Kyle Harrison

What we learned as Giants fall back below .500 with loss to Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES -- After losing a second straight game at Chase Field, the Giants talked about how they needed some help to get back into the NL wild-card race. They received it before they took the field at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night. 

As the Giants were taking a short flight to Los Angeles, the Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs both lost. On Thursday afternoon, the Cubs lost again to the rebuilding Pittsburgh Pirates. 

The Giants got their help -- and they fumbled it all away. 

A series of defensive mistakes straight out of the 2022 playbook turned a tie game into a 7-2 loss. The Giants lost for the 26th time in their last 31 road games, something they had not done since 1902. They fell below .500 for the first time since June 5. 

The awful defense cost the Giants on a night when they had a real opportunity to make up ground despite getting no-hit for the first five innings.

They struck out in six consecutive plate appearances at one point and Emmet Sheehan -- who no-hit the Giants through six innings in his debut earlier this year -- needed just 2 2/3 innings to reach a career-high eight strikeouts, but he ran out of gas in the fifth. With two outs, Sheehan hit Yastrzemski and then walked Marco Luciano and Blake Sabol to load the bases for Tyler Fitzgerald. The center fielder fell behind 0-2 but then worked a walk, getting the Giants a run before they had a hit.

That was it for Sheehan, and the Giants countered Dave Roberts by pinch-hitting J.D. Davis for LaMonte Wade Jr. after lefty Alex Vesia entered. Vesia struck Davis out on three pitches. 

The Giants tied the game on Joc Pederson's solo blast in the sixth, but the Dodgers struck right back thanks to a mental mistake from one of the most fundamentally sound players the Giants have. With one out, J.D. Martinez hit a high fly ball to right that didn't look deep enough to score Will Smith from third, but Yastrzemski caught the ball flat-footed and took a step toward the visiting dugout before realizing Smith had tagged and headed home. By that point, it was too late. 

Davis' error put a runner on in the seventh and Josh Outman doubled off Flores' glove. When Luke Jackson spiked a couple of sliders past Sabol, the Dodgers had a three-run cushion. 

Looked More Like Himself

Kyle Harrison was optioned back to Triple-A last week, but instead of starting for the River Cats on Thursday, he got his first look at the Dodgers. The Giants recalled Harrison after Alex Cobb went on the IL, and the first night back was promising. 

There was some hard contact early, but Harrison allowed just two earned on three hits in 5 1/3 innings. His fastball velocity was closer to his first couple of starts, not his last couple, and he did a much better job of mixing up his pitches. He got Freddie Freeman in the first inning on a changeup, a pitch the Giants feel will be a plus offering before long. 

Welcome To The Show

Fitzgerald's father played in the big leagues and his brother played in the minors, and they were among a small group on hand for the 26-year-old's debut, along with his mom and fiancée. Fitzgerald's debut showed why the Giants are giving him a late-season cameo. 

Two innings after the walk, he pulled his hands in and yanked a double down the left field line. The Giants would load the bases but fail to score. 

Fitzgerald has been a shortstop his whole life, but the Giants added center field to his plate this summer in hopes of taking advantage of his speed. He showed it while chasing a Will Smith fly ball in the sixth, but the ball popped out of his glove when he hit the ground and turned into a triple. 

Joc Pop

The first hit was a bit of a stunner. Pederson doesn't face many lefties, but Gabe Kapler stuck with him with one out in the sixth, and he blasted a fastball from Vesia over the center field wall. The homer left the bat at 109 mph and went an estimated 430 feet, the furthest for a Giants homer in six weeks. 

Pederson had been just 7-for-42 against lefties this season with no homers and one extra-base hit. The homer was his first against a lefty since June 25, 2022. 

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