SAN FRANCISCO -- Luke Raley's pinch-hit rocket in the sixth inning Wednesday was hit 110 mph and went an estimated 425 feet. It would have been a homer in every ballpark in the big leagues except one.
The ball hit the bricks in the deepest part of the yard at Oracle Park and then somehow ricocheted off the padding in right-center. Instead of bouncing back onto the grass for a double or back over the wall for a homer, it skipped down the warning track with such speed that the Tampa Bay Rays outfielder cruised around the bases for an easy inside-the-park homer.
It was one of the weirdest home runs in Oracle Park's history. It was also the third in three innings for the Rays. The Giants countered with four double plays in a five-inning span and lost 6-1.
They finished 2-4 on the homestand against the Texas Rangers and Rays, and it doesn't get any easier. They're off to face the Atlanta Braves, who have been the best team in the NL all year, and the Wild Card-leading Philadelphia Phillies.
The Giants fell behind big but did have a chance to try and make it a game. They loaded the bases in the seventh and the Rays stuck with rookie Hector Perez, who was making his second big league appearance, instead of calling for a lefty when the Giants announced LaMonte Wade Jr. as a pinch-hitter.
Perez walked Wade, which allowed Gabe Kapler to send Austin Slater up when the Rays then brought in lefty Colin Poche. Slater bounced into a rally-killing double play.
The Good And The Bad
San Francisco Giants
Ross Stripling had his eighth straight appearance without a walk, and he now has faced 169 consecutive batters without issuing a free pass. That's the longest streak by a Giants starter in the franchise's San Francisco era and the longest active streak in MLB. That's great -- but Stripling also has allowed 10 homers in those 42 innings.
With three more on Wednesday, Stripling is up to 20 homers allowed in just 78 1/3 innings. He is the only pitcher in the big leagues who has thrown fewer than 97 innings and allowed at least 20 homers.
Wade Meckler was in the lineup for a third straight day and this time got moved up to the leadoff spot with Wade Jr. getting a day off. He went 1-for-3 with a single and a couple of strikeouts.
Through three games, Meckler has three singles and a walk in 11 plate appearances. He also has six strikeouts, which was not an issue in the minor leagues. Defensively, Meckler made a couple of sliding catches Wednesday and has shown he's pretty good coming in on the ball, which is one of the things that got Luis Matos sent back to Triple-A.
Inside The Inside-The-Parker
Raley's homer was the 11th inside-the-park homer in the regular season since the ballpark opened. Ichiro Suzuki also did it in the 2007 All-Star Game.
Four of the 11 have been hit by visitors and seven have been hit by Giants. The seven Giants who have done it: Dustin Mohr, Nate Schierholtz, Aubrey Huff, Conor Gillaspie, Angel Pagan, Kelby Tomlinson and Denard Span. Pagan's was the most memorable, because it was a walk-off, too.