Tristan Beck

What we learned as Giants waste opportunities in loss to Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES -- If you had told the Giants six months ago that they would be tied with the San Diego Padres on Sept. 24, they definitely would have taken it. But it's no longer a positive.

With a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night, the Giants fell to 77-79 and into a tie with the Padres for third in the NL West. The two teams will face off starting Monday at Oracle Park, and it's likely the Giants will be officially eliminated from the postseason race during the series.

With Sunday's loss, the Giants' elimination number dropped to two. They can be officially eliminated as early as Tuesday. 

Early on Sunday, the final road game of the season looked like nearly every other one over the last three months. The Giants fell behind on James Outman's two-run homer and wasted their best opportunity to break the game open. 

With the bases loaded and two outs in the third, Thairo Estrada inexplicably tried to bunt a 1-0 pitch from Lance Lynn, who had just walked two batters. The pitch was high and Estrada popped it up to end the threat. 

LaMonte Wade Jr. tied it up with a fifth-inning blast, and that was all for either team until extra innings, when Kiké Hernandez's mistake loaded the bases with one out in the top of the 10th. Patrick Bailey hit a grounder up the middle and it glanced off Shelby Miller's arm and right to Chris Taylor, who started an insane double play. A few minutes later, Taylor lined a Camilo Doval fastball into the gap, ending the game. 

The Giants went 2-8 on a crucial road trip, falling out of the Wild Card race. They ended up losing 28 of their final 34 games on the road. 

Rookie Watch

The Giants had three rookies in their starting lineup, used one as an opener and another as their bulk innings guy. The two pitchers -- Ryan Walker and Tristan Beck -- did a nice job against one of the league's toughest lineups. 

Walker has seemed to run out of gas a bit in September, but he was dominant in a 1-2-3 first, throwing sliders past Mookie Betts and Will Smith and making an athletic play to get Freddie Freeman out on a slow roller to first. It was the type of inning that shows why Walker should enter next spring as a favorite to work in a high-leverage role in the bullpen. The Giants will be in much better shape if they have an actual rotation, allowing them to deploy Walker against tough right-handed hitters late in games. 

Beck gave up a homer to Outman but that was the only blemish in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked none, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Giants give him a start next week. 

Marco Luciano had another hard single to right in the top of the ninth and Tyler Fitzgerald had two hits, although he popped up with the bases loaded in the ninth. 

Late Season LaMonte

Wade got the Giants on the board with his third homer of the trip and 17th of the year, which is one shy of his previous career-high. The first baseman has been banged up most of the second half, but he appears to have turned a corner in recent weeks. 

Wade's homer came with Brandon Crawford joining the ESPN broadcast from the dugout. Crawford was in the middle of discussing injuries when Wade jumped on the fastball and whispered 'go ball' as it headed out to right-center. 

Anyone But That Guy

Wilmer Flores had singles in his first two at-bats, but J.D. Davis took over at third base in the bottom of the fourth. The Giants later announced that Flores had right knee discomfort. 

Flores has been their offensive MVP this season and might be the main reason why it took so long for them to dip under .500 in the second half. Before departing Sunday, he raised his OPS to .865, which would be a career-high by 17 points. Flores already has a new personal best with 22 homers, and his .285 average is his highest in a season of at least 100 appearances. 

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