SAN FRANCISCO — The rain arrived in the late innings Tuesday night, swirling around the field and soaking a home team that was trying to come back and a visiting squad that was desperately trying to keep a hot start to the season going.
For the Giants — especially center fielder Gorkys Hernandez — the rain and the accompanying wind arrived a few innings too late. Hernandez couldn’t haul in a Jake Lamb blast that kept carrying to the wall in the third inning. The three-run triple was the deciding play for the Diamondbacks, who gave up three in the eighth and ninth as the ballpark got smaller but held on for a 4-3 win.
“I thought he had a bead on it, I did,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s so good out there. He was upset with himself. That’s a big play obviously. He’s a gifted center fielder and he just didn’t quite come up with it. That’s not an easy play. He just didn’t come up with it and that was the difference, probably.”
For Hernandez, starting in place of Denard Span, it was a night where the inches never went his way. He scalded a ball the other way in the first but right at Paul Goldschmidt. In the bottom of the second, he came a few feet from a grand slam. That ball settled into a glove. Hernandez couldn’t say the same after Lamb’s shot.
“I was pretty close, I almost got it,” he said. “It happens. I was trying to do the best I could for (Jeff) Samardzija and the team. It happens. I jumped and tried to catch the ball, and it didn’t get in my glove. Sometimes that happens.”
The Diamondbacks added a little salt to the fresh wound in the bottom of the inning. Aaron Hill lined what looked to be an RBI double to left-center, but center fielder A.J. Pollock made a spectacular grab. It was that kind of night for the Giants, who hit several balls hard but left 13 on base.
They finally inched closer in the eighth, getting a run back. In the ninth, Nick Hundley and Eduardo Nuñez drove in runs, and Nuñez swiped second with Brandon Crawford pinch-hitting. The Giants couldn’t finish the rally against Fernando Rodney.
“We’ve done that three times where we battled back to get within one run and just couldn’t finish it,” Bochy said.
--- Samardzija was much better in his second start, allowing just the three runs on the Lamb triple. He struck out seven in 6 2/3, stretching it out to 112 pitches.
“It’s good to get there and feel good,” he said of the pitch count. “I still felt I could attack them there in the seventh and I was still using all my pitches.”
Bochy has pushed his starters early. For all the holes that are opening up, the Giants still have a strong starting staff, and they certainly intend to ride those guys hard.
--- Nuñez had four hits, raising his average to .389. He stole his fifth base, so he’s already one-third of the way to last year’s Giants leader. Bochy said he will continue to hit sixth for now. It’s a spot Nuñez likes.
“I just like him there,” Bochy said. “It breaks up the lefties and puts him in a position where he’s driving in runs or stealing bases. I could put him in the leadoff spot, but I just like him in that area. It doesn’t mean I won’t change it (at some point).”
--- Look, it was clear that Samardzija got a bit of revenge on the day Buster Posey went on the DL. The Giants did not feel Taijuan Walker was throwing at Posey, and they don’t generally throw at hitters themselves, but there are unwritten rules and all that. So, Paul Goldschmidt -- the Buster Posey of Arizona -- got one right on the backside. If you follow the unwritten rules, an early plunking somewhere around the waist is exactly how you do it.
Samardzija did not answer a question about it and Bochy cut one off, which is fine. No point in getting on the commissioner’s radar. But good for Goldschmidt for understanding the situation and not escalating it, and good for the umpires for not freaking out with a series of warnings. This beef now seems squashed.