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Three comebacks isn’t enough, Giants lose 9-8

The Giants came from behind three times in this game, but lost on a ninth-inning homer.

Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I suppose it’s too much to ask to beat Adam Ottavino twice in the same series. Over the offseason, Ottavino underwent some Ivan Drago level training. He utilized every bit of technology available to him to reinvent his slider, and he trained relentlessly in a rented-out storefront next to a Dollar Tree. The results were that he became one of the most dominant relievers in a year filled with insane dominant relievers. I’m not sure how anyone could hit him, and until this series no one has. The run the Giants scored against him on Monday was the first he had given up since May 8 when he gave up a two-run homer to Justin Upton.

The Giants got to him with two guys who also reinvented themselves in the past year. On Monday night, Gorkys Hernandez worked a bases-loaded walk to score the go-ahead run. Today, Hernandez worked another walk and eventually scored the go-ahead run on a two-run double from Alen Hanson.

It was the third time today the Giants had come from behind to tie the game or take the lead. Brandon Belt answered Nolan Arenado’s solo home run in the first inning with a two-run dong of his own. The Rockies scored four in the fourth inning, but the Giants rallied with three to tie it with timely hitting from Joe Panik and Hernandez. They would have taken the lead in that inning had an errant pick-off throw not struck first base umpire Jim Reynolds.

After Hanson’s double in the eighth, all that needed to be done to secure an inspiring win and a series sweep was get three outs starting with the bottom of the Rockies’ order. But Sam Dyson gave up a lead-off single to Chris Ianetta and threw a belt-high sinker to DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu did horrible, unspeakable things to it, and now that sinker’s family doesn’t even want to look at it.

These were the fifth and sixth runs Sam Dyson has given up since assuming the interim closer role a week ago. Dyson has not inspired a ton of confidence as of late, but he ought to be able to get three outs when two of them are the eighth and ninth spots in the order.

It’s frustrating for the Giants lose in the ninth when Tony Watson was still available, but it’s infinitely more frustrating for this team, who has hit well but struggled to score runs, comes from behind three times and scores eight runs to lose like this.

Mark Melancon and Pierce Johnson were the only Giants pitchers to not give up a run today. Melancon threw a scoreless eighth, but two-thirds of that inning should go to the record of Nick Hundley. Hundley threw out not one but two runners trying to steal second off Melancon.

It’s probably not fair to Pierce Johnson, but every time I see him warming up in the bullpen I have the thought, “Bruce Bochy has given up on this game.” 9 out of his 25 appearances before today have come when the difference in score is four runs or more, so that might explain why my brain sees him as an anthropomorphized white flag. If he comes in when the Giants are behind, he sort of has been.

But to his credit, he came in with a runner on and got through Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez. The Giants need at least one bespectacled player on the 25-man roster, and with Kelby Tomlinson in Sacramento and DJ Snelten lost to oblivion (Baltimore), Johnson is the only hope.

Chris Stratton lasted just four innings. He gave up a solo home run to Nolan Arenado in the first which you can hardly hold against him. Arenado had gone hitless in the series until that point and the dinger swatting mountain daemon was only claiming what was due. Stratton had a beleaguered outing; he never had a perfect inning. Things really came undone in the fourth when he gave up four hits in row to begin the inning. The last of those four was a two-run triple from Ian Desmond who continues to destroy Giants pitching.

It’s not just the Giants lately, though. Desmond’s June has been pretty, pretty, pretty good. Coming into today, he’s hitting .263/.404/.553 for the month. He definitely got his groove back against the Giants, so the rest of the league has them to thank.

Stratton gave up five runs through four innings, but Walker Buehler gave up five runs in one inning today in Los Angeles which I only point out to be petty. Still, it wasn’t a good day for Stratton especially considering Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto are on their way back and Suarez and the Dere(c)ks are making arguments for why they should stay in the rotation. Don’t underestimate the power of recency bias. Not to mention he has the lowest K/9 and highest BB/9 of the four.

The pitching was so bad today that I haven’t even mentioned Belt bunting for a hit against the shift. It may seem like an odd move considering Belt had already hit a dinger off Jon Gray earlier in the game, but it was a good idea. It came to lead-off the inning and it was Gray’s third time through the order. He was going to be vulnerable to a big inning. May as well take the guaranteed base. It might have worked out had it not been for Crawford’s line drive going right to Trevor Story.

Even with today’s loss, the Giants still ended with a winning homestand and they’ve won three series in a row. They also don’t have to play the Rockies again until Monday, so there’s that.