Giants Observations

What we learned as Giants lose on special night at Rickwood Field

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Rickwood Field was ready to shine Thursday night. The Giants never quite got there. 

Playing in the same ballpark where Willie Mays roamed center field in 1948, the Giants lost 6-5 to the St. Louis Cardinals. They have dropped three of four on this trip and five of seven overall to drop back to four games under .500 (36-40). 

After a moving pregame ceremony, the Cardinals wasted no time getting on the board. Brendan Donovan capped a three-run bottom of the first with a homer to right that was hit so hard that none of the outfielders even moved.

The Giants tied it up in the third on their own blast to right. It was, of course, Heliot Ramos, who lifted a breaking ball high into the thick air and watched as it kept carrying and carrying. The three-run home run was Ramos' 10th of the season and continued his red-hot stretch at the plate.

The Giants fell behind 6-3 heading into the sixth, but they loaded the bases with one out after an RBI single from Wilmer Flores. They would get just one more run out of the opportunity, as both Nick Ahmed and Brett Wisely flew out. They got the leadoff runner on in the ninth against MLB saves leader Ryan Helsley and Patrick Bailey singled with two outs and two strikes, but Matt Chapman struck out to end the night.

Here are the takeaways from the Giants' loss to the Cardinals:

Hey Now, You're An All-Star?

Ramos didn't show up until May 8, but he became the first Giant to reach double-digit homers with his shot in the third inning. At this point, there's no doubt that he should be right in the heart of the All-Star conversation for National League outfielders. 

Ramos entered the day ranked fourth among the group in fWAR at 1.9 and he leads all NL outfielders with a wRC+ of 166. The more traditional stats will be a slight issue, as he just hasn't played all that much, but he's catching up in a hurry. 

Coming into the day, only seven NL outfielders had double-digit homers and four of them were at exactly 10. Ramos also is now in the top 10 in RBI among NL outfielders. He's making a serious push to be in Arlington in a few weeks, which would be one of the more shocking All-Star selections in franchise history given the way his season started. 

Forever Giant (Except For This Weekend)

After nearly 14,000 innings at shortstop -- and one as a pitcher -- Brandon Crawford finally played a new position on Thursday. Incredibly, it happened against the team he starred for over 13 seasons. 

Crawford was initially supposed to play third base on Tuesday, but when starting shortstop Masyn Winn got sick, he moved back to his usual position. Nolan Arenado was hit by a pitch Wednesday and suffered an elbow contusion, so Crawford ended up at third against his former teammates. He knew when he signed with the Cardinals that moving around might be required and he was excited about it. It took until June, but he finally got a game in at a different infield spot.

"It's funny how baseball works out like that," Crawford said, smiling. 

Crawford said before the game that facing the Giants would be "a little weird at first," but he was confident that it would all seem normal after he got a chance to hit or field a grounder. That came early, as he ended the first inning by scooping a groundball from Matt Chapman and throwing him out at first. Crawford struck out and walked in two plate appearances before getting lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh.

Back To The Drawing Board

Keaton Winn finally seemed to right the ship last week when he allowed three runs over six innings against the Los Angeles Angels, but the struggles returned Thursday. Winn gave up a three-run shot in the first inning and didn't make it out of the third. He was charged with five earned on five hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings.

Winn has now allowed at least five runs in four of his last five starts. His ERA was 3.18 at the end of April, but it now is 7.16. The Giants still don't really have any additional options for their rotation. Kyle Harrison, Blake Snell, Robbie Ray, Alex Cobb and Tristan Beck are on the IL, although Snell should be getting close to action. The Giants, however, already have one open rotation spot that they're using for bullpen games.

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