Giants' bad-luck 'funk' continues with triple play

Giants' bad-luck 'funk' continues with triple play

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' luck should begin to improve, since Friday night's 4-1 loss to the Washington Nationals demonstrated that it could't get much worse.

Hitting proficiently with runners in scoring position has remained elusive for the Giants while they've lurched to a 2-11 record since the All-Star break. They've batted .147 (16-for-109) in those situations during their colossal skid. And San Francisco's struggles reached epic proportions in this game, as Brandon Crawford lined into a triple play to douse a bases-loaded, nobody-out threat in the eighth inning.

Asked if Crawford's fruitless bid for a hit served as a microcosm of the Giants' woes, manager Bruce Bochy replied, "It kind of is. When you get in these funks, what can go wrong goes wrong."

The Giants weren't thinking negatively as Crawford, their leading run producer with 63 RBIs, strode to the plate in the eighth inning. "I'm trying to get at least one run in right there," he said.

Instead, Crawford lined Sammy Solis' 0-1 delivery directly at first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who stepped on first base to erase Buster Posey before throwing across the diamond to third baseman Anthony Rendon. That took care of Denard Span, who had strayed down the third-base line, thus completing the Major Leagues' first 3-3-5 triple play in history.

"That's the quickest I've seen a bases-loaded, nobody-out rally end," Bochy said.

Indeed, at least the Giants weren't teased or misled into thinking optimistically.

"When I saw that [Zimmerman] caught it, I'm disappointed already," Crawford said. "And then I see that he probably has a double play there with Buster getting his secondary [lead] and Zimmerman kind of being behind him already when he's catching it.

"[I] didn't expect the third out, but that's a tough read over there at third. You want to be able to get home if [the ball] did hit the ground."

A triple play hadn't been turned against the Giants since Sept. 6, 2009, when Aaron Rowand grounded in a 5-4-3 rarity against Milwaukee.

"One of the last things you expect when you're in that situation is for something like that to happen," Crawford said.

Bochy expressed admiration for the diligence of Crawford, who actually broke his bat as he connected. "You can't do anything else but what Craw did. He smoked the ball," Bochy said.

Giants starter Jeff Samardzija echoed the sense that this event typified the Giants' plummeting fortunes.

"That about sums it up right there," said Samardzija (9-7), who allowed four runs in six innings and recorded his 1,000th career strikeout. "It wasn't like it was a ground ball to third base. He hit it on the screws and you saw what happened after that. That's just where we're at right now, but we have a lot of good guys in here who keep fighting."

Crawford's widely considered to be among them.

"Things like this happen," he said. "It's gone on for a while for us, unfortunately. But it'll turn around for us."

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