Giants

Bumgarner gets back to his old self after two-month layoff

Bumgarner gets back to his old self after two-month layoff

SAN FRANCISCO — Forget the standing ovations or “Fire on the Mountain.” Put aside the fastball that had David Peralta take a knee, the cutter that he turned to repeatedly, and the changeup that was so surprisingly sharp that Bumgarner threw a month’s worth of them on a whim

Here’s how you know Madison Bumgarner is back and feeling normal: He was pissed off that he didn’t get a run in during his second at-bat of the season. 

“You’ve just got to find a way to get a guy in,” he said of a fifth-inning confrontation with Patrick Corbin. “Bases loaded, no outs…there’s no excuse for it.”

Well, there is, and it’s not the fact that Bumgarner is a pitcher. He had just one at-bat during a two-start rehab assignment, and Corbin is a monster. But Bumgarner wouldn’t want to hear that. He is dangerous at the plate, even coming off a long layoff, and he was disappointed in his strikeout, one of three straight for the Giants in that big spot. 

There was little else to quibble with, though. Bumgarner scattered eight hits over six innings, didn’t walk any Diamondbacks, and struck out three. He got stronger as the night went on, but the Giants didn’t. They fell 3-2, wasting one opportunity after another against a scuffling Diamondbacks club. 

The Giants left 11 on base, three in that fifth inning, when Gorkys Hernandez and Buster Posey followed with strikeouts. Posey later flied out with the bases loaded, but came up with an RBI single in the top of the ninth. Evan Longoria couldn’t finish the rally. 

That left Bumgarner with a loss, but this wasn’t a bitter night. After missing two months with a fractured pinky — “I can’t believe all this is over a pinky finger,” he would often say — Bumgarner returned to lead the rotation. He mixed in a new wrinkle, too, throwing 14 changeups, his most in nearly four years. 

“I had a good feel for it tonight,” he said. “More than I usually would. We started going to it and it was working. I’m trying to go out there and compete and adjust. I’m willing to change my gameplan.”

Bumgarner said he went changeup-heavy to offset the Diamondbacks’ aggressive swings, and that’s another way you know he’s feeling right. This night was not about getting his arm strength up. Facing hitters for just the third time since March, Bumgarner felt good enough to adjust and go for the jugular. He came up a bit short, but he was happy to be back out there trying to carry a heavy load. 

“That’s what I get paid to do,” he said. “It’s nice to earn your paycheck instead of stealing it.”

Giants swept away by Cardinals, drop fourth consecutive game

Giants swept away by Cardinals, drop fourth consecutive game

BOX SCORE

The Giants wore goofy sweaters on their flight to San Diego last Sunday, and their rookies were given Fortnite outfits as they left Petco Park on Wednesday.

The flight home this Sunday will take on an entirely different tone. 

The Giants lost 9-2 to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium and suffered their first sweep in St. Louis since 1995.

The NL Central was one house of horrors after the next this season. The Giants also were swept in Cincinnati and Milwaukee. They lost two of three in Chicago and Pittsburgh. 

Here's what you need to know from the final game of that 2-13 road stretch ... 

--- Andrew Suarez was pulled after just 77 pitches, as the Giants likely are trying to limit his innings this late in the year. He gave up two earned runs in five innings, and if this is it for his rookie year, he currently stands at a 4.22 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. He's been a bright spot and certainly gives this team a nice rotation piece. 

--- This one turned into a boat race in the sixth. Ray Black was charged with four of the five runs allowed in the inning, which raised his ERA to 6.45. 

--- The lineup had just one hit off Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas through six innings. Brandon Crawford hit a two-run homer in the seventh. 

--- The Giants have lost 50 road games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1984 and 1985. They went 26-55 away from home last season. Not surprisingly, the issue has been the offense. They've scored 25 fewer runs on the road despite playing six more games.

Giants blow 4-2 lead, fall to Cardinals on Tyler O'Neill's walk-off

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AP

Giants blow 4-2 lead, fall to Cardinals on Tyler O'Neill's walk-off

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The Cardinals made four errors Saturday and had trouble with several other balls. The Giants couldn’t take advantage.

Cardinals right fielder Tyler O’Neill hit a walk-off homer off reliever Mark Melancon in the bottom of the 10th at Busch Stadium, handing the Giants a 5-4 loss. They’ve lost three straight after a good start to their final trip. 

The Giants had runners on the corners and one out in the top of the 10th, but second baseman Alen Hanson struck out. After an intentional walk of catcher Nick Hundley, Right fielder Austin Slater struck out to end the threat. 

—- The Cardinals butchered a couple of bloops in the seventh and the Giants took full advantage. With a runner on first, Hanson and starting catcher Aramís Garcia hit bloops that Cardinals outfielders didn’t handle cleanly. Starter Dereck Rodriguez followed with a single and outfielder Gregor Blanco made it 4-2 when he beat out a double-play ball. 

—- Rodriguez was cruising but he walked the lead off batter in the bottom of the seventh and then gave up a two-run shot to catcher Yadier Molina. It was the first non-solo homer allowed by Rodriguez this season. The rookie was charged with four runs in what could have been the final start of his season. 

—- Joe Panik isn’t a thumper, but his first career start at first base had plenty of positives. Panik  had three hits and looked fine defensively. 

—- Garcia bounced back nicely from a four-strikeout night. He had four hits, including a big one in the seventh inning rally.