SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants won a series against their division leaders over the weekend, taking a small bite out of their deficit in the National League West to start the second half, and still manager Bruce Bochy's immediate reflections on the series Sunday afternoon led with the word "disappointing."
That's because the Giants had just sent their All-Star starter Madison Bumgarner to the mound with a chance at a sweep, watched him hold the Diamondbacks to one run over seven innings and couldn't capitalize in a 3-1 loss at AT&T Park. The Giants settled for picking up one game on Arizona, whom they now trail by 5 1/2 games in the West and won't see again until the end of August.
"Disappointing, with the job that Bumgarner did," Bochy said. "You take that anytime, the job that he gave us. He went out there and gave us a chance to get the sweep – we just couldn't get this offense going."
Not until the ninth inning, when the Giants pushed across their lone run with the help of two Diamondbacks errors and without hitting a ball out of the infield. Before that, their best scoring chance had come in the sixth, when Buster Posey led off with a walk against Arizona's Randall Delgado and Pablo Sandoval doubled into the gap in left-center.
Third-base coach Tim Flannery waved Posey around third as Arizona shortstop Cliff Pennington made a strong relay throw that just beat Posey to the plate, with catcher Miguel Montero executing a diving tag. Flannery took the play hard afterward.
"With nobody out, that can't happen," Flannery said. "I feel responsible for the game; I feel responsible for Bum not getting a win. It comes with the territory over there. There's days you have a moment you help win games and then occasionally you're in the middle of helping to lose a game. And that's how I felt today."
Bochy defended the decision, saying that it "looked like Buster was going to make it, and the shortstop came up firing and made a great throw. You have to give them credit for executing."
Nor did Bumgarner place the onus for the loss on Flannery.
"I don't think anybody's blaming it on him, except maybe himself," Bumgarner said. "He takes it personal, but you're not going to be right every single time. (Pennington) had to make a perfect throw, and he did."
Bumgarner allowed a run in the first inning when Martin Prado tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Paul Goldschmidt, but he held the Diamondbacks scoreless after that despite putting the leadoff man on in each of his final four innings. Arizona added two more runs in the eighth on Cody Ross' bases-loaded single off Jean Machi, just recalled from Triple A.
Prado's triple landed just beyond the reach of Kensuke Tanaka, the converted second baseman playing left field. Tanaka said he "thought there might be a chance to catch it," but Bochy said that with the way the outfield was positioned, Prado "just hit it where it was too far to go to make the play."
It was just the third time this season allowing a first-inning run for Bumgarner, who has gone at least seven innings and given up two or fewer runs in each of his past seven starts. In four starts this year against the D-backs, the 23-year-old has allowed five runs in 26 1/3 innings for a 1.71 ERA – but he's 1-1.
"We are (disappointed) – we had a chance," Bumgarner said. "But it's big to win the series against them. So we'll take that."
The Giants brought the tying run to plate in the ninth inning against Arizona closer Brad Ziegler when Tanaka batted with two on and nobody out. Tanaka reached on a fielder's choice and, when Aaron Hill's throw sailed wide of first base, tried to take second as Hunter Pence came in to score. Tanaka was thrown out, leaving the bases empty with two outs.
"Thinking about the score," Tanaka said through interpreter Taira Uematsu, "maybe it was a good idea to stay at first base."
Note – Reliever Jeremy Affeldt will likely miss four to six weeks after an MRI showed he has a moderate left groin strain, Bochy said. Affeldt left Saturday night's 4-3 win after feeling his groin pop while delivering a pitch.
Affeldt said he had pitched with discomfort in the area for several weeks and was getting treatment before it escalated Saturday. The Giants placed Affeldt on the 15-day disabled list Sunday and recalled Machi.
While saying the groin issue may have caused him to alter his delivery, Affeldt did not blame it for several rough outings over the past month.
Bochy said the Giants will go forward with two left-handers in the bullpen, which likely means an expanded late-inning role for José Mijares.