Tuesday, March 21

SF Giants match season-long losing streak with heartbreaking loss vs. D-backs

PHOENIX — The Giants stood six outs away from snapping their losing streak. But after an erratic performance by Dominic Leone and too many missed scoring opportunities, the skid extended to six games, matching a season-high.

Leone surrendered the tying run in a 6-2 loss on one of two wild pitches in the eighth inning before the D-backs broke the game open with a three-run home run off Camilo Doval, scoring all four runners Leone allowed on base in a five-run inning.

With their 12th loss in the past 15 games, the Giants sit only one game over .500, at 40-39. With their second loss in two games to Arizona, they equaled their total number of defeats to the D-backs last season, when they went 17-2.

Austin Wynns allowed Leone’s first wild pitch to scoot past him, allowing Josh Rojas to score from third to tie the game at 2, an inning after Wynns broke a 1-1 tie on a game-of-inches play. Buddy Kennedy drove in the go-ahead run with a sac fly off Doval, then Daulton Varsho delivered a three-run shot that made it 6-2.

With Yermín Mercedes on second base in the seventh, Wynns lofted a fly ball down the line in left. Cooper Hummel, in pursuit, tried to make a sliding grab but the ball bounced off his glove with a sliver of his body in fair territory. The ball would have fallen foul had Hummel not touched it, but instead the play ended with Mercedes jogging home and Wynns standing on first base, after a successful challenge by manager Gabe Kapler.

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It would have proven to be the decisive run, if the Giants’ bullpen had held on.

Allowing one run over five innings, Giants starter Alex Wood lowered his ERA back below 5, to 4.83. He needed only 71 pitches to make it through five, but with the Diamondbacks’ lineup turning over for a third time, Kapler turned to the Giants’ bullpen. After all, in his last start, Wood surrendered a two-run homer that ultimately served as the losing blow after tossing five strong and going back out for the sixth.

Wood breezed through his first four frames, needing only 17 pitches to make it through two, then recording all four of his strikeouts in a span of six batters between the third and the fifth. But after his final punchout — putting a 94-mph sinker past the letters of Buddy Kennedy — for the first out in the fifth, Carson Kelly smacked a ground-rule double past the outstretched glove of Joc Pederson and over the right-field wall. Two batters later, Geraldo Perdomo singled him home for all the damage the D-backs would do against Wood.

Once again, the Giants left runs on the board. They left seven runners on base and went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Joc Pederson made good on a bases-loaded opportunity in the fourth with a sac fly that brought home Austin Slater to give San Francisco a 1-0 lead. But that inning started with three hard-hit singles by Slater, Wilmer Flores and Darin Ruf to load the bases with no outs, and it ended with three men standing on base and only one notch in the scoring column.

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