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Giants lose 11th-straight game after controversial call in ninth

© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

It continues. With a 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves, the Giants have lost their 11th-straight game, the longest-ever streak since the team has been in San Francisco. The last time the franchise lost 11 consecutive games was in 1951 – as the New York Giants. The game ultimately came down to one play in the ninth inning.

With the score knotted at 1-1 and Charlie Culberson at third, a pinch-hitting Tyler Flowers stepped up with two outs. Flowers hit a difficult ground ball to Evan Longoria who spun to pick it before wheeling and throwing to first. The throw bounced high off the ground and caused Brandon Belt to come off first base, according to first base umpire Jeremie Rehak.

After a more than two-minute-long review, the call stood and a chorus of boos roared throughout AT&T Park. The Giants (68-79) failed to mount a comeback in the ninth and remained 0-for-September.

The matinee was unbilled as a battle between two veteran starters in the midst of career-reviving seasons. Braves starter Anibal Sanchez and Giants starter Derek Holland have mirrored each other’s trajectory closely over the last four seasons.

Here’s what Holland has done coming into this afternoon’s game, according to Baseball Reference:

And here’s what Sanchez has done in the same timeframe:

Both pitchers have mirrored each other in a number of stats over the last four years. While Holland has had ERAs of 4.91, 4.95, 6.2 and now 3.54, Sanchez has been at 4.99, 5.87, 6.41 and now 3.09.

They have both changed teams this year and found immense success in their new homes. Sanchez moved from the Detroit Tigers to Atlanta and Holland moving from the Chicago White Sox to San Francisco.

In the fashion you might expect based on the imitation game they’ve been playing, both Holland and Sanchez had incredibly similar nights aside from Sanchez’s five walks to Holland’s one. Their lines below tell most of the story of the first six innings.

Holland: 6 IP, 5 H, 7 SO, 1 ER

Sanchez: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 SO, 1 ER

The Giants’ run came from a single by Evan Longoria to score Joe Panik in the third inning. The lead held from the third to the top of the sixth inning, the longest lead the Giants have had since the start of the losing streak on September 1. First baseman Freddie Freeman tied the game for the Braves by singling home second baseman Ozzie Albies.

What those lines don’t tell you is how the Giants wasted two pairs of bases-loaded, one-out situations to come away with nothing in both the first and fourth innings.

In the first, Brandon Crawford grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. In the fourth, Panik did the exact same in an otherwise brilliant game. He went 3-for-5, with his first out coming when he had runners on base.

The Giants got a small taste of revenge in the seventh, when Tony Watson relieved Reyes Moronta, who allowed a double between a pair of walks. Watson entered the game with the bases loaded and no outs before securing an infield popup, a strikeout, and a ground out to shortstop.

That moment was soured in the bottom half of the inning after Panik led off with one of his three singles in the game. Alen Hanson laid down a bunt that Braves pitcher Jesse Biddle picked up and sailed well over first base. It allowed Panik to move to third and Hanson to reach base momentarily.

What Hanson failed to realize is that he crossed into fair ground – at least according to first base umpire Jeremie Rehak, who was made his first controversial call of the night when he called Hanson out after Albies tagged him. Hanson was walking slowly back to first base in foul ground.

Replays were unclear, but it warranted an argument from Bruce Bochy and first base coach Jose Alguacil, who had motioned to Hanson unsuccessfully to get back to first. Freeman and Albies realized immediately that Hanson had potentially become an active baserunner as Freeman motioned to Albies behind second, who quickly tagged Hanson after picking up the ball.

After the debacle, Evan Longoria was intentionally walked, leaving Brandon Belt up with runners at the corners and one out. Belt struck out and Crawford grounded out to second to end the inning, leaving the game knotted at 1-1.


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