San Francisco – The San Francisco Giants were on a roll entering today’s game against the Chicago Cubs. Looking for what would’ve been their second four-game sweep this season, the Cubs won the final game of the series, defeating the Giants 4-3.
Despite the loss, the Giants remain atop the National League West and keep their two-to-three game lead over both the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers, rival teams lost their games today.
“We had a first-place team come in and thought we played really good baseball,” San Francisco’s manager Gabe Kapler said of the Giants taking three of the four-game series. “In particular, I thought we played some great baseball today.
It wasn’t a perfect game. It’s a game we expect to win and we have to find ways to win. But I thought we did a nice job.”
Johnny Cueto didn’t have his best stuff today. Chicago’s win was sparked by a pair of deep homers by third baseman Patrick Wisdom. His two bombs to center field were prime examples of Cueto’s off day.
He left both pitches in the middle of the plate and Wisdom punished him first with a solo home run to cut the Giants lead to 2-1 in the second inning, then in the fourth with a two-run homer to tie the game at 3-3.
“I think Johnny just missed his spot there,” said Kapler. “Wisdom’s been swinging the bat well and plays a nice third base for them. He’s definitely swinging a hot bat for them and it wasn’t the pitch that Johnny wanted.”
“I wanted to keep the ball outside, but it stayed in the middle,” Cueto explained through his translator. “He hit both home runs with me making the mistake of keeping the ball in the middle.”
Cueto went 4 ⅓ on the mound, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks. The Giants lineup picked up where they left off through the series.
LaMonte Wade Jr. went yard to left field on the first pitch in the first inning. Mauricio Dubon open the second frame with a double, followed by Buster Posey’s RBI double that scored in Dubon for the 3-1 lead.
Cueto was unable to find any consistent rhythm on the mound through the day, he allowed Kyle Hendricks to leadoff the fifth with a double. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single, then two batters later Kris Bryant walked to load the bases with one away.
With one out, Javier Baez grounded to Dubon at shortstop on what should’ve been a forceout to home, but instead Dubon’s throw was too low to Posey, who was charged with the error that gave Hendricks the go-ahead run.
“It was a really close play, a play that we can convert,” said Kapler. “We just weren’t able to complete the play.”
“I thought he made the right play,” Posey explained. “I kind of got my feet mixed up, but still a play that I should catch.”
The Giants lineup couldn’t make up for the error. Hendricks and the Cubs bullpen cooled off San Francisco’s lineup through the rest of the game. The Giants had just five men on base through five innings.
San Francisco remains confident heading into their upcoming road trip starting with the Texas Rangers on Tuesday. They have the best record in the NL and are a game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the best record in baseball. The Giants have accomplished this fete with 15 players on the injured list. The most recent player to join that list is third baseman Evan Longoria who went on the IL list today with a shoulder injury.
San Francisco’s starting shortstop Brandon Crawford, was also banged up a little bit, and did not play in today’s loss but is expected to return to the field on Tuesday in Texas.
“It’s something we talked about in the spring: being the underdog and not having many expectations placed on us,” said Longoria regarding the team entering their 60th as one of the best teams in the Majors. “To everybody in this room, it’s no surprise being where we are. At this point, we’ve done what we’ve expected to do and we knew that it was going to be a collective effort.”
“We’ve played great baseball,” Posey added. “Good series against the Dodgers, good series against the Cubs, we’re in this game here today. It speaks volumes that guys here willing to step up. We’re all confident that we can continue to win games.”
Alex Wood will take the mound on Tuesday for the Giants against the Rangers. Wednesday’s starter has yet to be decided. Anthony DeSclafani will take the mound in Thursday’s opener against the Washington Nationals.
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