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Giants drop another tight one to start White Sox series

© Kelley L Cox | 2022 Jul 1

The Giants went 13-13 in the month of June. Of those 26 games, 19 were decided by two or fewer runs. 

San Francisco went 9-10 in those tight games. SF got walked off four times. The club fell consistently One Big Hit or One Big Play or One Big Pitch short. 

June was the Giants’ second straight month of .500 ball. For July to be any different, they need to find out how to turn those gut-churning losses into vibe-boosting wins. To play crisper, more attentive defense. 

More of the same issues that were too common in June, though, reared in the ninth inning on Friday. Closer Camilo Doval had an out in his glove, but let Brandon Belt’s pass skip off his leather. A chopper to third skipped over the lip of the bag and led to an infield single. 

The two almost-outs cracked open the door, and Leury García’s two-out single to right field kicked it open. Mike Yastrzemski had a chance for a run-saving assist in shallow right, but bobbled the exchange. 

With it, the Giants fumbled away the first game of July. San Francisco (40-35) is 2-4 on this current home stand — all against teams with losing records. On Friday, a strong — albeit abbreviated — Alex Cobb start came in a 1-0 loss to the White Sox. The Giants recorded just three hits all night.

García’s game-winning hit off Doval broke an impressive pitcher’s duel. Getting such a performance out of Cobb was much-needed for SF. 

For most of the season, co-aces Logan Webb and Carlos Rodón have pitched at an All-Star level. It’s the other members of the rotation who have underperformed. The top-heavy rotation is a big reason why the Giants went 13-13 in June with eight one-run losses.

Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood and Cobb each have over a 5.00 ERA. With DeSclafani again sidelined with right ankle inflammation, that leaves the Alexes. 

“It starts with our staff,” Wood said. “Webby and ‘Los have put up their lines. The rest of us need to step our shit up and start having the lines match up with how we’re feeling. Putting up some zeroes and finishing starts with zeroes or one run on the board. A lot of those one-run games are on us.” 

Cobb, whose locker rests feet away from Wood’s, apparently got the message. Against the White Sox, his stuff was as electric as it has been all year. In the third inning, Leury García twice bailed out on two-seamers that started in on him then ran into the strike zone — the latter which rang him up. 

A victim of misfortune and poor defense, Cobb has flashed brilliance all year but hasn’t reaped results. For much of the season, his expected ERA led the Majors. On Friday night in Oracle Park, nothing about his start was theoretical. 

Cobb shut down Chicago for five innings. Aided by a barehanded play by Donovan Walton and a wall-crashing catch from Yastrzemski, Cobb allowed just four base runners. 

Only Cobb’s night ended prematurely; the Giants pulled him after just 67 pitches. He was shown on the broadcast gesturing at his finger, but it’s unclear if his early lift was injury-related.

Lynn matched Cobb every frame, plus one. The hefty righty strutted off the mound with a growl after striking out Yastrzemski on his 104th pitch of the night to end the sixth. 

When Lynn handed the ball off to Joe Kelly for the top of the seventh, the Giants and White Sox were still knotted at 0-0. Both teams had three hits. It was Fireworks Night at Oracle Park, but apparently neither offense got the memo. 

The Giants didn’t advance any runner into scoring position against Chicago’s bullpen in the seventh or eighth inning, despite deploying two pinch hitters for matchup advantages in the eighth. Andrew Vaughn roped a two-out double in the eighth, but Dominic Leone erased him by winning a battle with Luis Robert. 

Then came Doval in the ninth and the botched play at first, the fluky play at the hot corner and García’s swing. The only run of the game crossed home, and it was unearned. San Francisco gave it away. 

The top of the ninth was the fumble. With one more chance, the Giants went down in order against Kendall Graveman. That was the stumble to tip off July after last month’s crumble.

 

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