hander Jarlin Garcia one-upped Brebbia with a perfect second, including two strikeouts, but the Giants' recent defensive struggles reared their ugly head again as Sean Hjelle, just called up from Triple-A Sacramento, entered in the third to pick up the bulk of the innings.
Defensive gaffe prevents inning-ending double play for SF Giants
Hjelle gave up a leadoff single in the third but recorded a strikeout for the first out. Chicago leadoff hitter Tim Anderson then hit a tailor-made double-play ball to short, where Donovan Walton - whose throwing error to first base on a potential double play allowed a couple runs to score Saturday - flipped it sidearm past the reach of Wilmer Flores. Instead of the inning coming to an end with the scoreless tie intact, the White Sox had runners on second and third. After a strikeout they capitalized as Luis Robert looped a single into right field to make it 2-0.
Chicago added another two-out run in the fourth, and they loaded the bases on two infield hits (one a long throw by Flores that might have been close but sailed over Brandon Belt and the other a soft line drive knocked down by Walton on a dive) and a line drive single in the fifth to knock out Hjelle. Lefty Sam Long entered and didn't fool Gavin Sheets, who drove a double into the left-field corner to clear the bases for a 6-0 White Sox lead.
Joc Pederson put the Giants on the board in the sixth with a double to plate Austin Slater, but Chicago added five runs in the eighth and two in the ninth.
After a 2-6 homestand, the Giants head out on the road for seven games against NL West foes: the first three, including a 4th of July battle with former Giants standout Madison Bumgarner, are at Arizona, then a four-game series in San Diego that will help determine whether the Giants are contenders for the NL West.