Giants bats stay chilled as losing streak hits 4

Giants bats stay chilled as losing streak hits 4

BOSTON -- The All-Star break is proving to be the most formidable foe on the Giants' schedule.

San Francisco's hitters sank deeper into a genuine slump Tuesday as the club dropped its fourth consecutive game, a 4-0 decision at the hands of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The Giants finished the traditional first half with a four-game winning streak and eight victories in 10 games. However, they've reversed direction, and though they still possess the Major Leagues' best record (57-37), they won't own that distinction much longer at the current rate.

Asked whether the All-Star break seemed ill-timed for the Giants, manager Bruce Bochy didn't hesitate to say it was. He acknowledged the team looked "flat," adding this is common when a club's offense sputters.

"The way we were playing, we wish the break was a little farther ahead," Bochy said. "We were doing everything so well -- pitching, timely hits. It seems like we're having a hard time rebooting."

That's particularly the case for Brandon Belt, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford, San Francisco's 3-4-5 hitters. Since the All-Star break, Belt's 0-for-16, Posey's 3-for-16 and Crawford's 2-for-16.

A hit from any of them in the first inning would have enabled the Giants to avoid their fifth shutout. But after Denard Span and Angel Pagan singled to open the game, Boston starter Rick Porcello recorded the only strikeouts of his 6 1/3-inning performance as he set down Belt, Posey and Crawford.

Bochy acknowledged the Giants are beginning to miss the contributions of their three injured regulars: Hunter Pence, Matt Duffy and Joe Panik.

"It's a lot to ask of these other guys who come up, and they've been doing a good job coming through for us," Bochy said. "But it's the heart of the order that carries you through the season."

Saying without a hint of a smile that "some of my bats have holes in them," Belt fruitlessly tried using a different bat.

"Nothing seems to be working right now," the All-Star first baseman said. "I have to just honestly trust myself. ... It probably has a little bit to do with being too passive up there. I don't think I've been ready to hit when I get my pitch. So I have to switch that up a little bit."

Belt admitted sharing many of these thoughts with hitting coach Hensley Meulens in a postgame chat.

"I've learned so much," Belt said, "I feel like I should come out and be consistent."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. 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.