© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
There’s no good way to lose a game, especially when it’s your 11th-straight loss. Today, the Giants set their consecutive loss record in San Francisco, a streak which last occurred for the franchise in 1951, when the Giants were in New York.
The loss stung for a number of reasons, and the number 11 was involved in most of them. With this nightmarish downslide, all the Giants have left to play for is pride and the opportunity to keep other teams out of the playoffs. The loss saw the Giants strand 11 baserunners and turned the Atlanta Braves’ magic number to 11.
“We’re basically kind of out of it,” said Derek Holland, who threw six innings of one-run baseball today. “But at the same time, we can still ruin other teams from getting into the playoffs, so that’s what our goal is.”
Wasted scoring chances and a pair of controversial calls defined the game. Twice, the Giants hit into double plays with the bases loaded and one out.
“Somebody has to knock in a run,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “You can’t be in a better position to win a ball game or score some runs than what we were today. Somebody has to come through. If not, this is what happens. You get bases loaded. We had a man on third, what three times with less than two outs. We have to get it done and we don’t. Double plays killed us today.”
The other time the Giants had a man on third was after a sacrifice bunt and mental error combination from Alen Hanson in the eighth inning with the game tied 1-1. Braves pitcher Jesse Biddle picked up Hanson’s bunt and threw it well over first base, which allowed Joe Panik to move to third.
Hanson realized the mistake too late, but made a brief attempt to head to second. First base umpire Jeremie Rehak and first baseman Freddie Freeman saw it and Freeman motioned to second baseman Ozzie Albies to tag Hanson out. Albies tagged him and a halfhearted attempt by Bochy to argue the call proved unfruitful. Bochy made no attempt to blame the play on Rehak.
“(Hanson) made a mental mistake,” Bochy said. “(Rehak) had the call right. You cannot make a move toward advancing there and (Hanson) has got one job there at that point. He has to realize he did that. You know as a runner that you did that. You get back to first. That was huge. That was probably the difference in the game. Nobody out, first and third, Longo up there. That’s just a mental mistake on his part. He was trying to play like he didn’t make an attempt, but he did.”
After Hanson’s mental error, the Braves intentionally walked Evan Longoria to leave Brandon Belt at the plate with runners at the corners and one out. Belt struck out next and Brandon Crawford grounded out to end the inning. Belt did not hold back on himself after the game.
“I had a chance to win the game for us and I didn’t get the job done,” Belt said. “It is really frustrating because like I said, we’re coming to the field and we’re working our butts off every day and we’re doing what we can to win ballgames.”
The next inning, the Braves scored the game-winning run on a pinch-hit infield single from Tyler Flowers. Evan Longoria had to field the ball on a high hop and turned to throw the ball to Belt. Umpire Rehak said Belt was off the bag when he caught it, allowing the run to score. The Giants challenged the play, but the call held without enough evidence to overturn it.
Neither Bochy or Belt were too pleased with the initial call.
“I thought it was going to be overturned,” Belt said. “Any time they take forever like they did, it usually doesn’t mean an overturn is coming. It usually means the call is going to stand. But I think he should have been able to make the right call in the first place. If he makes the out call right there, it’s definitely not getting overturned. Like I said, it’s just unfortunate.”
Bochy said he was confident the play would be overturned.
“It looks like (Belt’s foot) is on the bag,” Bochy said. “I was just doing a brief look and it’s one of those plays where the call on the field bears a lot of weight and they stood with it. I just don’t get how that call was not overturned with the real brief look I had at it. It shows you how much the call on the field plays.”
Belt said he understood why the call wasn’t overturned after discussions earlier in the season with a replay official. His and Bochy’s gripes lay with Rehak and his initial call on the field.
“They feel like they have to be 1000 percent sure on it and if they’re not, they won’t overturn it,” Belt said. “I had one of them describe it to me as they had to be able to bet their house on it to be able to overturn something like that. I just thought it should have been called out on the field. I thought it was one of those plays where I stayed on (the bag) long enough that he should’ve been able to call that out.”
The loss leaves the Giants reeling ahead of an off day tomorrow and a three-game homestand against the first-place Colorado Rockies.
“I know for a fact these guys are not happy,” Holland said. “We’re not happy with what’s going on, we don’t want to be doing this, we should be winning. We’re trying to do everything we can. Sometimes when you go through slumps like this, it’s a little tough to get out. But we’re plugging away, doing everything we’re supposed to do.”