Yankees stay hot, send Giants to 6th straight loss
By Chris Haft and Nick Suss
NEW YORK -- The Giants' struggles and the Yankees' surge both continued Friday night as San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford committed an eighth-inning throwing error that helped New York generate the tiebreaking run in a 3-2 victory. It was San Francisco's season-high sixth consecutive loss.
"Unfortunately, the first half we couldn't be consistent as a team," Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran said after his team won its seventh of their last 10 games and is now 4 1/2 games out of the top spot in the American League Wild Card race. "Now, we feel like we're playing better baseball, so we're happy where we're at. We just need to continue to put up wins and we'll see what happens."
With the score tied, 2-2, Chase Headley's infield single, a dribbler toward third base that didn't quite roll foul, launched the Yankees' winning rally against Josh Osich (1-2). The rookie left-hander then walked Mark Teixeira. Austin Romine tapped a grounder to Crawford, who stepped on second base before throwing to first in hopes of recording a double play. But first baseman Brandon Belt couldn't quite hold on to Crawford's high throw, enabling Headley to score.
"I don't know what other play I had," said Crawford, the reigning National League Gold Glove recipient at his position who committed a career-high three errors. "Maybe the other option would have been the glove flip, but I felt more comfortable taking it myself. I thought, worst-case scenario, we have guys on first and third, one out. Throw got up a little bit. Belt kind of lost it also, he said. That didn't help. Hopefully it doesn't happen again."
It was a rough night for the Giants, whose All-Star catcher, Buster Posey, left the game with a bruised right foot in the fourth inning. San Francisco starter Madison Bumgarner allowed runs in each of the first two innings before blanking New York in his last five innings.
"Everybody knows what's expected of each of us," Bumgarner said. "We're facing some adversity, but it's nothing we haven't seen before. We just have to worry about tomorrow, tomorrow, and forget about these last few games."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Play at the plate: Less than a month after the Yankees won a game on a Headley mad dash home against the Rangers on June 30, Headley's opportunistic baserunning did it again for the Yanks. Taking advantage of Crawford's third error of the game, Headley advanced from third to home in the eighth when the throw got past first base and Headley's head-first slide just beat Belt's throw home, pushing the Yankees back into the lead.
"[I was] just trying to anticipate a bad throw," Headley said. "I knew it was going to be a close play at first, so I kind of came around the bag looking for it. I saw it kick away and I thought it was away far enough that I scored."
Situational slumping: The Giants put two runners aboard with nobody out in the second and third innings and did not score both times, largely because of the team's inability to advance the runners. Conor Gillaspie struck out in the second inning and Angel Pagan flied out, prompting a double play with Gregor Blanco being thrown out at home. The Giants challenged the call at home, both for a potential violation of the home-plate collision rule and whether Blanco might have touched the plate before being tagged, but the original calls were both confirmed upon review.
"I dove for home plate. I might have touched it, but the umpires had the right position. I think it was inconclusive," Blanco said. "I was going to be aggressive. We've been playing tough baseball lately. We've got to take chances in any situation where we can."
Some-Runs DMC: The vaunted Yankees bullpen trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman entered Friday's game with a cumulative 2.01 ERA, but that level of dominance wasn't on display. Betances and Miller each allowed runs in the seventh and eighth respectively, allowing the Giants to tie the game. After the Yankees reseized the lead in the eighth, however, Chapman came in to seal the game, allowing a leadoff double but setting down the top of the Giants' order in the next three at-bats to save the win.
"Obviously these guys have been great all year for us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Sometimes they're going to score a run or two. And that's what they did."
Bad things come in threes: For Crawford, one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, defensive issues are extremely uncommon. His first career three-error game stung the Giants, with the last of the three -- all throwing errors -- leading directly to the run that extended San Francisco's losing skid to six games. After the game, though, Crawford said he wasn't worried about his play in the field affecting him beyond Friday, and manager Bruce Bochy, although he said the team needed to shore up its defense, agreed.
"You don't see it very often," Bochy said of Crawford's struggles. "We all have an off day. He's really, really good. He's as good as there is. And he just had an off night."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Betances' wild pitch in the seventh inning didn't just represent the Giants' first run of the game, it also ended quite a scoreless streak on the part of the Yankees' bullpen. The run was the first allowed by a Yankee reliever in 31 2/3 innings.
WHAT'S NEXT Giants:Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco's starter in Saturday's 1:05 p.m. PT rematch with the Yankees, will attempt to improve upon his last effort against New York. Samardzija yielded nine runs to New York in 4 2/3 innings last Aug. 2 while pitching for the White Sox.
Yankees: The Yankees will send Ivan Nova to the mound Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET, hoping he can rekindle his success from his only previous start against the Giants. Back in 2013, Nova tossed a shutout again San Francisco, allowing six hits and striking out seven.