The Giants returned home Friday, and also to earth.
Their four-game win streak was snapped, the good vibes following their first sweep of the season, in San Diego, vanished, and Drew Pomeranz’s first-inning woes emerged again in an all-around flop to the Cardinals, 9-4, in front of 37,603 at Oracle Park. San Francisco fell to 39-48 and 18-26 at home this season, a year that just saw the first embers of hope light up with a new-look offensive attack, but a year that is getting closer to a sell-off with each defeat.
Pomeranz, who found himself in June with a new arm slot that led him to four of five solid outings, lost himself (and his control) to begin July. He was wild, walking four in his four innings while surrendering four runs on six hits. In his 86 pitches, he threw just 52 strikes.
The control was missing, but so was the unhittable stuff. He got just two strikes in nine cutters and recorded only five swinging strikes total.
The outing went south immediately, which was a trend Pomeranz had improved upon. He was better in his first innings in June, but he was crushed within minutes of his first pitch this time.
It took 11 pitches for Pomeranz to bury the Giants, the Cardinals (Jose Martinez and Paul Goldschmidt) hitting two home runs and scoring three runs in four batters. The game had barely begun and it seemed nearly out of reach. Pomeranz has given up eight first-inning homers this year and nine in every other inning combined. His first-inning ERA is up to 11.25.
The Giants would rally, scoring two in the bottom half of the first and a third, tying run in the third. But Pomeranz couldn’t find his groove and gave up the go-ahead run on a Tommy Edmon triple in the fourth.
Trevor Gott relieved Pomeranz for the fifth and quickly gave up two runs on a Matt Wieters RBI single and Kolten Wong RBI fielder’s choice to make it 6-3.
Gott, who had been so brilliant through the season’s first two and a half months, has fallen flat since. After his one-run, two-inning performance, the 26-year-old has allowed nine runs in his past 8 1/3 innings, raising his ERA from 2.57 to 4.21.
Mark Melancon, himself in a downturn, gave up two more runs in the seventh.
The bright side, again, was Alex Dickerson, whose 112.9-mph shot to right in the third inning was the Giants’ hardest-hit homer of the season. Right fielder Jose Martinez just turned and watched the 386-foot home run go, his fourth of the year, and Dickerson is now 15-for-42 (.357) as a Giant, a waiver pickup who’s become their best hitter in 14 games.