Giants can't muster late-inning rally in 4-1 loss to Cubs

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Subscribe

SAN FRANCISCO — Since the calendar turned to July, the Giants have played with such a high level of confidence that they arrive at the park on a daily basis with certainty.

The Giants have started to believe it’s no longer a question of if they’ll take over a ballgame and emerge victorious, but rather when they’ll do so.

On the rare day when a game-winning rally doesn’t materialize, when they turn in the kind of flat performance that was a staple of the first half of the season, it defies their own expectations.

That was the case in the Giants’ underwhelming 4-1 loss to the Cubs on Wednesday.

With two-out singles in the ninth from Donovan Solano and Alex Dickerson, the Giants brought the tying run to the plate against Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel. The magic that’s been on display for the last week at Oracle Park finally ran out, though, as Brandon Belt flew out to left field to end the game.

“Even at that time, you feel like something good is going to happen,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We came up a little short today, but the most important thing is we still got the tying run up there. We looked a little flat today.”

Rookie Tyler Beede’s marvelous start to the month came to a halt as he surrendered three home runs while an offense that’s made a habit out of producing late fireworks couldn’t provide a spark.

A deflating loss in a series the Giants already clinched is not enough to diminish what the club has accomplished over the last four weeks. The Giants are still 16-4 this month, still a threat in the National League wild-card race and still positioned to make another move in the standings with upcoming series in San Diego, Philadelphia and Denver.

An inability to sweep the first-place Cubs will make building a closing argument ahead of the July 31 trade deadline slightly more difficult, but the club is optimistic Thursday’s off day will serve the team well.

“They’ve got to be running on fumes,” Bochy said. “You look at their workload, the innings that they’ve played, this day off is coming at a good time. They were doing all they could to get this one, they just came up short.”

As the Giants try to convince president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi to keep their roster together for a late-summer postseason push, they’re trying to distance themselves from the moribund, depressing brand of baseball they played during the first two months of the season.

Competitive losses, late rallies and strong offensive performances will do that. Wednesday’s loss to the Cubs won’t.

The Giants initially appeared to catch a break Wednesday morning when the Cubs announced that starter Jon Lester needed to be scratched due to an illness. Instead of facing a pitcher with a 3.87 ERA, the Giants went up against righty Tyler Chatwood, who entered with a 4.30 ERA.

Chatwood didn’t have his best command in four innings against the Giants, but he escaped multiple jams and limited San Francisco to just one run in four innings of work. A Cubs bullpen that couldn’t hold up on Monday and Tuesday finished the job on Wednesday, as five relievers combined to throw five scoreless innings.

The Cubs armed their spot starter with an early lead as shortstop Javy Baez hit Chicago’s first home run off Beede, a 411-foot blast into the left-field bleachers. Beede’s first-pitch fastball to Baez missed well off the inside corner, but the Cubs’ leading slugger managed to turn on the pitch and muscle it halfway up the stands.

Chicago had little trouble handling Beede’s mid-90s fastball, averaging an exit velocity of 99 miles per hour on the 12 fastballs they put in play. However, the Cubs had no answer for Beede’s slider, a pitch he’s only recently started throwing with regularity.

Beede induced nine swings and misses on 30 sliders and allowed just two balls in play on the breaking pitch.

“I feel confident with it and it’s certainly a pitch that when it’s on, Vogt or Posey feels confident calling it,” Beede said. “Today I used it more than I had in the past and it’s a good pitch for me.”

By racking up 20 swinging strikes, Beede recorded the most whiffs in a game by a Giants pitcher since Johnny Cueto piled up 24 in a six-inning stint against the Phillies on June 3, 2017.

A great slider wasn’t enough to save Beede, though, as the Cubs recorded eight of their 10 hits against him on his four-seam fastball.

“Mis-located fastballs kind of leaked back over the plate,” Bochy said. “But he battled. He got us there in the sixth, up over 100 pitches and kept us somewhat in the game.”

The lone Giants run came on a third-inning single from catcher Stephen Vogt, who finished the day with three hits and a belief that one loss is just a temporary setback for a team that’s made a significant comeback.

“We just had an unbelievable homestand, we’re coming off a great road trip and we’re excited for this off day to rest up and pick right back up on Friday,” Vogt said.

Show Comment

Our Network

Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Emerald Report
Spirited Magazine