Giants Observations

What we learned as Wisely's homer not enough in Giants' loss to Astros

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SAN FRANCISCO – Brett Wisely homered for the first time in two weeks, but that was about all the offense that the Giants could muster in an 3-1 loss to the Houston Astros on Tuesday night at Oracle Park.

For a second consecutive night, and the umpteenth time this 2024 MLB season, San Francisco’s bats were mostly silent. The Giants were limited to just three hits, and Wisely was the only one to get as far as third base when he drilled an 0-1 slider from Astros starter Ronel Blanco into the stands in right field in the third inning.

Beyond that, San Francisco was unable to get much going off Blanco and three relievers.

With the teams splitting the first two games of the series, Wednesday’s finale might be must-see TV.

The Giants plan to start Logan Webb (5-5) while the Astros counter with lefty Framber Valdez (5-3) in a matchup of staff aces.

Unless San Francisco’s offense can get into a rhythm, it won’t matter who is pitching.

Jordan Hicks (4-3) started Tuesday but was gone before the end of the fifth inning. Hicks, who was feeling under the weather a day earlier, allowed five hits and three runs with five strikeouts and a walk.

Houston got to Hicks for a run in the third then scored in the fifth when they put together three singles and a double.

That was more hits than the Giants had as a team.

Third baseman Matt Chapman, back in the lineup after sitting out the previous two games with a sore hamstring, went hitless in four at-bats. The veteran infielder, who struck out swinging twice, had reached safely in his previous 25 games.

Here are the takeaways from Tuesday’s game:

Hicks' Early Exit

Hicks had another outing cut short by ineffectiveness.

Hicks, who was born and raised in Houston and grew up an Astros fan, was done after throwing 72 pitches Tuesday night and is winless over his last four starts.

The lanky right-hander allowed five hits and two runs in 4 2/3 innings while battling command issues in his first career start against the Astros. In his last two starts, Hicks has thrown 164 pitches, 99 for strikes.

Bullpen Bullets

Hicks’ early departure meant more work for San Francisco’s bullpen, and the relievers answered the bell nicely.

Taylor Rogers struck out three of the five batters he faced. Sean Hjelle pitched two very clean innings and didn’t allow a hit. Luke Jackson followed and closed the night in the eighth, giving up one hit before getting bailed out by a 5-6-3 double play.

The success of the bullpen has been big all season because of the starters' inability to pitch deep into games. Heading into the day, San Francisco starting pitchers had thrown the third-fewest innings in the majors (325) this season, trailing only the Milwaukee Brewers (312 2/3) and Miami Marlins (318 1/3).

Dubón Doubles Down

Former Giant Mauricio Dubón, who didn’t part on the best of terms when he was traded to the Astros in 2022, has been living the good life with in Houston and kept the good times rolling at Oracle Park.

Dubón, who entered the day batting a team-high .400 with runners in scoring position, doubled in his first two at-bats against Hicks and scored both times to help the Astros to an early lead.

For a Giants team that has had problems at the plate most of the season, seeing an ex-teammate swinging the bat as well as Dubón is has to sting.

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