Bob Melvin

Giants' offensive struggles continue in another loss to Yankees

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants lost their leadoff hitter last month, and their powerful left fielder, and their starting shortstop and others. For a couple of weeks, none of that mattered. 

They rode newcomers and red-hot veterans back above .500, but this week, it has all started to come crashing back to earth. With a 7-3 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday night at Oracle Park, they have dropped three of four to two of the best teams in baseball. They have faced a lot of quality pitching this week, but they also have scored just seven runs over their last four games, a stretch reminiscent of late April and early May. 

This is who the Giants were early on. As they try to avoid a sweep, they'll now have to prove that the late-May run wasn't the outlier this season. 

The lineup managed just five hits against fill-in starter Cody Poteet and the Yankees bullpen on Saturday. All five came from the bottom of the order, with the top five hitters combining to go 0-for-18 with eight strikeouts. 

It's perhaps not a coincidence that this slide started on Tuesday, when the Giants still managed to win 1-0 because of a brilliant performance by the bullpen. That was the day LaMonte Wade Jr. went on the IL with a hamstring strain, and without their most consistent offensive performer, this lineup at times looks incapable of putting up much offense. 

"It hurts obviously. I mean, he's hitting .340 or whatever and is one of the best hitters in the league at this point in time," manager Bob Melvin said of Wade. "We've had some injuries, probably none more significant than him at this point. Not having (Thairo) Estrada in there, either, it's not our best lineup, but it was pretty competitive today until the eighth inning."

The Giants fell behind early on a mammoth 464-foot homer by Aaron Judge, but they clawed back, with No. 8 hitter Casey Schmitt hitting a two-run homer and No. 9 hitter Brett Wisely adding an RBI single.

They got the tying run to second in the seventh but couldn't bring him home, and Giancarlo Stanton's homer capped a three-run outburst by the Yankees in the eighth that put the game away. 

In the bottom of that inning, Luis Matos led off with a strikeout, giving him a fourth consecutive hitless game as the leadoff hitter. Since he was named NL Player of the Week, Matos is 7-for-48 without an extra base hit. 

The Giants have seen opposing pitchers expand against a 22-year-old who is very aggressive at the plate. Matos has just three walks through 19 appearances, and Melvin was noncommittal after the loss when asked if he would remain the leadoff hitter. 

"We'll see. We'll see," Melvin said. "We tend to move it around a little bit. It's a lefty (starter) tomorrow, but it might look a little different tomorrow."

The problem for Melvin right now is he's out of appealing options. Estrada jammed his thumb twice on Friday and is day-to-day. Jorge Soler was given a night out of the starting lineup because of a slump that has dropped his OPS to .641, his lowest since 2017. With another hitless night, Wilmer Flores saw his OPS drop to .569. 

This lineup once again is leaving no breathing room for pitchers, and Logan Webb took the loss after giving up four early runs. That left the staff to head back to the drawing board, but the answers might not be found at Oracle Park. The only silver lining on Saturday was the fact that Michael Conforto, Nick Ahmed and Austin Slater were all rehabbing up the road in Sacramento.

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