SAN FRANCISCO — There’s an odd thing about pitchers. Many of these guys, who make millions by hitting a tiny target 60 feet away, just don’t feel comfortable making the much shorter throws to bases.
Matt Moore has never been in that camp. Oh, he can lose his command to the plate quite often, but he has never felt the need to cut back on throws to first. Moore couldn’t remember ever making an underhanded throw over there. He sets his feet and fires it as he always does, but in the fifth inning Monday, Moore felt rushed and he changed it up. It likely cost the Giants the game.
Moore’s underhanded throwing error turned what would have been a 3-1 game into a tied one and cost him nearly an inning's worth of pitches. Jae-gyun Hwang’s error in the sixth compounded that damage, and the Giants couldn’t touch a dominant Indians bullpen. They lost 5-3 on the first night of a lengthy homestand, one that also started with the official death of the seven-year sellout streak.
Moore pitched well and said he was happy with his conviction and command. Bruce Bochy complimented his confidence on the mound. Overall, this was a big step in the right direction, but that underhanded throw left Moore with what he called “a dark spot.”
“I knew (Bradley) Zimmer is fast and I did what felt natural. I grabbed it and picked it up and threw it underhanded,” he said. “As soon as I let it go, I knew it was too high.”
Brandon Belt likely would have come down with it, but he has a sprained left wrist and that left the shorter Hwang out there for the first time. He had no chance. Moore said he would have thrown it overhanded if he had not dropped the initial grounder. He was left shaking his head after a night where he went seven.
“It’s a shame what happened,” Bochy said. “He’s 15 feet from first base and he just held onto it too long and that’s the difference in the game. It’s been a tough go. We get home and we want to get off to a good start and win the ballgame. To lose like that, sure, it’s always tough to lose. You hate shooting yourself in the foot, which we did.”
--- The Giants announced during the game that their sellout streak officially ended at 530 regular season games. That’s a National League record. Look, I’ve made fun of the streak quite a few times. I think it ended a night or two in 2013, if only just barely. But the Giants have a lot of people who worked very hard to find creative ways to sell some losing teams, and this was a tough night for them. It’s a hell of an accomplishment, and it tells you something about the experience here that the Giants still drew nearly 40,000 tonight given what their record is.
“It’s incredible the support we’ve had,” Bochy said. “This season couldn’t have gone worse. I don’t think any of us could have seen it unraveling the way it has. It’s been a tough go and the one constant has been the support. We can’t thank (the fans) enough. We appreciate it. We’re disappointed we’re not in a better place for our fans.”
The Giants expect to sell out again as soon as Wednesday.
--- Another streak ended tonight: Eduardo Nuñez was 0 for 4, ending his MLB-best streak of 33 consecutive games reaching base. That was the longest streak in the majors this season.
--- Ryder Jones was reinstated from the DL and optioned to Triple-A Sacramento after the game. He’s expected to be in their lineup Tuesday night.