Giants' offense lacking outside of homers

Belt, Crawford go yard, but Cubs bullpen effective in containing bats

Giants' offense lacking outside of homers

CHICAGO -- The home runs that Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford hit Thursday night left definite impressions.

Yet the most significant aspect of the Giants' offense was the utter lack of it, besides the Brandon-Brandon long balls, in San Francisco's 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

After batting .308 (37-for-120) in their previous series at Atlanta, the Giants mustered three hits other than their homers. San Francisco leads the National League with 12 home runs in August, but that ultimately did the reigning World Series champions little good against the postseason-hungry Cubs.

"We don't want to look for home runs all the time," said Belt, who has four homers and 11 RBIs in his last 13 games. "We just want to go up there, especially with guys in scoring position, and put the ball in play."

Crawford's two-run homer

Chicago gave the Giants few opportunities to do that. Five relievers combined to yield two hits in five innings. The only vulnerable member of this quintet was Tommy Hunter, who surrendered Hunter Pence's single and Crawford's homer.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy remarked about "those arms they brought out of there -- they have good velocity and good stuff."

Grimm escapes jam

Conditions weren't conducive to a classic Wrigley slugfest, since the wind wasn't blowing toward Lake Michigan. But with the team combining for three home runs and given the several balls hit to the warning track, it was a potentially fruitful night for hitting. That is, hitting for distance, not with consistency.

Belt said of his homer, "Honestly, as soon as I hit it, I thought it was a double off the wall."

He added that, in general, "I don't think [batted balls were] necessarily carrying. But [they] weren't being knocked down. Maybe it was being knocked down more going to right field and right-center."

Belt and Crawford triumphed over this tendency by homering to the opposite field, a skill they have displayed repeatedly. Crawford narrowed the Giants' deficit to one run with his team-high 19th homer, which also was his seventh in 14 games. With 14 RBIs in this span, Crawford already has tied his personal best of 69, which he reached last year.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.