Spander: Hitting woes leave no room for error

So Barry Zito pitches his best game in weeks. And the Giants still lose. So Zito, Santiago Casilla, Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo combine for a one-hitter. And the Giants still lose. It’s going to be a long winter.

Twice this season, Giant pitchers — Jonathan Sanchez back in April, Zito and the entourage Monday night — limited the other team, respectively the Padres and the Dodgers, to one lousy hit. Twice this season the Giants lost those games.

We know the axiom, that you can’t have too much pitching. For sure the Giants don’t have too much hitting. Maybe they ought to try going to the plate with bats. Or with blindfolds.

You surmise Carney Lansford was not the culprit.

On Friday night, the Giants beat San Diego 1-0. Saturday night, the Giants lost to San Diego 1-0. Sunday, a miracle, the Giants won 6-1. Tuesday, another disappointment, the Giants lost 1-0. Four games, Giants pitching allows three runs and San Francisco loses two of those games.

“We’ve got to find ways to put runs on the board,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy in one of those sun-rises-in-the-east observations. And the 49ers have to stop throwing interceptions. And Tiger Woods has to stop making bogeys.

The question to all of the above is “How?”

That advertising slogan, conjured up in the attempt to fill AT&T Park, “It’s magic inside”? On the contrary, it’s tragic inside, from a baseball standpoint.

Zito hits a guy, walks two others, there’s a ball up the middle Juan Uribe can’t get out of his glove, and the Giants are finished.

You watched as the innings rolled by, and Clayton Kershaw did a hell of an imitation of Sandy Koufax and sensed the inevitability of defeat. One run to tie? Not a chance.

“Sometimes we get the tough breaks,” was the Zito comment. He wasn’t feeling sorry for himself, even though he’s lost eight in a row as a starter.

Good teams make their breaks. Not-so-good teams sit in the clubhouse and muse about bad bounces and bad calls. If the other team doesn’t score, is the eternal truth, you can’t lose. If you don’t score, you can’t win.

To think the history of the Giants is full of men such as Willie Mays and Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and Jack Clark, Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell, Bobby Bonds and Barry Bonds, and now getting even a run a game seems a virtual impossibility.

The Padres have recovered from their little burp, and all of a sudden the Giants again are staring up at a team, which despite the fall, hasn’t been out of first place for months. There’s time, certainly, for San Francisco to take the division, two and a half weeks, but optimism is becoming as rare as a big inning.

Tim Lincecum has returned from limbo, and the rest of the staff is remarkably dependable. Finally, Zito, lobbing those curves, looked efficient.

But it doesn’t matter for the Giants. Their weakness at the plate has overwhelmed their strength on the mound.

The joke about the offensively challenged 1962 Dodgers was they could lose even if their pitchers threw a shutout. Some five decades later, the 2010 Giants find themselves unable to laugh. Or score.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. E-mail him at typoes@aol.com.

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