After latest loss, SF Giants closer to D-backs than Padres in NL West standings

Evan Webeck, The Mercury News on

Published in Baseball

PHOENIX — The Giants’ freefall continued here Monday afternoon in the airplane hangar that doubles as the home of Arizona Diamondbacks. They lost for the 11th time in 14 games and dropped their fifth straight. Once again, it came down to their putrid defense.

Facing their old friend Madison Bumgarner for the fourth time since he left for Arizona, San Francisco scored early and forced him out after five innings. But multiple defensive miscues had already put them in a hole that they couldn’t climb out of in a 8-3 loss.

Bumgarner, who emerged from the bullpen with an American flag draped over his shoulders, improved to 2-1 against his former team.

The Giants, who went 17-2 against Arizona last season, are halfway to that loss total after one game. With 18 contests left, they’ll face the D-backs in about one in every five of their remaining games.

At this rate, it could amount to a race for third place.

After Monday’s loss, the Giants (40-38) are closer in the NL West standings to the fourth-place D-backs (36-44) than the second-place Padres (47-35). They are closer to the last-place Rockies (35-44) than they are the first-place Dodgers (49-29).

Giants starter Carlos Rodón turned in a similar start to Bumgarner: both struggled to find their command early and were forced out of the game with triple-digit pitch counts after five innings. But Rodón retired the final 12 hitters he faced, while Bumgarner put away seven of the final eight Giants to bat against him.

Rookie infielder David Villar’s MLB debut will go down as the bright spot of the day — and maybe the past two weeks.

After the Giants put up a two-spot on Bumgarner in the first, Villar led off the second by swinging at the first pitch he saw, sending a fastball off the right field wall. He came feet shy of starting his big-league career with a home run but settled for a double — and was left stranded as the Giants struggled to manufacture runs the rest of the game.


Taking matters into his own hands, Villar ripped an RBI single in his next at-bat that pulled the Giants within 4-3. It drove in Evan Longoria, who was the only Giant besides Villar and Darin Ruf to reach base more than once.

Villar also played a perfectly clean second base, which alone set him apart from many of the other eight men on the field.

Arizona’s first two runs, matching the Giants’ two-spot in the first, can be placed squarely on Rodón, who allowed a leadoff double and walked two batters while laboring through a 36-pitch first inning.

But the four that followed can be tacked on to a growing list of preventable runs allowed to score by poor defense.

The number of Giants errors in the second inning equaled the number of D-backs runs.

Curt Casali, who left the game in the sixth inning with an apparent torso injury, was credited with one when he attempted to nab Cooper Hummel stealing second. The throw — which arrived well late anyway — rolled into center field, allowing Hummel to advance to third, then score on Ketel Marte’s ground-rule double.

Earlier in the inning, Daulton Varsho scored all the way from first on an attempted sacrifice bunt. Rodón and Longoria both attempted to field the ball, leaving third base uncovered, and while Longoria threw out Geraldo Perdomo at first, that’s not where the play ended. Varsho bolted for the unmanned bag at third base. Casali sprinted up the third base line but a full leap in his catcher’s gear wasn’t able to corral a wild throw from Wilmer Flores.

In the sixth, Ruf’s roundabout route to a base hit to left field let the ball to roll all the way to the wall, allowing Buddy Kennedy to score all the way from first base. Kennedy reached first when shortstop Donovan Walton’s throw on a ground ball didn’t arrive in time.

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