Sunday, September 19, 2021

SF Giants spell is over, opener pushed to Pittsburgh Pirates’ last spot

SAN FRANCISCO – The Dodgers, heated rivalry and National League West had implications. But what the Giants apparently couldn’t afford to leave in Los Angeles was a bit of a drama.

The Giants again entered their final at-bat, but could not snatch Richard Rodriguez’s close third straight win from Pittsburgh’s grip, as had Dodgers’ Kenley Jensen the previous two nights. Lamonte Wade trebled home Darin Roof to pull the Giants within two runs with an out to go, but Rodriguez eventually closed the door in a 6-4 loss.

“The disappointing thing is I don’t think we’ve played our best game from any angle,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I don’t think we played our best offensive game, like our best brands at the plate. I think we were out of the strike zone, and I don’t think we defended our position the way we’ve been able to. When you It’s hard to win a baseball game if you’re not doing your best in those three components of the game.”

San Francisco tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the sixth on a swing from Alex Dickerson’s bat but gave the next inning a straight lead. Dominic Lyon struggled to find the strike zone, and Pittsburgh rallied for three runs and a decisive advantage.

Lyon walked three of the first four pirates in the seventh inning and allowed all five batsmen to reach base. With a ground ball at first, the Giants appeared to find their way out of the inning down by only one run, but Wade transferred the ball from his mitt to his throwing hand and allowed two more Pirates to score Went.

There was no shortage of heart-wrenching pitches on Friday night, but was there a lack of urgency against the club with the fourth-worst record in baseball?

“I don’t think there’s any risk of not taking this game particularly seriously,” Kapler said before the game. “The last few days were incredibly intense, and we all had a lot of fun. But when that game is over, we have to turn the page and do so immediately. … it started shortly after last night’s game.”

Dickerson turned the slider while hanging from Pirates starter Chad Kuhl and tied the game at 3. His home run went over the high wall of the right field, scoring Buster Posey, who reached his second opposite-field double of the game.

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Kuhl primarily used that slider to pacify the Giants through five innings.

The Giants’ first eight outs all came via strikeouts, and Kuhl scored a career-high match by the end of the third inning.

The only run the Giants could get through five frames came on a single shot from Steve Duggar’s bat that fell at McCove Cove. The dinger was Duggar’s first since June 16 and his first RBI in 12 games.

Coupler came out to check on Duggar a few pitches ago, when he showed some discomfort around his ribs. Duggar informed Kapler that he was feeling fine, then proved it after two pitches.

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Dickerson’s home run was his 10th this season and made him the seventh player on the roster with double-digit dingers, close to a franchise record of nine. (Three other Giants have nine home runs, and San Francisco leads the majors this season with 146.)

Giants starter Johnny Cueto needed 65 pitches to make it through three innings and was picked up for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth. Cueto, who owns the lowest ERA against the Pirates of any pitcher in the live-ball era, with at least 200 career innings against him, allowed three runs for three hits in five innings, scoring seven runs.

SF Giants spell is over, opener pushed to Pittsburgh Pirates' last spot
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