Giants tie longest skid in Kapler era as bats remain quiet


SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe Kapler is generally an optimist, and when he sat down at the podium 10 minutes after the Giants' fifth consecutive loss, he was able to find things to feel good about. 

Kapler praised Joey Bart, who did a good job of guiding Alex Cobb through his five innings by blocking splitters in the dirt and calling them repeatedly.

"It inspired a lot of confidence," Kapler said.

He liked what he saw out of Cobb, who rebounded from one of the worst performances of his career, and he praised Sean Hjelle for filling the zone during his MLB debut.

But there was a trend there. All of those successes came when the St. Louis Cardinals were at the plate. After giving up 48 runs over the previous seven games, Cobb, Hjelle and the rest of the staff had a much better night, but once again the lineup failed to get anything going. 

The Giants lost 3-2, falling for the seventh time in eight games. 

The five-game losing streak is tied for the longest under Kapler, with the previous one coming in August 2020. That stretch was memorable for Trevor Gott's rough ninth innings, this one will be remembered for the futility at the plate. A lineup that depends on all nine guys pulling in the same direction has far too many scuffling right now. Over the last four losses, the Giants have scored just five runs. 

"One of the things that we did really well last year was we kept the line moving, found a way to get on base even when we weren't driving the baseball, via the walk and then clean singles here and there. We're not seeing the string of base hits, we're not seeing the string of walks," Kapler said. "One of the things that we talked a lot about last year and we'll talk about now as well is we won games with big innings. Walk, base hit, home run -- or walk, double, walk, big double or something like that, that kind of put us on the board in a single inning. 

"Obviously those big innings carry over into the next inning and bring a lot of confidence and right now we're just not stringing our best at-bats together consistently enough to have one of those big innings, and even with good pitching performances like we had tonight, it's just not enough."

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Cobb didn't make it out of the first inning in his previous start, but on Friday he didn't allow a baserunner until the fourth. The lone blemish on his night was a two-run homer from Harrison Bader that looked headed for the seats and then was touched by a Giants fan as it cleared the wall. It was a close enough play that the umpires reviewed it, and as Cobb watched multiple replays on the scoreboard, he thought that maybe it would be ruled a double instead of a two-run shot. But the home run call stood. 

"Replays aren't going our way so far," Cobb said after the game. 

Right now, just about nothing is.

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