Oh boy, it got worse for the Giants on Sunday. On the bright side, there was no heartbreaking loss in the ninth inning.
The San Francisco Giants looked to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics. They should have won the first two games after two commanding ninth innings leads disappeared before their eyes. Sunday, the Giants looked to salvage the final game of this three-game series.
Logan Webb (L, 4-1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 5 BBs, 5 Ks) took to the mound Sunday in an effort to continue the recent dominance of Giants starting pitching. He opposed A’s righty, Mike Fiers (W, 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks).
Webb cruised through the top of the first inning, as did Fiers. 1-2-3 innings on both sides.
Khris Davis grounded into a double play, scoring the runner from third. A’s led 1-0 with two outs in the inning. Stephen Piscotty walked, and the high-stress inning continued for Webb. A strikeout ended that threat.
Brandon Belt made quick work of the Giants early deficit. A solo home run just above the right field wall tied the game at one. Belt’s second home run of the season. Just the one run for the Giants in the bottom of the second.
More sloppy defense for the Giants in the top of the third. Tony Kemp singled with one out, and later scored on a triple by Matt Chapman, in which he advanced to third on a wild throw from the outfield. A’s took a 2-1 lead with a runner on third with only one out.
Two strikeouts and Webb escaped yet another jam. His pitch-count was on the rise though, 65 pitches through three innings.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler had this to say about Webb’s inefficient performance Sunday:
“It wasn’t his most efficient work. He got ahead of several of those hitters, allowed those hitters to get back in the count, and they either punished him via the walk or by getting hits. Obviously, we’re looking for consistency and efficiency from Logan. He’s a young, developing pitcher with good stuff, a changeup that we have a lot of faith in. He was able to maintain his velocity through that outing, that’s a good sign.”
Brandon Crawford dropped a base hit into center field, hustling hard enough to stretch it to a leadoff double in the bottom of the third. Another quick response, the Giants tied the game 2-2 on a very shallow single into left field off the bat of Mike Yastrzemski. Just the one run in the bottom of the third.
A quicker 13-pitch inning for Webb in the top of the fourth.
The high pitch count did Webb in. With one out in the top of the fifth, Webb was replaced by Wandy Peralta after walking Sean Murphy, and throwing 88 pitches. A career-high five walks for Webb on Sunday.
After the pitching change, Peralta immediately surrendered a two-run home run to Chad Pinder. A’s took a 4-2 lead.
Webb’s final line: 4-1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 5 Ks.
Webb discussed his desire to pitch deeper into games after his short outing Sunday:
“I feel like each game there’s always one inning that kind of gets me. Being able to go four innings today, maybe five, instead of six or seven. I think it’s come back to bite me a little bit. I just have to figure out if im doing anything different in those innings, think about maybe my mindset was a little bit different. Staying away from those innings, I know I can go deeper into games.”
More trouble for Peralta. Two singles from Chapman and Olson, followed by a two-run triple from Canha scored two more runs, extending the A’s lead to 6-2.
Kapler discussed his bullpen’s struggles to keep the ball in the ballpark as of late:
“I think the name of the game when it comes to having a good bullpen, is throwing strikes and limiting damage. Those are the two things that have to happen simultaneously to have a really really good bullpen. It’s throwing strikes, not putting runners on base via the walk. Then, if you’re going to give up a home run once in a while, let it be a solo shot. It’s at least as much of a result of the very good hitters in the Oakland lineup. We just have to do a better job executing our pitches, getting ahead, staying ahead, putting hitters away and commanding our secondary weapons.”
It got much, much worse. Piscotty launched a three-run home run off Rodriguez. A dagger for the Giants, who found themselves down 9-2 in the fifth. Oh but wait, there’s more!
A double for Murphy was followed by yet another home run. Marcus Semien launched a two-run homer to left. Nine runs were scored in the fifth inning, and the Giants trailed 11-2. A complete, and utter disaster of a weekend.
More dominance from Piscotty in the top of the sixth. A two-run double scored Olson and Davis, giving the A’s a 13-2 lead. Five RBIs on the day for the Bay Area native.
Belt and pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval singled in the bottom of the sixth inning. They were left stranded with the Giants still trailing by 11 runs.
Crawford homered to straightaway center in the bottom of the seventh inning, his first of the season. Giants down 13-3.
Fast-forward to the top of the eighth inning. Darin Ruf misplayed a line-drive in right field off the bat of Grossman, scoring Canha, who previously singled. A ground ball from Davis scored Grossman, the second run of the inning A’s extended their lead to 15-3.
When you’re down by 12 runs, why not get a little weird? Giants catcher Tyler Heineman took the mound for the Giants in the top of the ninth inning.
He induced a ground ball, gave up a double, and retired the side on a double play. A total of seven pitches! Baseball can be fun, even when you’re losing as badly as the Giants were.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Crawford walked. Mauricio Dubon followed with a base hit to left-center. Runners at first and third.
Ruf went down swinging for the second out, while Dubon advanced to second. Alex Dickerson walked to load the bases.
Donovan Solano grounded out, and that was all she wrote.
Final: Giants 3, A’s 15
W: Fiers (2-1, 5.96 ERA), L: Webb (1-2, 3.54 ERA)
The Giants travel to Anaheim Monday to face the Los Angeles Angels. After their rough series with the A’s, they may board the plane with a little more urgency.
After the game, Heineman discussed the current mood in the Giants clubhouse:
“The hardest part of the whole thing is that we are, in my opinion, I do feel like we are a good team. We’ve had some mistakes on defense, we’ve had a couple things go the other way. I was talking to a couple guys today, and we could very well be the other way around, 14-8, if a couple things went our way, if we didn’t make some mental mistakes, some physical mistakes. We have the makings of being a good team, and I just think we’re hitting a rough patch now, and the guys that are expected to do well are just putting a lot of pressure on themselves. If we just start relaxing as a team, we’re going to be in a better situation.”