AT&T PARK — In recent weeks, Matt Moore’s disastrously bad 2017 has taken a small, but noticeable turn for the better.
The left-hander, who entered and exited the day lugging around the second-worst ERA in baseball, was sporting a 3.18 ERA in his last five outings before confronting the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In the 4-1 loss to the National League West frontrunners, Moore detoured back into the wilderness, surrendering four runs and a barrage of hard contact before manager Bruce Bochy emerged from the dugout with one out in the fifth.
“There’s not very much that feels good about what went on tonight,” Moore said.
During Moore’s 4.1 innings on the mound, no ball was hit harder than home run No. 37 for Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger. The blast traveled some 441 feet, leaving Bellinger’s bat at 107 mph en route to splashing into McCovey Cove.
That homer was the first of two runs Moore served up in the frame. In the series finale, the Dodgers wasted no time jumping on the lefty, ambushing Moore for a pair of runs in the first.
Bellinger doubled in the opening run before Logan Forsythe brought in the second with a triple.
“It’s just not fun,” Moore said after dropping to 5-14 and watching his ERA rise to 5.39.
“Winning cures everything and we haven’t done a whole lot of that this year,” Moore added.
While the Dodgers bats chased Moore in the middle of the fifth, their starter, Yu Darvish, stumped the Giants. In seven shutout innings, the right-hander struck out five Giants, limiting the hosts to a trio of singles.
“He’s got great stuff,” Bochy said. “He’s got velocity. He’s got four pitches. [He’s got] command. He worked up and down. It’s a tough matchup, but still, you’ve got to find a way to score runs and guys, sure they haven’t seen him — they don’t have a reference. But the good ones, [if] they’re on, they’re tough.”
— Karl Buscheck (@KarlBuscheck) September 14, 2017
The strong start brought to a halt what had been a rude introduction to Dodger blue for the Japanese starter. Since arriving from the Texas Rangers on July 31, Darvish produced a 5.34 ERA in six starts.
Bullpen does its job
In relief of Moore, four Giants relievers combined to post a clean slate across 4.2 innings. Kyle Crick, who authored 1.2 innings of scoreless cleanup, began the effort, followed by Cory Gearrin, Reyes Moronta and Hunter Strickland.
A strange starter
Entering the evening, Denard Span was the only Giant who’d faced Darvish. The center fielder, recently promoted to the third spot in the lineup, was 5-for-8 against Darvish before Wednesday’s contest. Span was hitless in three at bats in the loss.
Give the season series to the Dodgers
With a win in the final meeting between the eternal rivals, the Dodgers claimed the season series 9-7.
A giant night
In honor of African American Heritage Night, the Giants hosted legends Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson and Willie McCovey. Those four former stars — all Hall of Famers save for Bonds — combined to crush 2,529 home runs.
Robinson, the one-time Giants manager, held a pregame press conference and was honored on the field before the first pitch with a video tribute on the giant screen high above the kale garden.