Giants squander chances, fall to Padres

Giants squander chances, fall to Padres

Giants squander chances, fall to Padres

SAN DIEGO -- The opportunities were plentiful but the runs were scarce for the Giants in Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Padres at Petco Park.

Sound familiar?

The Giants continued their trend of poor situational hitting by leaving 11 men on base and going 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Catalyst Angel Pagan went 3-for-5 and came a homer shy of the cycle, but he was stranded on third base after all three of his hits.

"It's been an issue for a while, and it reared its head again tonight," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "That's a game we let get away."

The Giants also wasted a solid effort from left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who struck out six and allowed two runs on five hits in six innings to earn a no-decision. San Francisco has now lost eight of Bumgarner's last nine starts, despite his 2.77 ERA over that span.

But Bumgarner wouldn't put the onus on the offense for the club's struggles in his outings.

"Hitting's hard," Bumgarner said. "Everybody's working hard. We're having a tough time this year -- not just hitting. We're having a tough time pitching at times, defense. It's been a tough year all around."

And one of the toughest aspects of the season has been the Giants' inability to deliver in key situations. Including Tuesday's game, they're now hitting .229 in their last 15 contests with men in scoring position.

"It really falls on our shoulders," said Giants catcher Buster Posey, who was removed in the seventh inning after being hit on the right hand while trying to block a pitch in the dirt. "We're the ones that are responsible for it. I've probably said it 100 times this year -- sometimes it's a matter of trying to do too much."

Posey is questionable for Wednesday's contest, Bochy said. Bumgarner's breaking ball in the dirt hit the lip of the plate before it bounced and hit Posey in the ring finger, tearing the nail almost entirely off. Posey remained in the game, but was pinch-hit for in his next at-bat.

Perhaps the biggest bright spot on the night for the Giants was a 1-2-3 eighth inning from right-hander Heath Hembree, the club's No. 6 prospect, who was making his big league debut. Hembree needed just 11 pitches -- seven of them strikes -- to retire the side.

The loss went to Jake Dunning, another reliever who was playing for Triple-A Fresno a day earlier. Dunning faced two batters and allowed a walk and a single, before Chris Denorfia bounced a go-ahead RBI hit through the left side off Javier Lopez. Bochy opted to stick with Lopez against the right-hander, with hot-hitting lefty Will Venable on deck.

"Anytime you get in there with a sidearm lefty, it's tough," said Denorfia. "I can't even remember the last time I faced him. I didn't see the ball well, but after that I had to battle, choke up, and I did what I could to get the ball to the outfield."

Bumgarner cruised through the first four innings, facing the minimum and allowing just one hit, which was erased quickly with a double play. But he ran into trouble in the fifth.

Kyle Blanks smoked a double to right, and two batters later Nick Hundley plated him with an RBI double. Bochy then opted to intentionally walk Ronny Cedeno to get to Padres starter Robbie Erlin. The move quickly backfired when Erlin poked a first-pitch fastball into center field for his first career hit and RBI, giving the Padres a 2-0 lead.

"That's just the way the ball falls sometimes," said Bumgarner, who noted that he executed the pitch he wanted to throw, but got unlucky on the bloop.

The Padres' lead didn't last long, however. Brandon Belt, Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Joaquin Arias all hit sharp singles, which resulted in a pair of runs a half inning later.

Though they threatened all night, that was the only damage the Giants could do offensively.

"They weren't very quality at-bats with men on base," Bochy said. "One inning we had a couple, but we need to get somebody to come through to win a tight game like this."

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.