SAN FRANCISCO – It was just before 1 a.m. Tuesday when Giants manager Bruce Bochy walked into his postgame news conference, sat down and began rubbing his eyes.
He had just watched his team lose 4-3 to the New York Mets in 16 innings, a game in which the Giants stranded 18 runners, squandered a strong start by Tim Lincecum and ultimately fell to 17-33 in their last 50 games on an unearned run.
"That's as frustrating a game as we've had," Bochy said.
Lincecum struck out a season-high 11 and matched lines with Mets starter Matt Harvey, a leading candidate to start the All-Star Game, for seven innings. But both were reduced to afterthoughts by the end of a 5-hour, 26-minute affair that saw the Giants leave 13 runners on base in extra innings.
The Giants were 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position and left the bases loaded in the 13th and 15th innings. After the Mets broke the tie in the 16th when shortstop Brandon Crawford bobbled a routine grounder with runners on the corners and two outs, the Giants put two men on with one out in the bottom of the inning but, again, could not score.
The 18 men left on base were the most the Giants had stranded since 1998.
"I think it's caught up with all of us," Bochy said. "We had so many chances and just couldn't get a hit."
Crawford had made a run-saving play in the 11th to aid a Giants bullpen that allowed just the one unearned run over nine innings. The Giants put two men on in the bottom of that inning, but Hunter Pence hit a drive to right field that Marlon Byrd ran down on the warning track, and Crawford popped out to end the threat.
Lincecum, still looking for his first win since June 4, recorded double-digit strikeouts for the first time since last July 14. The Giants gave him a 2-0 lead in the first on Buster Posey's 13th home run, but the Mets scored once in the fifth and twice in the sixth, taking advantage of spotty defense in the latter.
In the seventh, the Giants tied the score against Harvey when Pence tripled, breaking an 0-for-24 skid, and scored on Crawford's single.
Et cetera – The Giants made several roster moves Tuesday, including purchasing the contract of Kensuke Tanaka from Triple-A Fresno, hoping for a spark to their scuffling offense.
Tanaka, who was batting .330 at Triple A, went into the lineup immediately, making his major-league debut against the Mets in left field. Tanaka played primarily infield in his native Japan and in spring training after signing with the Giants in January. But he had been playing more left field recently in Fresno and will be there exclusively with the Giants.
The Giants designated Cole Gillespie for assignment to make room for Tanaka on the 25-man roster. They also placed catcher Hector Sanchez on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right shoulder and recalled left-hander Michael Kickham from Fresno.
The Giants also signed outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a minor-league contract. Bochy said the plan is for Francoeur to play at Fresno "for a few games, and then we'll hopefully have him helping out in our outfield situation."
Francoeur had 100-RBI seasons in Atlanta in 2006 and 2007, but he was hitting just .208 in 59 games for Kansas City this season before being let go.