Game 2 of the Bay Bridge series was a battle of two games.
The first, an even-keeled five innings in which Giants starter Albert Suarez dished 5-2/3 innings of three-hit ball. A’s starter Kendall Graveman gave up four runs in five innings.
The second, a complete bullpen collapse coming from both sides of the bridge, resulting in a topsy-turvy 13-11 Oakland A’s win over the Giants Tuesday night. Said Bruce Bochy:
“We both struggled with the pitching side of it, you just have to wash this type of game off… You hope it doesn’t happen to two or three guys, and that happened tonight.”
This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.
One number sums up the Giants’ loss: 10. Bochy sent seven relievers to the mound over 3-1/3 innings and they came back with 10 runs to show for it.
George Kontos inherited two runners from Suarez in the sixth with two outs and a 4-1 lead. Both scored and two more crossed the plate after a Conor Gillaspie error left runners on the corners for pinch hitter Billy Butler, who crushed a single up the middle to put the A’s up 5-4.
Of course, the shaky A’s bullpen could be easily knocked down. They entered AT&T Park holding a 3.99 ERA with an AL-leading 264 innings. The Giants caught them on a bad day, rallying back in the sixth on Denard Span‘s game-tying RBI double, his 200th career two-bagger.
A’s lefty reliever Marc Rzepcynski intentionally walked Buster Posey to load the bases and face Brandon Crawford — the team’s RBI leader — who promptly knocked a base-clearing triple to put the Giants up 8-5.
But the Giants’ bullpen couldn’t find a counter attack. Cory Gearrin issued consecutive walks to lead off the eighth and Marcus Semien singled to make it 8-6. Javier Lopez (L, 0-2, 5.84 ERA) wasted a spectacular catch from Denard Span, allowing a three-run bomb to Jake Smolinski that put the A’s up 9-8. Span thought that catch would change the game’s course:
“I was hoping that would stop the bleeding, you gotta give those guys credit. They swung the bat well.”
This was anyone’s game by the time Santiago Casilla took the mound, but Casilla followed suit. He gave up three hits and walked two, handing the A’s three cushion runs, a 13-9 lead, heading into the bottom of the inning. Things were looking grim, said Bochy:
“It’s hard to give up 12 runs in the last four innings to win a ballgame.”
The Giants came dang-near close, though, to pulling a miracle out their pockets: Ramiro Peña rallied for an RBI single in the eighth for the Giants’ ninth run. Jarrett Parker and Denard Span homered back-to-back for their 10th and 11th. The Giants never felt out of it, said Span:
“The way the game had been going, back-to-back home runs, the sense in the dugout is that anything can happen.”
The ninth inning comeback fell short, though. Angel Pagan drew a walk after the two bombs but the heart of the lineup went 1-2-3 to end the three-hour, 50-minute spectacle. Bochy said his bullpen is allowed to have a game like this:
“They’re big boys. They have to deal with this, like all of us do. They’re going to have their moments. They’ve really done a good job and this is one of those wild games. You have one of these games once in a while and you hope you come out on top, and we didn’t.”
“We’ll flush it and get back to it tomorrow.”
Joe Panik was scratched from the lineup today after he reported feeling concussion-like symptoms. He has not been placed on the DL yet. The Giants expect an answer before tomorrow’s game.
The Giants are suddenly very depleted in infield depth. Kelby Tomlinson, Ehire Adrianza and Matt Duffy are on the DL. Tomlinson is a week away from starting his rehab assignment.
The most logical replacement should Panik end up on the 7-day concussion DL would be Ruben Tejada. Tejada is not on the 40-man, but the former Met is the option with the most big-league experience. GM Bobby Evans said not to expect top prospect Christian Arroyo in the big leagues at this point.
Sergio Romo would have been a welcome sight during this bullpen-heavy game. The Giants seem to be playing it very cautious with their DL guys after calling it too soon for Hunter Pence and Matt Cain, who both made second trips to the list after re-injuries.
Evans said after the game that Romo, who pitched two perfect innings in San Jose today, will pitch another day in Sacramento before his return.
Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.
I was never under any illusions about the eliteness of the Giants’ relief pitching this season, but I think tonight put the exclamation point on two fairly obvious problems. First, Lopez is just done. He cannot even get lefties out anymore. Second, there is just no intelligent discussion that can be had about whether or not it would be a good idea to trot Casilla out as a closer in the post season, against the best and with the pressure on. It isn’t. In-house or out, they need to be thinking seriously about who will be replacing Casilla as closer.