SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Giants missed a terrific opportunity to gain some ground in the race for the National League’s wild-card race on Tuesday night.
Hoping to win consecutive series for the first time in nearly two months, the Giants instead managed just a Blake Sabol solo home run in a 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Guardians before an announced crowd of 23,541 at Oracle Park.
The Giants allowed one run in the first inning and two more in the sixth — after their 100th error of the season — as they had a four-game winning streak snapped by the Guardians, who are merely playing out the string in Terry Francona’s final season as a big-league manager.
The Giants went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base.
With the loss, the Giants remained 1½ games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the nip-and-tuck race for the NL’s final wild-card spot. San Francisco is tied with the Miami Marlins with 74-71 records, and both of those teams are a half-game back of the Cincinnati Reds.
The Giants finish the series with the Guardians on Wednesday afternoon, hoping to win back-to-back series since they won two of three vs. Colorado and swept a three-game series with Pittsburgh in sets before and after the all-star break.
San Francisco then begins a 10-game road trip with stops in Colorado, Arizona, and Los Angeles – a stretch that should go a long way in determining whether the team can reach the postseason for the second time in three years.
Giants left-hander Sean Manaea had a shaky first inning in what was his first start since May 10 after 25 straight relief appearances but shined in subsequent innings.
With one out, Kole Calhoun grounded into what had the potential to be a double play, but shortstop Brandon Crawford moved over to the other side of second base — in front of Thairo Estrada – and the confusion allowed Steven Kwan to score from third base.
By the time Crawford stepped back onto second base and took the toss from Estrada, he was unable to get a strong throw over to first base and get Calhoun.
Manaea needed 10 more pitches to finish the first and had to throw 33 in total to get out of the inning.
But after that, Manaea retired 13 straight batters and threw 80 pitches in 5 2/3 innings before he was relieved by Walker, who gave up a two-run single to Tyler Freeman on the first he threw. Freeman’s hit broke a 1-1 tie.
The Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks were tied for the National League’s final wild card spot on the morning of Sept. 1 as both teams had 70-65 records. San Francisco then went on a six-game losing skid, followed by a four-game win streak, and entered Tuesday 1 ½ games back for that same final playoff position.