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Stratton struggles as Giants drop series to Phils

Early deficit proves too much for San Francisco to overcome
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

PHILADELPHIA -- With one rough series, the Giants have nearly negated all of their recent accomplishments.

Their streak of five winning series in a row ended with their 11-3 loss on Wednesday night to the Philadelphia Phillies, who won the first three games of this four-game set.

View Full Game Coverage

PHILADELPHIA -- With one rough series, the Giants have nearly negated all of their recent accomplishments.

Their streak of five winning series in a row ended with their 11-3 loss on Wednesday night to the Philadelphia Phillies, who won the first three games of this four-game set.

View Full Game Coverage

The Giants own a respectable 19-18 record, but they strongly resembled a sub-.500 club against the Phillies, who have defeated them in seven of their last nine meetings while outscoring them, 63-41, in that span.

San Francisco lost by a respectable 4-2 margin Tuesday but dropped the other pair of games by a combined score of 22-3. That's about as lopsided as it gets in Major League baseball.

"We have to have somebody come through to raise the energy in that dugout. That's up to us to do that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Reaching these depths hasn't been easy for the Giants. They had to underperform in virtually every facet of the game. Here's how they did so in their latest setback:

• The welcome surge of offense that they received in last weekend's sweep of Atlanta has become a memory. Since that series, they're 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position, including 1-for-8 Wednesday.

Video: SF@PHI: Longoria drives in Belt with an RBI double

• The ability to apply pressure on opposing starters has deserted them. Zach Eflin, Aaron Nola and Nick Pivetta combined to limit San Francisco to one run and 13 hits in 18 2/3 innings while walking three and striking out 28.

Pivetta, the Giants' tormentor on Wednesday, surrendered 10 runs over six innings in his previous two starts. He labored through a 31-pitch first inning before recovering to last five innings.

"They're a veteran hitting club, they spoiled some pitches and I was able to capitalize and throw some breakers when I needed them," said Pivetta (2-2). "That first inning kind of killed me. It was a little hard, but I got out of it with no runs so I was pretty happy with that."

• The Giants remained susceptible to the long ball, a tendency that could worsen once summer arrives and batted balls fly more comfortably through the air. Maikel Franco's fourth-inning homer off Chris Stratton (3-3) was the 13th homer San Francisco has allowed in its last eight games.

Video: SF@PHI: Franco smashes a solo homer to left-center

• Defense remained a problem. Stratton's first-inning throwing error on a pickoff attempt did not directly influence the scoring, though it did ease Odubel Herrera's trip to home plate on Carlos Santana's double, since he was able to take off from second base instead of first. San Francisco has committed at least one error in its last seven games for a total of 14.

• A study in precision when he's thriving, Stratton issued a season-high four walks. Three of those baserunners scored. The other free pass was a four-pitch giveaway to Herrera, which set up Santana's single with two outs in the fifth inning and finished Stratton.

"Walks have killed us," Bochy said. "If you look at all these rallies, there's been a walk involved."

Said Stratton, who criticized his fastball command: "I don't know how many three-ball counts I had today, but I felt it had to be a lot." (Answer: seven out of 22 batters he faced.)

SOUND SMART
Despite their offensive inconsistency, the Giants are the only Major League team with two players who have reached base safely in at least 20 consecutive games apiece. Both streaks are current. They belong to Brandon Belt (21 games) and Andrew McCutchen (20). Belt has posted a .320 batting average and a 1.040 OPS during his streak. McCutchen has a nine-game hitting streak.

HE SAID IT
"You don't want to think like that, but obviously that is when you miss your top two guys, especially with the way they throw the ball." -- Bochy, on not having sidelined co-aces Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto around to stop losing streaks

UP NEXT
The Giants will try to avoid a series sweep in Thursday's finale against the Phillies. Ty Blach, who pitched his first career shutout at Citizens Bank Park last June 2, will try to approach that performance in the 10:05 a.m. PT encounter against the Phillies and right-hander Vince Velasquez. The game will be broadcast exclusively on Facebook.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants