On-Air Now
On-Air Now
Listen Live from the Casino Matrix Studio

Giants go down quietly late in 3-2 loss to Cubs



© D. Ross Cameron | 2023 Jun 9

The Cubs and Giants’ arrows were pointing in opposite directions. 

Chicago, losers of four straight, met the Giants in Oracle Park after San Francisco had just swept the Rockies in Coors Field. 

The fallacy of game-to-game momentum, though, took hold as the Cubs outlasted the Giants on Friday night. Both starters pitched into the seventh inning, but the Giants couldn’t find a rebuttal to the Cubs’ late rally. 

In the eighth and ninth innings, trailing by one run, the Giants (32-31) sent up six hitters. The Cubs retired each of them to hold on for a 3-2 Chicago win. 

The Giants have demonstrated an ability to hit quality pitching this year. They’ve handed losses to reigning National League Cy Young winner Sandy Alcántara, perennial Cy Young contender Corbin Burnes, and All-Star Zack Wheeler. SF hung eight earned runs on  established veteran Lance Lynn. Blake Sabol’s walk-off home run came off fire-breathing closer Ryan Helsley. 

There have been exceptions, of course. Gerrit Cole shut down San Francisco on Opening Day, and Julio Urías dominated in Oracle Park. 

But the Giants’ lineup, which is finally as healthy as possible, largely hasn’t been overmatched against the toughest arms. And Marcus Stroman is as competitive as any. 

Stroman hadn’t allowed an earned run in 15 innings heading into Friday night. Without overpowering stuff, and despite below-average strikeout numbers, Stroman carried a 2.39 ERA into Oracle Park. The ground ball specialist has managed to thrive in the infield shift ban era. 

Stroman pitched to his reputation, allowing two earned runs in 6.2 innings. The Giants scratched a run across in the third with a two-out rally and drew four walks agains the righty, but that was all. 

“I think it’s just the continued competitiveness that comes out of Marcus every time he takes the mound,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said postgame. “It’s pretty impressive.”

In that third, LaMonte Wade Jr. worked a walk, Joc Pederson singled him to third, and Thairo Estrada muscled a double down the left field line. 

Pederson (4-for-4, four singles) had three of the Giants’ six hits off Stroman. 

For the Giants, DeSclafani issued an uncharacteristic four walks, but still put up six zeroes. DeSclafani, who graded in the 95th percentile in walk rate, benefitted from two key double plays. 

In the seventh inning, though, DeSclafani left two baserunners on for Ryan Walker, the deceptive righty. The rookie had only allowed one run in 8.2 innings, but couldn’t navigate the Giants through traffic.

“I thought (DeSclafani) was efficient,” Kapler said. “Actually, his stuff looked really good and crisp early in the game. Probably ran out of gas a little bit there towards the end.”  

Walker went hit-by-pitch, single, wild pitch, walk, single. He struck out Nick Madrigal for the second out of the frame, but Tristan Beck relieved him before Walker could finish the inning. 

All nine Cubs came to the plate in the seventh inning in which they took a 3-1 lead. Chicago’s rally started shortly after the public address announcer informed the Oracle Park crowd that the scheduled postgame drone show — hyped as the first in Giants history — was canceled due to technical difficulties. 

Groans from the announced cohort of 34,816 fans rang out. And that was before Chicago’s comeback. They booed even louder when Pederson got called out on a bang-bang play at first base in the bottom of the seventh in a play that got overturned and cut CHC’s lead to 3-2. 

The Giants still had their challenge because they won a first-inning decision on a fluky play in which Madrigal got tagged out after coming off second base on a walk. Bench coach Kai Correa quickly identified the possibility for a challenge, Kapler said postgame.

There wasn’t much to cheer for in a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth. The crowd again erupted when the Cubs let a routine pop up drop in foul territory to start the ninth. But pinch hitter J.D. Davis didn’t do anything with his second life, Wilmer Flores struck out and Brandon Crawford went down looking. 

The Cubs threw their best arms at San Francisco. That hasn’t generally been a problem for the Giants this year, but it was Friday night as technical difficulties jammed up not only the drone show, but SF’s late-inning offense.