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Giants avoid sweep, drop last game to Nats

Ezra Shaw

In the bottom of the ninth, with a runner in scoring position and a tie game, two different Giants hit the ball hard. It didn't work out. It's hard to get too violent about a game like that.

There is something like a spectrum of disgust when it comes to losses. Compare this game with anything from the recent road trip. Those games were gross. This game was frustrating. There's a big difference, and it's kind of nice to watch the Giants lose like a normal team, for once. This was a well-pitched game, There was a late-inning rally. Madison Bumgarner was pretty good. There weren't any errors. The guy the Giants couldn't hit was Gio Gonzalez, not Brandon Backe or something. The Nationals' best hitter got the big homer and scored the winning run. I can respect this kind of loss.

That doesn't mean it was without frustrations. The Giants had a runner on third and one out in the first, only to strike out twice. The 0-1 pitch to Pence wasn't a strike, by the way, and it's worth wondering what would have happened if he were 1-1 instead of 0-2, but that's a minor grumble. The bigger frustrations were Pence and Belt lacing line drives that should have scored the winning run each time. I guess that was instant karma for Buster Posey's 18-hopper through the infield to tie the game.

If the Giants have to lose 62 games or so every year, it's probably for the best that they look like this. Good job, good effort, bad results. The at-bats with runners in scoring position:

1. Buster Posey in the first
It was the first pitch, and it might have been the most hittable fastball thrown by Gonzalez all day. I saw some folks on Twitter complain that Posey should have been more patient after Marco Scutaro worked out a walk on eight pitches in the prior plate appearance. But it's probably not a good idea to think you know more about how Posey should hit than Posey does himself. He got the pitch he was looking for, but he was late. Happens.

2. Hunter Pence in the first
Again, see the above link for the graph. It's not as the Giants lost because of a missed call on an 0-1 count. But it makes it a little harder to blame Pence for chasing the 0-2 curve out of the zone.

3. Brett Pill in the first
Turns out he can hit fastballs and only fastballs. Possible interior monologue on the way back to the dugout: Wait, Gonzalez throws a curveball now?

4. Brandon Crawford in the second
It was a hittable curve up in the zone, but it also followed a 94-m.p.h. fastball. Crawford's timing was off.

5. Madison Bumgarner in the second
He doesn't count. It's nice that he still has all of his original fingers, and that makes the at-bat a success.

6. Angel Pagan in the sixth
They gave him a Pablo across the letters, and he popped it up. It was a pretty good at-bat up until then.

7. Crawford in the seventh
It was a 2-2 fastball down the middle. Super-serum Crawford from April would have hit a triple. If we're complaining about the called strike against Pence that wasnt, it's worth noting that Gonzalez should have had Crawford out with the 1-2 pitch.

8. Buster Posey in the eighth
He's sort of the best. Though, to be far, this was a double play if Ryan Zimmerman was a foot over to his left.

9. Hunter Pence in the eighth
He smoked the ball. It was an inside sinker, so I'm not sure how he hit it so hard the other way, but it's hard to blame Pence for that one.

10. Brandon Belt in the eighth.
Again, this was crushed. Should have been a single, at least.

There you go. Was it worth cataloging that? Now that it's finished, I don't think it was! But it's proof that a game can still be frustrating without being meaningful or offensive. The only at-bat I hated was the Pill AB, but I had forgotten about it by the second inning.

Really, my biggest regret is that Scutaro didn't extend his hitting streak on a liner off Rafael Soriano's dingus.

I had other notes, but you don't want to read about them, and I don't really want to flesh them out. Long game short: Good team played well, beating other good team. Save the vitriol for one of those Coors Field specials in which the Giants give up 39 runs in three games. In this game? Eh. Happens. Better luck against the Rockies, fellas. Better luck against the Rockies..