Bay Area baseball: A look at the week for the A's and Giants
The Giants were unanimous in their emotions Sunday after a gut-wrenching 5-2, 12-inning loss to the San Diego Padres brought to an end their worst month of April in over 30 years.
“If we don’t get our act together, it’s going to be ugly,” said closer Mark Melancon, who allowed a game-tying two-run home run to Hector Sanchez in the top of the ninth inning.
“I think the ‘it’s only April’ thing has passed,” said reliever George Kontos, who allowed the go-ahead three-run bomb to Wil Myers in the top of the 12th. “We better start playing some better baseball all the way around.”
“It’s got to happen,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We can’t just sit around and keep saying, ‘Well, there’s a lot of baseball left’.”
As the Giants embark on a nine-game road trip that starts Monday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, their season after one month has already reached a critical juncture.
After going 9-17 in April, they sit seven games back of the Colorado Rockies for first place in the National League West. Their team batting average – a paltry .230 – ranks third to last in the National League.
Sunday’s loss marked the seventh time in the last 12 games the Giants have scored two runs or less, and one of their two runs batted in came from their starting pitcher, Ty Blach.
The Giants’ 16 home runs and 80 RBIs ranked next to last in all of Major League baseball.
“It’s not a big secret. We’ve got to score more runs and we’ve got to keep working to do that,” right fielder Hunter Pence said. “Got to get better. I’ve got to get a lot better.”
The Giants’ record of 9-17 (.346) is their worst mark for April since they went 7-16 (.304) in 1984.
The nine-game trip could be the breaking point for the Giants if things don’t turn around. After three against the Dodgers, the Giants go to Cincinnati for three games May 5-7 and New York to face the Mets for three games May 8-10.
Those three teams aren’t setting the world on fire after a month, either. But there might be too much ground to make up if the Giants can’t string a few victories together away from home.
“When you’re where we’re at in the standings and our record, every game right now, that’s how we’re looking at it,” Bochy said when asked about the season already being at precarious moment. “Going into today’s game, there were guys going ‘this is a huge game,’ which it was.
“We win this game today, we take the series, we have a decent homestand. This is a big swing to lose a tough game like this.”
After Melancon struck out Hunter Renfroe, his 1-1 cutter to Sanchez – the former Giant – was deposited into the right field arcade. It was Melancon’s first blown save since the Giants’ opener April 2 against Arizona.
“Today was on me – 100 percent,” Melancon said. “That’s a game we need to win, no matter what. that’s a must win right there.”
Kontos worked a scoreless 11th inning. But with runners on first and second in the 12th, Myers’ sent a 1-0 fastball into the left field bleachers, his second homer in as many days as the Giants lost two of three to the Padres. The Giants still haven’t won a series since they beat Arizona two of three times from April 10-12.
Sanchez’ home run spoiled a solid outing from Blach, who allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings. Blach’s RBI came in the bottom of the fifth and gave the Giants a 1-0 lead.
“Guys know that it’s time to start playing well,” Blach said. “We’re just going to keep battling, keep working and good things are going to start happening soon.”