NEW YORK — There aren’t many Giants who don’t have their fingerprints all over this 11-22 start. Josh Osich and Hunter Strickland, however, have mostly been immune.
Osich spent the first month of the season in the minors, and he had pitched well since returning last Tuesday. Strickland allowed just one run in his first 13 appearances. Together, they gave up the winning run Monday. Osich opened the ninth with a late-innings sin, a walk of the lead-off batter. Four batters later, Strickland gave up a walk-off single to Neil Walker.
The Giants had spoiled one Mets rally after another, going all the way back to the first inning. They could not survive the ninth. A 4-3 loss was their fourth in a row and clinched a losing road trip.
“We dodged some bullets earlier,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Guys did a good job of getting out of jams, but it caught up to us.”
The Giants gave up the lead twice before giving up the game. That left them without much to take out of their first night in New York, but Bochy did point out some positives. Hunter Pence and Buster Posey, the two key middle-of-the-order bats, hit homers. Matt Moore survived a rocky first to give Bochy a five-and-dive.
That’s where the Giants are in the second week of May. The goalposts have shifted.
“I thought we played better,” Posey said. “We were able to score some runs off a really good pitcher. Matty Moore showed signs of improvement. Shoot … it’s tough. You’re doing everything you can to try to get a win and you come up short.”
Posey’s monster blast off Jacob deGrom made it 3-2 in the sixth, and gave Bochy the rare opportunity to turn a lead over to the familiar names in his bullpen. He turned first to George Kontos, who was tasked with holding a runner on with light-hitting Curtis Granderson at the plate. Granderson entered with a .133 average, but he smoked a double the opposite way, tying the game. Steven Okert pitched a sharp seventh. Derek Law left the bases loaded in the eighth with a double play.
The Giants could never retake the lead, however, and it cost them. Osich walked Michael Conforto leading off the ninth, and with two outs, Wilmer Flores reached on a single off Strickland’s leg. Walker pulled a ball into the corner for the win.
“The leadoff walks, they’re dangerous,” Bochy said.
The Giants are now 9 1/2 games out of first in the NL West, and with both Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans on this leg of the trip, the time will soon come where those standings aren’t even looked at. The players had hoped a win Monday could turn things back in the right direction. Instead, it was just another painful loss.