SAN FRANCISCO -- It wasn't long ago, just a couple of weeks, that Bruce Bochy was regularly answering questions about his outfield defense, which he felt was perhaps the best he had experienced in San Francisco. Friday's lineup was a different story, as the Giants opted for power in the corners.
With Kevin Pillar in need of a day off, Bochy moved Mac Williamson from left field to right and stuck Tyler Austin in left for the fourth time. On paper, it made a ton of sense. Austin hit two homers Thursday and Williamson hit a three-run bomb on Tuesday.
But the tradeoff proved costly. Austin dropped a fly ball with one out in the second, kickstarting a four-run rally off Dereck Rodriguez, who allowed just the four unearned runs in five innings. The Giants lost 7-0 in familiar home performance.
"He doesn't have a lot of experience out there," Bochy said. "You've got a guy swinging the bat the way he is, you're trying to find time for him. But hey, we'll get some work out there for him. It's going to get better."
Before the game, Bochy said he was comfortable with the alignment that in theory should have juiced the lineup. On this night it didn't, though, as Austin and Williamson combined to go 0-for-8 with five strikeouts.
"Occasionally I will do this to keep them all involved," Bochy said of the new look.
Austin, primarily a first baseman and DH before last month's trade, was supposed to be a regular in left but his development has been stalled by unforeseen factors. Elbow pain kept him from doing regular outfield work for several weeks, and the weather has not cooperated in recent days.
[RELATED: Morse on how different Giants look now, then]
The Giants certainly can afford to keep experimenting. Their performance Friday was a reminder that they're a different team at home, one in need of an offensive jolt. After scoring 49 runs on a six-game road trip, they managed just four hits. Luis Castillo, a prospect the Giants once dealt for Casey McGehee -- yikes -- struck out 11 in six innings, getting 24 swinging strikes.
As the Giants work to add punch to the lineup, they may be without a big bat for the rest of the Reds series. Brandon Belt has an inflamed right knee and will get an MRI, although the Giants are optimistic he'll miss just a day or two.