The Giants managed to win a game last night they probably should have lost, and then found a way to lose a game tonight they probably should have won. Wade Miley gave up four runs in the first, the big blow another home run from Brandon Belt, but followed that up with six scoreless, retiring at one point 16 of 17. Matt Cain, staked to an early lead, never looked sharp, missing spots, working long counts, and generally laboring. He left after five and 99 pitches, clinging to a 4-3 advantage. JC Gutierrez unfortunately gave the lead back in a shaky stretch in the 6th with the D-Backs 7-8-9 hitters delivering consecutive hits. The tying run came in on a sacrifice fly by leadoff man Gerardo Parra despite a nice throw from Juan Perez in left.
A.J. Pollock had three hits, an RBI, and scored two huge runs a night after going 0-6 with four whiffs. He was the center of the Giants first use of the new video challenge system. With one out in the 4th he singled off Cain and Miley followed with a pop out. Pollock appeared to have been picked off with Parra batting but the the first base umpire ruled him safe. Bochy challenged the call and after what seemed like much too long of a delay the ruling was upheld. The TV replays did not show it conclusively and that's the idea--they have to have clear evidence to overturn the call. It was a weird time to use the challenge as the Giants were up by two. An out would have ended the inning, though, and Boch knew he'd get another challenge after the 7th. It turned out to have a big impact on the game as Parra doubled off Cain's next pitch. (Matty was inactive for too long--that process has to be speeded up.) Hunter Pence got a clean carom and held Pollock at third. Matty then crossed up Buster Posey with a ball that broke outside with Aaron Hill batting and the pitch bounced to the backstop (it was ruled a passed ball). They played it perfectly, though, and appeared to tag out the runner coming home on a flashy, well-executed sequence. The home plate umpire ruled "safe" however, and a call that had a real shot to be overturned was left to stand. TV replays showed, in my view, that Pollock was out. So we were left to rue a missed chance! It's going to be interesting to see how managers employ the new challenge--unfortunately Boch got it wrong on his first try.
The Giants have only themselves to blame. Cain was not at his best, his final line of 5 IP and 2 ER looks better on paper than it really was. He just did not throw enough strikes and gave up hits when he did. Gutierrez could not get the pitcher out in that fateful 6th and that set up the go-ahead run. The Giants had a chance to tie it in the 7th when Belt and Brandon Crawford stood at 2nd and 3rd with one out after a single and a double. Miley got Juan Perez looking in a situation where he absolutely needed to swing the bat and put a ball in play and then Angel Pagan popped out. (Perez was also caught looking to end the game.) The D-Backs got the big outs when they needed them from their 'pen--both Posey and Gregor Blanco struck out looking after a Pablo Sandoval walk in the 8th. Santiago Casilla looked solid in his inning of work, the only real positive on the mound for the Giants tonight.
It was not our beloved ballclub's best effort. Let's hope they put it together a little better tomorrow.