San Francisco, CA – Four runs in one frame was the reason for Johnny Cueto’s early exit. The Giants need to win every game to stay close to the Dodgers who were rained out tonight.
After tonight’s 4-3 loss to the D-backs, San Francisco falls two games behind LA who are in first place in the National League West.
But, the champs have been here before so maybe it’s not time to panic yet. A few costly errors by the D-backs in the third frame gave the Giants an opportunity to get on board early. Denard Span reached first on a fielding error by second baseman Jean Segura. Span hit a grounder to Segura but he scooped the ball with his glove and then lost it behind his back.
Angel Pagan followed with a single to right fielder Yasmany Tomas who also made an attempt to scoop the ball with his glove but he ended up kicking it instead. Both players were safe at second and first with no outs. Buster Posey flew out to center field and Span advanced to third.
Span scored on Brandon Crawford’s sacrifice fly making it a 1-0 game. San Francisco put two on in the second with a single from Hunter Pence and a free pass to Eduardo Nunez with two outs in in the inning. But failed to drive in any runs when Johnny Cueto struck out to end the frame.
“We created chances out there that we couldn’t cash in on,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “That big hit was eluding us.”
Cueto forced Michael Bourn to ground out to start the fourth. He then got himself into a jam by giving up to singles in the fourth to A.J. Pollack and Welington Castillo with two outs. He struck out Jake Lamb to end the threat and keep the D-Backs off the board. By the fifth, Arizona frustrated Cueto when they scored two runs and took the lead.
“He was locked in going into that inning,” Bochy said. “I think the pitches caught up with him. His command was a little off. He was really on and just started missing his spots. Once he got to that pitch count, I felt like I had to go get him. It’s unfortunate, because he was really throwing the ball well.”
Tomas led off the frame with a free pass. Chris Owings tied the game when he tripled and drove in Tomas. Cueto walked Zack Greinke and surrendered a RBI single to Segura extending the D-Backs lead 2-1. Another walk to Pollock loaded the bases despite and effort to tag Segura out at third. He struck out Paul Goldschmidt but yielded a two-run single to Castillo.
That was the end of Cueto’s night. Four runs in the fifth was about all Bochy could take. Javier Lopez replaced Cueto to force Lamb to fly out to center field to end the inning. Cueto tossed 4 2/3 innings, gave up five hits, four runs, walked four and struck out five. He had allowed just two runs in his last 17 innings heading into the fifth.
“I don’t even know myself,” said Cueto through an interpreter. “It was a bad inning and I just don’t know what happened. I didn’t do my job.”
San Francisco added a run in the sixth with back-to-back doubles from Hunter Pence who went 3-for-3 with a walk and one run scored. It marked his first game with three-or-more hits since May 29 at Colorado. And Joe Panik who drove in Pence to make it a 4-2 game. By the seventh the Giants had a chance to rally back.
Pagan knocked a one-out double to center field and Posey got a free pass but the D-backs bullpen forced Crawford to hit into a double play to end the threat. By the ninth Jarrett Parker was hit by a pitch, Pagan followed with a single scoring in Parker putting the tying run on base but Posey grounded out to end the game.