San Francisco, CA – No one said it was easy, especially when you still have the best record in the Majors. The Giants have been in a funk since the All-Star break and continue to struggle with getting back to their winning ways. They lost to the Reds 2-1 to end the series despite a great outing from Madison Bumgarner.
It was a pitching duel between Dan Straily and Bumgarner for two straight frames. No hits or walks allowed. But by the third inning, Conor Gillaspie took Straily deep to right field. Gillaspie’s ball bounced off the top wall in right field and managed to escape every fan, glove and hand to bounce to the ground prompting Cincinnati to challenge the play.
“It’s disappointing when you have Bum throw the ball the way he did today with two hits and can’t get a win,” said San Francisco’s manager Bruce Bochy. “We just couldn’t figure out Straily. We just didn’t generate much there offensively.”
After the umpire reviewed the play, the call was upheld to a solo home run. Gillaspie hit his fourth home run of the season. He’s hitting .282 with five extra-base hits and nine RBI as a starter. Gillaspie has made 22 starts with the Giants this season (20 at third and two at first).
“He left an off-speed pitch up but other than that he threw the ball really well,” Gillaspie said. “You’ve got to tip your cap off to him. You leave stuff up it’s more than likely to get hit. He made quality pitches in good spots.”
An impressive save in the fifth to start the frame wasn’t enough to keep the Reds off the board. Adam Duvall who hit two home runs in yesterday’s win was robbed by right fielder, Mac Williamson. Both Williamson and second baseman Grant Green rushed to catch the fly ball and while Green got lost in the moment, Williamson made a sliding catch for the out.
Bumgarner gave up a single to Brandon Phillips in the fifth. Eugenio Suarez reached first on a fielding error by Angel Pagan who caught Suarez’s line drive but the ball fell out of his glove advancing both runners to second and third base. Tucker Barnhart followed with a sacrifice fly driving in Phillips to tie the game 1-1.
Pagan committed his fifth error of the season. The last time he had five or more errors in a season was 2012. San Francisco gave up eight home runs during this series, the most the Giants have ever allowed in a single three-game series at AT&T Park. San Francisco gave up eight home runs to the Marlins in a four-game series from July 26 to July 29, 2010.
“That’s the way this game goes sometimes, especially right now in a tough stretch we’ve been in magnifies it even more,” said Bumgarner. “It’s unfortunate but we have to keep coming out battling. I just didn’t make a good pitch to him and that’s a spot he can handle.”
Jay Bruce led off the sixth with a solo blast to right field to extend Cincinnati’s lead 2-1. Duvall followed with a line drive to Pagan to left field. Pagan made a diving catch and it was ruled a catch. The Reds challenged the play and after further review the call was overturned and Duvall was sent back to first base from second.
Bumgarner extended his streak to 28 consecutive starts of at least 5.0 innings pitched while allowing three earned runs or fewer here at AT&T Park. This is the longest streak by a Giants pitcher since 1913. He allowed five hits over eight innings with no walks and nine strikeouts. He’s 10-6 with a 2.09 ERA this season.
San Francisco tried to rally back in the ninth. Pagan led off the frame with a single to left filed. A fielder’s choice by Williamson took the tying run off second. Buster Posey followed with a fly ball to center field and Brandon Crawford popped out to catcher Barnhart to end the game.
“I know it seems like we’re going through a tough time but we’re still in first place and we’re still a first place caliber team,” Gillaspie said. “I think we’re going to be fine and we’re about to have some guys come back into the lineup (who were injured).”