The momentum gathered from taking two out of three from the Nationals in Washington quickly evaporated on the next two stops of the road trip. The San Francisco Giants went on to lose three-of-four in Miami and two more in a weekend set with the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
The Giants return to San Francisco where they will play the next 20 out of 26 games which will prove to be a crucial stretch on the outlook of the season.
The team’s struggles away from AT&T Park continued, in spite of an uplifting series to start the road trip. The Giants handed both Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg defeats in Washington but those became distant memories against a feisty Marlins squad.
In the four-game series, Miami came back from deficits to either tie or take the lead eight times, winning three of those games. The Giants bullpen, which was stellar against the Nationals, finally showed signs of fatigue in Florida.
San Francisco staked Madison Bumgarner to a pair of leads in the first game of the series in Miami that he was unable to hold. In just his second start of the season, Bumgarner exhibited his frustration with himself and the strike zone and was ejected from the contest by the home plate umpire upon his removal from the game.
San Francisco later re-took the lead but the Marlins came back again. The big blow came off the bat of JT Realmuto for a 2-run homer against reliever Sam Dyson that was the difference in the game.
Game two of the series started promising for the Giants in the first inning. Runners on second and third with nobody out, yet San Francisco only could manage one run in the frame.
Miami responded in the third inning with three runs to take the lead and the Giants were fortunate it wasn’t more than that. Marlins starter Trevor Richards settled in and pitched six innings, giving up just two hits to earn his first win of the season.
Andrew McCutchen began game three with a bang, a 2-run home run, giving the Giants yet another early lead. Of course, Miami came back to tie the score on three separate occasions. Tied at 4-4 in the ninth inning, Brian Anderson hit s sacrifice fly off of Hunter Strickland and Miami got the walk-off win.
Another first inning homer from McCutchen, followed by a Mac Williamson solo shot in the second inning, his first since returning from the Disabled List, gave San Francisco another early lead.
Again, the Marlins spoiled it. Miami took advantage of an error in the ninth inning, forcing a blown save by Strickland, tying the game at 3-3 and forcing extra innings.
The Giants turned to former starter and now long reliever Ty Blach to save the rest of the pitching staff and keep the team in the game in the bonus frames. It was not until the 16th inning until the Marlins bullpen finally flinched. Pablo Sandoval ripped a 2-run single to right field and the Giants were able to salvage the game in Florida.
However, the Giants were bitten by the injury bug again as third basemen Evan Longoria was forced to leave the series finale after being hit by a pitch. It was later revealed that Longoria broke his left hand as a result and he will have surgery on Tuesday. The scheduled recovery time is 6-8 weeks, though Longoria has stated he hopes to return sooner, shortly after the All-Star break.
After 16 innings and a cross-country flight, the Giants were slated to take on the rival Dodgers on Friday at Chavez Ravine. Kike Hernandez homered in the first and the resurgent Matt Kemp sent a solo shot out off of Derek Holland in the fourth.
A fly ball off the bat of Yasmani Grandal that was dropped on the warning track by Austin Jackson proved costly later in the fourth inning. Grandal subsequently scored on a Yasiel Puig double and the Dodgers had a 3-0 lead.
Sandoval got the Giants on the board with an opposite field 2-run home run in the seventh off of Dodgers starter Ross Stripling. Aside from that, Stripling was brilliant, striking out six over 6 1/3 innings and Kenley Jansen earned the save in the ninth.
Bumgarner’s turn in the rotation came Saturday and his performance still left a little to be desired for the Giants. Kemp hit his 12th homer of the season and his second in as many days to give Los Angeles the lead.
After the Giants tied it up at 1-1 in the fifth, Hernandez responded by clobbering a 2-run shot off of Bumgarner giving the Dodgers back the lead for good. The Giants ace is 0-2 with a 4.67 ERA in his return this season. San Francisco has lost each of his three starts.
If every day was a getaway day, perhaps the Giants would have a better record than two games under .500. Nick Hundley gave the Giants the lead in the first with a 2-run homer.
Brandon Belt, in just his second game off the DL, added a 2-run blast of his own, to power the Giants past LA in the final game of the series. Stratton earned his team-leading eighth win, pitching six innings, yielding just one run in three hits.
If the Giants plan to contend in the NL West, they will have to take care of business over the upcoming stretch at home. They play their next 10 games at AT&T against Miami, San Diego, and Colorado. Then a quick two-city road trip in between, the Giants will then host the Cardinals, Cubs and A’s for 10 more games before the All-Star break.