carry edmondson/usa today sportsMichael Crabtree caught two passes for 68 yards in his season debut Sunday.

carry edmondson/usa today sportsMichael Crabtree caught two passes for 68 yards in his season debut Sunday.

Giants botch golden opportunity against Diamondbacks

Twelve days can seem like an eternity, especially in a game without a clock.

In less than two weeks, the Giants (45-52) went from being a floating corpse to a team revived by Tim Lincecum's no-hitter to a club that whiffed at a big-fat softball right down the middle of the plate. Every baseball game is just one day in a marathon that lasts six months, but Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks seemed to carry more weight.

The Giants made it clear that they didn't want to just win their three-game set with the division leaders over the weekend; they needed to sweep. With three wins, they would have pulled to within 3½ games of the D'backs, opening the second half with a splash hit. Instead, they're 5½ back and one bad week away from getting knocked out of contention for good.

Loss No. 52 was a microcosm of the entire season: Murphy showed up with his law and imposed it all over the diamond.

The Diamondbacks scored their first run in the opening inning after the second baseman patrolling left field for the Giants, Kensuke Tanaka, misplayed a shot to the gap that fell on the warning track for a triple. The catch would have required highlight reel effort, but playoff teams tend to wind up in the right side of those plays.

In the sixth, the Giants fumbled an opportunity to tie the game when Pablo Sandoval hit the ball to the wall in left center. Rather than holding Buster Posey, who runs like he has a piano tied to his butt, at third base, coach Tim Flannery waved him in and he was nailed at the plate.

The play required a perfect relay from the outfield to shortstop to home, but the reward wasn't worth the risk when they could have had runners at second and third with no outs. As soon as they sparked a fire, they blew it out like a birthday candle.

The bats eventually put one across the plate in the top of ninth, but by then the bullpen had spoiled another stellar outing from Madison Bumgarner, who allowed just one run in seven innings, by giving up a pair of runs in the top of the eighth. Still, the baseball gods offered the Giants a ninth-inning rally, allowing Hunter Pence to reach on an error by the pitcher and granting infield singles to Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford. But Tanaka let the air out of the tires, trying to stretch from first to second on a throwing error when the tying run was due up to the plate.

Sometimes, it just isn't your day at the yard and, sometimes, it lasts an entire season.

The Giants still have time to catch the D'backs, but the problem is that the Los Angeles Dodgers are about to pull away from pack.

Recent history suggests that a lot can happen in a week, especially when the Giants are playing seven games at AT&T Park. But if the team continues to fan on every meatball that comes down the pipe, this long season will reach its conclusion faster than an Aroldis Chapman heater hits the mitt.

Paul Gackle is a contributor to The San Francisco Examiner. He can be reached at pgackle@sfexaminer.com and followed on Twitter @GackleReport.

Arizona DiamondbacksGiantsPaul GackleSan Francisco Giants

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Deputy public defender Chris Garcia outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
As pandemic wanes, SF public defender hopes clients will get ‘their day in court’

Like other attorneys in San Francisco, Deputy Public Defender Chris Garcia has… Continue reading

Hyphen hosts a group show at Space Gallery in San Francisco in 2010. (Photo courtesy of Albert Law/Pork Belly Studio)
What’s in a name? Asian American magazine fights to keep its identity

An investor-backed media group laid claim to the moniker of SF’s long-running Hyphen magazine, sparking a conversation about writing over community history

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fight over ‘poverty tows’ heats up

‘What can we do to ensure the vehicle stays in the hands of the owner?’

Crab fisherman Skip Ward of Marysville casts his crab net out off a pier near Fort Point. (Craig Lee/Special to The	Examiner)
San Francisco came back to life, and we captured it all

Last spring, in the early days of the pandemic, the bestselling authors… Continue reading

Revelers at Madrone Art Bar in the early hours of June 15, 2021 (Courtesy Power Quevedo).
No social distancing at Motown-themed dance party

‘I don’t care how anyone feels, I just want to dance!’

Most Read