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Sloppy fielding haunts Giants as they drop finale, series to last-place Rockies

Wednesday’s win showcased some of the best defense San Francisco has to offer. Thursday afternoon, the Giants stumbled a step backward, with three errors in the fourth inning – four altogether – to waste a masterful start from Logan Webb and drop the series finale 4-2 against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park. 

San Francisco’s loss snaps their home series winning streak of six straight against the Rockies dating back to September 2019.

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It was a fourth inning to forget for the Giants (30-26), who were leading 2-0 at the time. Charlie Blackmon reached on a fielding error by second baseman Thairo Estrada on a ball lined directly towards him and off his glove. The madness intensified when C.J. Cron followed with a soft-grounder up the middle between Estrada and shortstop Donovan Walton, who proceeded to look confusingly at each other as the ball snuck through for a hit. Blackmon turned the corner and was heading for third when center fielder Austin Slater airmailed the throw to third that slammed up against the railing of the Giants dugout, advancing Cron to second. 

This story will be updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at Oracle Park.

Brendan Rogers was next, singling to left to put the Rockies on the board. It didn’t stop when Ryan McMahon grounded an apparent double-play ball to second that was instead bobbled by Estrada for the third error of the inning. Cron came home to tie the game at 2-2. Center fielder Yonathan Daza gave the Rockies the lead with an RBI single to make it 3-2.

Webb, doing everything possibly to escape the inning, said, “Younger (version) me wouldn’t have gotten out of that inning.”

Giants manager Gabe Kapler was unimpressed with his team’s fielding:

Yeah, I don’t think we played our best defense. I mean, it’s a really tough thing when you’re not converting ground balls into outs. I think we’ve seen consistently a better brand of defensive that we played today and it still hasn’t been good enough overall. And today was not good. … I believe that our players are prepared enough and professional enough to turn the page after every play.”

The Rockies added a final run against soft-tossing Tyler Rogers in the seventh when McMahon reached on an RBI infield single.

The last time San Francisco committed at least three errors in an inning was August 25, 2010 against the Cincinnati Reds when then-rookie Madison Bumgarner was responsible for one and reliever Ramon Ramirez had the other two.

Despite all this, Webb (L, 5-2, 3.77 ERA) threw well through 5-2/3 innings of work. He could have kept going the absurd number of errors not led to extra pitches. He mixed in his slider and sinker, while also throwing a good amount of changeups. All in all, he yielded seven hits, a walk and three strikeouts. 

Much was said about the Giants decision to start Webb in the series finale against Colorado, Since veteran Alex Cobb was placed on the injured list, San Francisco originally listed Thursday afternoon’s starter as TBD, but later named Webb as their choice. The move ensures he won’t start in the upcoming series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, clearly a series San Francisco in which needs to show some competitive spirit. Instead, the organization will most likely roll with a bullpen game on Saturday. 

The Giants scored first in the second inning courtesy of an RBI triple from Estrada against Rockies starter Austin Gomber (W, 3-6, 6.17 ERA). Estrada knocked in left fielder Luis Gonzalez, who had drawn a one-out walk. It was the second triple of the afternoon, the first coming from Slater’s bat to lead off the game in the first inning.

Newest Giant Austin Wynns made his first start behind the plate after being dealt to San Francisco on Wednesday morning from the Philadelphia Phillies in-exchange for minor league pitcher Michael Plassmeyer. Hitting eighth in the lineup, Wynns followed Estrada’s triple by knocking him home with an opposite-field single to make it 2-0. 

Wynns’ impact behind the plate had a strong impression on Webb, who said he barely shook him off:

He was awesome. He was incredible. … He came up to me before the game – we played catch yesterday – and was like, ‘I watched your last four outings. You did this and this, and this.’ You know more about what I’m gonna do. then what I’m actually thinking about.”

Webb said there were a few minor confusions along the way. At one point, Wynns went to the mound and forgot that Webb threw a four-seam. Another miscue was when the Pitchcom system – used for the first time this season to communicate signs between catchers and pitchers, and, for the most part, unfamilar to Wynns – started the game in Spanish for the first two innings.

Wynns said:

You probably saw my eyes light up. … I was like, ‘aw man, here we go.'”

In the top of the second, Wynns showed off his arm by gunning down McMahon trying to swipe second base. Known as a prototypical catch-and-throw-guy during his professional career, Wynns was hitting .365 in Triple-A with the Phillies organization at the time of the trade. A key Wynns trait the Giants admire is patience at the plate: he’s capable of walking more than striking out, a skillset sought by San Francisco in acquisitions the past few years.

Wynns said he takes pride in his game preparation:

We were on the same page. It’s my job. What he’s thinking, that’s what I want to think at the same time. And that’s why I watch film. You have to do your preparation. You have to do your homework. If you don’t do your homework, you’re doing yourself a disservice. So go to homework does a lot. You need to go into it so you know your pitcher.”

Up Next

The Giants host the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park for the first time since the 2021 National League Division Series, which the Dodgers won in five games. All-Star right-hander Walker Buehler (6-2, 3.84 ERA) gets the nod for Los Angeles. Jakob Junis (3-1, 2.51 ERA) takes the ball for San Francisco in his first-career start against the Dodgers. First pitch is 7:15 p.m.

Notes

The Giants aren’t forgetting about Joey Bart. The rookie catcher is taking a few days “away from the game” after being demoted to Triple-A after Tuesday evening’s loss, Kapler said. He’s expected to be in Sacramento’s lineup soon. The organization has a “developmental plan” for Bart, which includes mental and mechanical training. Kapler wasn’t willing to expand more ahead of Thursday’s game but noted more details would emerge as the plan begins. … First baseman Brandon Belt (knee) is not ready to be activated from the injured list for Friday’s game against the Dodgers but isn’t ruled out for the remainder of the series. … It appears that a bullpen day will be unleashed against the Dodgers for Saturday’s matchup with Carlos Rodon starting on Sunday in the series finale. … Shortstop Brandon Crawford wasn’t in the starting lineup once again on Thursday (quad) but pinch-hit in the ninth.

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