An impressive outing by Derek Holland went by the wayside on Friday afternoon as a third consecutive weak offensive performance sent the San Francisco Giants to a third consecutive loss, falling 6-2 to the Chicago Cubs.
Holland dueled with Kyle Hendricks and kept the game deadlocked at 1-1 into the seventh inning, but after hitting Javier Baez and walking Ian Happ, Holland was pulled for left-hander Will Smith.
Cubs shortstop Addison Russell bunted the runners over, and a four-pitch walk to Tommy La Stella loaded the bases. Following the walk, Smith left his first pitch to Ben Zobrist out over the plate, and the switch-hitting right fielder sent a double into the left field corner to score a pair and put Chicago (26-21) in front. Cory Gearrin relieved Smith, and though he struck out Albert Almora Jr., he surrendered a two-run single to Kris Bryant to break the game open.
Chicago added another run in the eighth on a Russell RBI single. The Giants got one back in the ninth on a seeing-eye single by Evan Longoria, which led Joe Maddon to bring in his third pitcher of the inning: Brandon Morrow. The Cal product came on and needed just three pitches — all 100-mph fastballs — to strike out Mac Williamson for his 11th save of the year. Williamson — in his first game back after missing 27 with a concussion — went 0-for-4.
Hendricks allowed just two hits and a pair of walks in the series opener, with one of those being Gorkys Hernandez’ fifth homer of the year — an 0-2 pitch that landed in the front row in left field to tie the game in the top of the fourth.
Other than that, San Francisco (24-27) mustered very little against the right-hander, going without a baserunner until Hernandez’s round-tripper and putting multiple men on base just once. Hernandez singled with two outs in the sixth and Andrew McCutchen followed with a walk, but Buster Posey grounded into a force out to end the inning.
The Cubs scored four batters into the game on an Anthony Rizzo RBI single, but Williamson threw out Almora, Jr., at the plate on a bid for a second run. It would be the only substantial threat for the hosts until the seventh, with Holland retiring ten in a row before hitting Baez. He allowed five hits and a pair of walks in six-plus innings, striking out six. He took the loss, though only two of his three runs were earned, as a passed ball set up the first run of the game.