SAN FRANCISCO -- Having elevated himself to a rung alongside the Major Leagues' top rookies, Dereck Rodriguez could be excused for not climbing higher on this particular Wednesday.
Having sustained considerable effectiveness through most of the season, Rodriguez slipped from compelling to competent against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who handed the Giants a 3-1 loss at AT&T Park.
"I felt right from the get-go that my fastball command was not there," Rodriguez said. "And as a result, I could not throw my curveball for a strike when I wanted to. … I battled; I battled as hard as I can."
Rodriguez allowed all of Arizona's runs, ending a stretch of nine consecutive starts in which he yielded two runs or fewer. He also worked at least six innings per game during that streak. This time, he lasted five, as Arizona's Steven Souza Jr. derailed his evening with a third-inning home run and a fourth-inning RBI double. The D-backs generated their eventual victory margin with a two-run fourth that began with Ketel Marte's providential (for Arizona) bloop double.
Citing Marte's softly struck hit, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Rodriguez, "He didn't have his best command, but overall it was not a bad effort."
The Giants fell to 9-5 when Rodriguez starts. His ERA rose from 2.30 to 2.47.
"I'm not going to let it affect me," Rodriguez said. "I've had 15 good ones and one bad one. I'm just going to go out there next time and do what I've been doing."
Rodriguez said he tried to make the in-game adjustments that every big leaguer must employ eventually. But, he said, "it just wasn't happening for me tonight."
Rodriguez (6-2) initially maintained his knack for recording critical outs. He issued two-out walks to David Peralta and Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning before retiring Daniel Descalso on a harmless fly ball.
Then came Souza's homer, the first off Rodriguez in 63 innings. He surrendered three in his first 25.
Rodriguez's performance would have been adequate on a night when the Giants' offense was more productive. Instead, San Francisco totaled three hits and scored only in the eighth inning as the result of a two-out rally. After Gorkys Hernandez's single prolonged the inning, pinch-hitter Hunter Pence walked before Andrew McCutchen slapped an RBI single up the middle. D-backs reliever Archie Bradley slipped a called third strike past Joe Panik to end the threat.
This series marked one of those rare occasions when Goldschmidt didn't have an impact at AT&T Park, though his first-inning walk extended his streak of consecutive road games in which he reached base safely to 41.
Giants pitchers limited Goldschmidt to one hit in nine at-bats with three walks in this series. Entering the series, he was a career .340 (70-for-206) hitter at AT&T Park. Goldschmidt was held to one hit or fewer for just the fourth time in San Francisco. The others were April 10-12, 2017, (1-for-11), April 20-21, 2016, (0-for-7) and Sept. 6-9, 2013, (1-for-10).
HE SAID IT
"Anytime somebody gets hurt, it's a letdown. But I felt we had everybody out there that we needed, and I did everything that I could do on my part. Yeah, when somebody goes down, it's always bad. But he'll be stronger when he gets back." -- Rodriguez, on the absence of injured center fielder Steven Duggar
Following Thursday's scheduled off-day, the Giants will continue their homestand with a three-game weekend series against the New York Mets that starts with a 7:15 p.m. PT encounter Friday. The Giants will give the ball to left-hander Andrew Suarez, who threw a career-high 106 pitches while blanking Texas for seven innings last Saturday. This will be the rookie's first career start against the Mets, who will counter with Zack Wheeler, the Giants' No. 1 Draft pick in 2009.