Giants still trying to get out of offensive rut

Giants still trying to get out of offensive rut

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy has placed three players in the three-hole of the batting order since his team returned home in an attempt to jump-start the offense.

But the bats have yet to awaken, and the latest example came in San Francisco's 4-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.

The Giants went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and are now batting .144 (16-for-111) in those opportunities since the All-Star break.

Joe Panik, who returned to the Giants' starting lineup after missing 23 games on the disabled list (concussion), hit third on Thursday. But Panik didn't provide the spark Bochy hoped he might provide, going 0-for-4 in his first game since June 27.

"Not to put it all on Joe, but him being in the lineup sure is good for the guys to see," said Bochy. "We still had a tough night at the plate."

The Giants totaled just five hits in their series opener with the National League East-leading Nationals and have now lost 10 of 12 games. They provided just two runs of support to Johnny Cueto a day after scoring just one run for Madison Bumgarner. As a result, the Giants' NL West lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers has shrunk to just two games.

The club is obviously hoping its latest trade acquisition, veteran infielder Eduardo Nunez, can give aid to their reeling offense. Nunez was batting .300 with 47 RBIs and 12 home runs with Minnesota Twins.

"He's having a good year," said Bochy of Nunez, who was acquired from the Twins on Thursday night. "He's been swinging the bat well. We're hoping that he's going to help this offense."

Cueto thinks it's just a matter of time before the Giants find a rhythm at the plate.

"Eventually, the bat spell is going to end," he said.

For now, Bochy is left searching for ways to enliven the Giants' lineup.

Justin Wise is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.