San Francisco Giants

Giants can’t close out homestand with a win as Dyson blows save in the ninth

San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sam Dyson stands on the mound after giving up a two-run home run to the Colorado Rockies' DJ LeMahieu in the ninth inning Thursday, June 28, 2018, in San Francisco. Colorado won the game 9-8.
San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sam Dyson stands on the mound after giving up a two-run home run to the Colorado Rockies' DJ LeMahieu in the ninth inning Thursday, June 28, 2018, in San Francisco. Colorado won the game 9-8. AP

It all looked familiar to Giants reliever Sam Dyson.

Up by a run in the ninth inning, a runner on base and Colorado second baseman D.J. LeMahieu at the plate.

Except that two days after Dyson induced a game-ending double play, LeMahieu instead hit a two-run home run as the Rockies beat the Giants 9-8 at AT&T Park before a crowd of 37,529.

Dyson inherited at least a portion of the closer’s role the moment Hunter Strickland’s right pinkie connected with a clubhouse door after a blown save of similar proportions.

And although Bruce Bochy termed the pitch to LeMahieu a “mistake,” Dyson wasn’t so sure. He has a two-seam fastball that hits 94 miles per hour with a natural break that runs in to the hands of a right-handed batter.

LeMahieu hit that pitch on the ground for the game-ending double play Tuesday night. Then the same pitch ended the Giants four-game winning streak as well as a 7-3 homestand two days later.

“It was roughly where I wanted it,” Dyson said. “I figured we’d go in like we did two nights ago and just didn’t get it far enough in there.”

It capped a five RBI day for LeMahieu, who hit his eighth home run of the season and finished 3-for-4.

“They beat us on our guy’s best pitch,” catcher Nick Hundley said. “In a perfect world, he hits that on the ground, but he did a really good job, because it wasn’t a bad pitch.”

So instead of an 8-2 homestand which would have been the Giants’ best since 2012, they boarded a charter on a down note headed for three games against first-place Arizona and then three more against Colorado.

The fact that the Giants bounced back from a 5-2 deficit to tie the game in the fourth, and then took an 8-7 lead into the ninth after a clutch two-run double from Alen Hanson, made the loss that much more painful.

The ninth inning started with a single by Chris Ianetta, with Dyson then getting Tom Murphy on an infield popup before LeMahieu connected.

“The leadoff hitter got on, that puts a little pressure on you,” Bochy said. “Then he just made a mistake. The other night, (he) got the big double play. That’s baseball. The way the guys fought today, that’s a tough one, when you have the lead in the ninth. Couldn’t hold it. Sam was just a little off.”

With Strickland on the disabled list for the foreseeable future, juggling the back end of the bullpen has gotten tricky for Bochy.

The Giants have two pitchers with closing ability coming off arm surgeries, left-handed Will Smith and right-handed Mark Melancon. Neither is physically up to the task of doing anything more than spot closing.

Neither Smith nor Reyes Moronta, the mid-90s fireballer, were available Thursday as Bochy looks to stretch out the pen for the long run.

So that leaves the closer’s role to Dyson, who had 38 saves for Texas in 2016. It’s not his job exclusively, however, as Bochy said he wouldn’t hesitate using Tony Watson, Moronta or others on a spot basis, depending on the situation.

Dyson (2-2) has four blown saves this season, but Bochy wasn’t about to bury him because of Thursday’s end result.

“You look at where they were in the order, with Sam, it was a perfect setup for him,” Bochy said. “He’s a guy that has been doing a lot of closing. We have options. You can always look back when something doesn’t go right. They just found a way to make a comeback on us.”

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