San Francisco, CA – The Giants returned home to an unusual schedule. They flew from Washington, D.C. this morning to San Francisco to start a six-game homestand. Once arriving to the ballpark, the announcements of the All-Star reserves caused a frenzy in the clubhouse as two more Giants players made the All-Star team.
But the results of the game wasn’t the ending San Francisco was looking for as they lost to the New York Mets 3-0. The Mets scored three runs in the ninth to seal their victory behind Johnny Monell’s two-run double, followed by Juan Lagares RBI single for the insurance run.
“This offense right now, it’s sputtering,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “We got five runs the last series and got shut out today. That’s not going to work.”
San Francisco lost their seventh straight contest, marking their second streak of seven-or-more losses this season. The last time the Giants had two losing streaks of seven-or-more games in the same season was 2000 when they lost seven straight from April 8-15 and eight straight from May 12-20.
Jonathon Niese out dueled Chris Heston on the mound. Both pitchers tossed eight scoreless innings until Heston was pulled with one out in the eighth. Niese snapped his six-game losing streak, which matched his career-high. Tonight’s win marked his first victory against San Francisco since August 1, 2012 and his first win since May 9th in Philadelphia.
“It’s been awhile. That felt good,” Niese said.
Heston on the other hand didn’t pitch poorly, he was actually quite good. He just didn’t get the runs to support him as the Giants have fallen into a rut in producing quality hits. Heston threw 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball, allowing four walks which matched his career-high, one hit batter, three hits and struck out two. The last time he faced the Mets, he tossed a no-hit but tonight he fell short when the bullpen took over.
“We’re kind of in one of those ruts right now,” said Heston. “These guys are winners and they’ve proved it over the years, so it’s just a matter of time before we all start clicking.”
“I’ll be honest, a little,” said Bochy when asked about the concerns of the bullpen. “It’s been our strength, and the bullpen is struggling a little bit. They got our setup guy and closer tonight, and that’s something we’ve been so good at. We’ve definitely got to tighten up this bullpen and get back to who we are.”
Sergio Romo surrendered a leadoff single to Michael Cuddyer to start the ninth. Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed with a double putting two on with no outs. Then Santiago Casilla replaced Romo and gave up a two-run double to Monell, followed by a RBI single from Lagares making it a 3-0 game. New York’s closer Jeurys Familia retired all three batters giving San Francisco no hope for a comeback.
“I kind of knew he was going to throw a first-pitch slider, just because it’s Casilla,” Monell said. “I just took a bad swing on it. Then 3-2 he had to come over the plate, he didn’t really want to walk the bases loaded with [Lucas] Duda on deck. I’m just fortunate enough to get a good pitch to hit and put it in the corner to drive in two.”
The Giants had a chance in the sixth when Niese loaded the bases. Joaquin Arias led off the frame with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Gregor Blanco struck out swinging, but Niese walked both Ehire Adrianza and Matt Duffy. But Buster Posey grounded out to end the inning stranding all three runners. That was San Francisco’s only chance to drive in a run.
Notes – The All-Star Reserves were announced today and it was a celebration in the Giants clubhouse. First timers Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik will join All-Star starters Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner. The four players will join their manager Bruce Bochy who will coach his 4th All-Star game. A huge accomplishment for the organization as each of these players came up through their farm system.
“I’m really excited,” said Panik. “It’s pretty cool, we’re all Giants from the beginning. We were kind of raised as Giants and have a Giants way about us. It’s definitely kinda cool to have all four of us come through the system and all go through the same thing.”
Crawford is the first Giants shortstop to make the All-Star squad since Rich Aurilia in 2001. He leads the National League in home runs (12) and RBI’s (49). Crawford was selected by the players, and did not need the help of his manager to add him to the All-Star roster. He’s hitting .347 with runners in scoring position and 5-for-his-last-13 in such situations.
“I’m excited, it’s an honor to be selected to the All-Star team,” Crawford said. “I think going into the year you always want to put up numbers that could make you a candidate for an All-Star team. It’s a huge honor to be selected by your peers and by the other coaches in the league. To be selected that way is pretty cool.”
Panik unlike the others has less time in the Majors but has put up remarkable numbers to earn his first spot in the All-Star roster. His 93 hits are the fourth-most in the NL behind Miami’s Dee Gordon, Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock. Among NL leaders ranks sixth in doubles (21) and 10th in batting average. Panik’s multi-hit games are 11th in the league.
It’s also the first time the Giants have had a double-play combo in the same All-Star game since 2001, when Jeff Kent and Aurilia made the team. Posey was elected to his third All-Star team, his second as the NL’s starting catcher. He received more than 9.9 million votes, beating out Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina, who finished second in the fan voting. Posey became the Giants first three-time All-Star catcher since Walker Copper in 1946-48.
“It’s an exciting time and I’m excited to share the experience with Panik, Craw and Bum,” said Posey. “Anytime your recognized by the fans or peers it’s an honor. I think what has made this team successful is that guys step up on this field and the ultimate goal is to win. This year is special along with 2013 when Bochy and the rest of the staff joined us there. This year’s trip will be even more memorable.”
“My most memorable All-Star was my first in Boston,” Giants manger Bruce Bochy said. “Never in a million years did I think I would be managing an All-Star game. I mean your coaching the best players in baseball, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
All deserved to make the trip to Cincinnati, Bumgarner makes his third straight appearance as an All-Star. What he did last season is still very vivid. So it doesn’t matter what his numbers are this year, because he’s a three time World Series Champion. The World Series MVP wants nothing more than to see the new guys take in the excitement at this years All-Star game.
“It’s really awesome to get the opportunity to go and be apart of that experience, it’s pretty unbelievable,” said Bumgarner. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, especially to see Panik and Crawford, it’s their first one. I’m excited to see that and how they take in everything and be apart of the whole deal.”