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Giants can’t finish off sweep as bats let Madison Bumgarner down

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Pillar dove and found air instead of ball, the sinking liner going under and behind him.

And in just the first inning, the game strayed too far away, too.

It was the only bad inning for Madison Bumgarner, but the Giants’ offense didn’t have a good inning in a 6-1 loss at Chase Field on Sunday, failing to complete the four-game sweep.

The Giants (63-62) fell three games back of the Cubs (who had not yet played Sunday) for the second NL wild-card slot, snapping a streak of six straight Bumgarner starts in which they won. With a rotation of Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija and a bunch of wild cards, each outing by the big guys looms large — especially with an important series at Wrigley Field on tap to start Tuesday. Though, Bumgarner was not the problem; their offense never gave them a chance as they lost for the second time in eight games.

They managed seven hits but left nine on base, going 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. They could do little off Arizona righty Merrill Kelly, who went 5 2/3 strong innings, and even less against Andrew Chafin and Archie Bradley, who followed him. They scored 28 runs in the first three games of the series and were evidently all out of hits.

The main culprits were in the middle of the Giants’ order, with Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Pillar combining to go 0-for-10 with two walks. Without the veterans pulling their weight, the first inning was all Arizona needed for separation.

In his past two starts, Bumgarner had given up three hits, one walk and one run in 14 innings.

With two outs in the first, Bumgarner gave up three hits, a walk and three runs.

The big blow was Adam Jones’ liner to center that Pillar, as is his wont, tried to make a spectacular play on. But the ball squirted under his diving glove and kept rolling past him, Jones winding up on third with a two-run triple. The next batter, Josh Rojas, singled Jones in as the Giants were in a 3-0 hole they would not escape from.

Apart from a Wilmer Flores fifth-inning homer, that was all the damage the Diamondbacks could inflict on Bumgarner, who lasted six innings and gave up those four runs while striking out nine.

The Giants’ best threat came in the sixth, when Mike Yastrzemski tripled to begin the inning, and Scooter Gennett’s single made it a 4-1 game. The Giants then chased Kelly by loading the bases off the starter with a pair of walks. But Brandon Crawford, facing lefty Andrew Chafin, bounced out. It was a poor at-bat from Crawford, who did bounce back to have a decent day (2-for-4). As fellow veteran Brandon Belt has shown signs of snapping out of his streak, Crawford hadn’t until now. The shortstop is 9-for-52 (.173) this month.

Speaking of struggling, Tony Watson entered a mostly over game in the eighth having allowed nine runs in his past three outings (in one total inning). He did not look fixed. He loaded the bases on an infield single and two walks then walked Jake Lamb, his third of the inning, forcing in a run. Sam Coonrod had to get the final out of the inning.


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