SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Giants missed a tremendous opportunity to gain ground in the National League wild-card race Tuesday night.
Hoping to win a back-to-back series for the first time in nearly two months, the Giants managed only a Blake Sabol home run in a 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Guardians in front of a crowd announced 23,541 people at Oracle Park.
The Giants gave up 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 interrupted by the Guardians, who were just playing the rope in the 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 behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the tight race for the final NL wild card spot. San Francisco is tied with the Miami Marlins at 74-71, and both teams are a half-game behind 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 against Colorado and swept a three-game series with Pittsburgh in sets before and after the break stars.
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 playoffs 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 consecutive relief appearances, but shined in the following innings.
With one out, Kole Calhoun grounded into what had the potential to be a double play, but shortstop Brandon Crawford moved to the other side of second base – ahead of Thairo Estrada – and the confusion allowed Steven Kwan to score from third base.
As Crawford moved back to second base and took Estrada’s toss, he failed to get a solid throw to first base and get Calhoun.
Manaea needed 10 more pitches to end the first and had to throw 33 total to get out of the inning.
But after that, Manaea struck out 13 straight batters and threw 80 pitches in 5 2/3 innings before being relieved by Walker, who gave up a two-run single to Tyler Freeman on the first pitch. Freeman’s hit broke the 1-1 tie.
The Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks were tied for the final National League wild card spot on the morning of September 1, with both teams having a 70-65 record. San Francisco then went on a six-game losing streak, followed by a four-game winning streak, and entered Tuesday 1 ½ games behind for that same final playoff position.