CHICAGO — This time, the comeback would not be completed.
The Giants nearly gave away a six-run lead in their first game against the Cubs since the NLDS collapse, but they held on for a 6-4 win. Ty Blach was strong into the eighth, Joe Panik had a monster night, and Mark Melancon closed it out. The Giants are 3-1 on the road trip and have won eight of 10 overall.
Here are five things to know from the first night back at Wrigley …
--- Manager Bruce Bochy had to have a sick and familiar feeling in his stomach as he walked out to the mound for the third pitching change of the eighth. Hunter Strickland fell behind with two on, but he got Willson Contreras to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
--- Blach’s career numbers against the Cubs, including the postseason: 10 1/3 innings, 3 earned runs. The two relief appearances last October helped convince the staff he could make the transition. Turns out he’s pretty good against them as a starter, too.
--- A perfect example of why Blach is so successful despite not having blow-you-away stuff came in the sixth. Albert Almora blooped a single to right and Blach alertly followed him to first, which had been vacated by Brandon Belt. Almora never imagined anyone was covering first, and when Justin Ruggiano threw behind the runner, Blach was there to catch the ball and fire it down to second to nab Almora, who had gone halfway.
--- The Giants entered the night with a .351 slugging percentage, last in the Majors. John Lackey came in allowing opponents to slug .487, ninth-worst in the National League. Sometimes it’s all just too neat. The Giants had two homers and three doubles in five innings off Lackey.
--- All three Giants homers were solo shots. That’s 18 solos in a row, three shy of the MLB record, held by the 2011 Giants.