SF Giants fall back into losing ways with loss to Cubs

SF Giants fall back into losing ways with loss to Cubs

SAN FRANCISCO — A win upon returning home gave the Giants a respite from a costly losing streak, but they are back to their losing ways after the Cubs handed them a 4-2 loss on Friday night at Oracle Park.

Wilmer Flores’ two-run home run in the ninth inning salvaged a disappointing performance in which the Giants had collected 11 hits without a run to show for it until that point. The home run capped off a three-hit night for Flores, and he was one of four Giants to have multi-hit games. But their 3-for-10 average with runners in scoring position without scoring a run tells the tale of the game.

“We drove the baseball tonight, hit the right-center gap a couple times,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We weren’t able to get the big hit. We weren’t able to deliver that one blow that would have changed the game for us.”

It threw to waste a strong pitching performance from Alex Cobb, who followed up Alex Wood’s losing streak-busting game on Thursday with an 11-strikeout, six-inning performance of his own.

Working a splitter that was the “best it’s been in quite some time,” Cobb kept the Cubs off the bases for the first three innings, broken up when he Willson Contreras with a pitch in the fourth inning and Ian Happ singled up the middle. Patrick Wisdom put the Cubs on the board in the fifth inning with a solo home run, his second home run in as many days.

“He was great,” Flores said. “He deserved a win.”

Cobb made it to the seventh inning, but was pulled after issuing his first walk of the game for Dominic Leone, who walked the first two batters he saw to load the bases. After a mound visit, Leone struck out Alfonso Rivas and drew a double play to leave the bases loaded.

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A lead very much in reach, the offense squandered multiple scoring opportunities against a shaky Cubs starter Marcus Stroman. They had a pair of runners on in the first inning when Mike Yastrzemski singled, but Wilmer Flores was thrown out at home by Ian Happ.

“I we score there, maybe we get a head of steam and we weren’t able to do that,” Kapler said.

Jason Vosler’s double had potential to score LaMonte Wade from first base, but third base coach Mark Hallberg threw up a red light on Wade to put runners in scoring position with one out. But Joey Bart and Tommy La Stella flew out and grounded out to end the threat.

They loaded the bases again in the seventh, this time with two outs, But Yastrzemski grounded out to first base to leave them stranded. And in the eighth, a deft read by pinch-hitter Wade put him on second base after a Cubs miscommunicated on his shallow fly ball. But back-to-back strikeouts from Vosler and pinch hitter Austin Wynns left pinch runner Austin Slater stranded.

The bullpen couldn’t hold the slim deficit for long; Camilo Doval allowed two runs on a walk and three straight hits and a rare error by Yastrzemski scored another run with Sam Long on the mound.

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