The ongoing offensive issues have dropped the Giants out of a playoff spot, but their defense quietly has taken a big step back in the second half too. On Tuesday, it was a defensive mistake that was in the spotlight.
Joc Pederson misjudged a one-out flyball to left in the seventh and it dropped for a double that turned into the go-ahead run. That was far from the only issue in a six-run seventh, though, as infielder Casey Schmitt had a low throw that led to a Cubs run, and two different right-handed relievers gave up two-run homers.
The Cubs rode a six-run seventh inning to an 11-8 win over the Giants, who have dropped five straight. The Giants are now just one game above .500 and they lost ground to the Marlins, who beat Clayton Kershaw at the same time, and the Reds, who had a spirited comeback against the Mariners. The Giants are now two games out of the final Wild Card spot and five games behind the Cubs, who hold the second spot.
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After scoring just four total runs over their previous four games, the Giants took an early 3-0 lead on homers by LaMonte Wade Jr. and Mike Yastrzemski and a bloop by Wade Meckler. The Cubs stormed back with four in the third, but the Giants tied it up on back-to-back doubles by Wilmer Flores and Joc Pederson in the sixth.
J.D. Davis hit his first homer in nearly a month to give the Giants a 6-4 lead, but it wouldn't last long. The game unraveled from there, with Seiya Suzuki and Christopher Morel hitting homers off Tyler Rogers and Luke Jackson.
Return of Just Dingers?
The whole offense (except Wilmer Flores) has gone in the tank in the second half, including Davis, who has splits that jump off the page. He had a .800 OPS, 11 homers and 46 RBI and was an All-Star candidate at third base in the first half, but the homer on Tuesday was just his fifth since the All-Star break.
San Francisco Giants
Davis entered the night with a .185/.267/.295 slash line in the second half. He still leads the Giants in RBI, but until that swing in the sixth he had just 14 in 43 second-half games.
After his team got shut out Monday, manager Gabe Kapler said he wanted to see a more aggressive approach at the plate. It doesn't get more aggressive than hitting the game's first pitch 412 feet.
Wade jumped on Kyle Hendricks' first offering, a fastball right down the middle, and crushed a solo blast into the bleachers. It was the fifth leadoff homer of the year for the Giants and fourth for Wade, who now has seven in his career. This was the third time this year that Wade has gone deep on the first pitch of a game.
The homer was Wade's 14th of the season, putting him four away from his career-high, set in a breakout 2021 season.
Walk This Way
Ryan Walker was the opener for the 12th time this season, and while it wasn't his sharpest outing, he gave the Giants 1 2/3 scoreless innings. The rookie right-hander walked two and gave up two hits, but he got out of a jam in the first and Scott Alexander stranded a pair of Walker's runners in the second.
Walker lowered his ERA to 2.09, and he has been especially stingy in the second half. Over his last 21 outings, Walker has allowed just four earned runs in 28 2/3 innings. Among rookies who have thrown at least 50 innings, Walker has the third-lowest ERA.