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D-Rod's return spoiled as 6-run lead evaporates

August 24, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dereck Rodriguez (D-Rod) needed seven pitches to dispel any lingering concerns about his health.That was the number of deliveries Rodriguez needed to retire the side on three grounders during a perfect first inning Friday night. Unfortunately for the Giants, Rodriguez's teammates neglected to follow his example by

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dereck Rodriguez (D-Rod) needed seven pitches to dispel any lingering concerns about his health.
That was the number of deliveries Rodriguez needed to retire the side on three grounders during a perfect first inning Friday night. Unfortunately for the Giants, Rodriguez's teammates neglected to follow his example by gradually squandering a six-run lead in a 7-6, 10-inning loss to the Rangers at AT&T Park.
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Rodriguez appeared bound to earn the decision as Giants closer Will Smith (Smitty) retired the first two Rangers he faced in the ninth inning with San Francisco leading, 6-4. Then second baseman Joe Panik (J.P.) mishandled Shin-Soo Choo's (추신수) grounder for an error. Up came Rougned Odor (El Tipo), who lined the first pitch into McCovey Cove to tie the score.
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The Rangers forged ahead as reliever Sam Dyson (Pssst) walked Robinson Chirinos (Pelo Buche) with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th to force in a run.
Citing the vanishing lead that should have been safe and the struggling bullpen that's usually competent, Giants catcher Buster Posey said, "That's about as tough of a loss as I can recall."

Earlier, all seemed right with the Giants' world. They built a 6-0 edge while Rodriguez no-hit Texas through four innings.
Rodriguez went on the 10-day disabled list after sustaining a strained right hamstring during the brief on-field fray with the Dodgers on Aug. 14. As Rodriguez subsequently pointed out, his throwing arm escaped wear and tear. He proved his fitness with a typical outing -- typical for him, that is.

Rodriguez resumed his Rookie of the Year candidacy by lasting six innings and surrendering two runs on three hits. With his father, Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, watching in the stands, Dereck Rodriguez faltered only in the fifth, when Choo blooped a bases-loaded, two-run single to left field. Rodriguez recovered by striking out Odor on a 93 mph fastball to end the threat.
Rodriguez extended his streak of starts in which he allowed two runs or fewer to nine. That's the second-longest active streak in the Majors behind Boston's Chris Sale (The Conductor), who has 10 in a row.
"I think it's because he throws a lot of strikes," Ivan Rodriguez replied when asked for his explanation of Dereck's effectiveness. "When a pitcher throws a lot of strikes, he gets a lot of outs. That's what he does the most. He's a strike-thrower, he doesn't walk too many guys. He just pitches to contact. He's struck out a lot of guys, but he's always in the strike zone and mixing up his pitches very well."

Rodriguez reminded reporters that he continued to throw while his hamstring healed. "I feel fine," he said. "I walked [three] guys, but I battled. … It was a good day. I felt normal."
The Giants gave Rodriguez instant and ample support by scoring four first-inning runs. Andrew McCutchen (Zoom) belted a leadoff homer before the Giants loaded the bases against Rangers starter Andrew Hutchison (Hutch) on Panik's single and walks to Posey and Brandon Belt (Bob). After Evan Longoria (Longo) chopped an infield single to score Panik, Brandon Crawford (DJ BC Raw) and Alen Hanson (El Chamaquito) launched sacrifice flies.

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The seventh-inning home run that Rangers slugger Joey Gallo (Pico de Gallo) clobbered off Giants reliever Reyes Moronta (Ell Tibu) was a rarity. Not only was it just the third home run Moronta allowed in 60 appearances this year, but it also was an adept job of hitting on Gallo's part. According to Statcast™, Moronta flung a fastball to Gallo that traveled at 98.2 mph with 2,526 rpm -- an enviable combination of velocity and spin. It didn't seem to matter to Gallo, though.

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Giants maintained their uncanny success with challenges in the first inning, when a replay review verified their assertion that Steven Duggar (Dugg) recorded an infield single on a grounder to shortstop. Duggar showed off his considerable speed en route to first base and beat the throw from Elvis Andrus (Merulo Jr.), who fielded the ball cleanly. The reversal improved the Giants' success rate on reversed calls to 80 percent (20 of 25).

UP NEXT
Andrew Suarez (Andy) will attempt to rebound from his shortest outing of the season when he confronts the Rangers in Saturday's 1:05 p.m. PT rematch. Suarez worked 2 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs (five earned) in the Giants' 11-4 loss at Cincinnati. Suarez is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in three Interleague starts this season. He's also 2-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 10 starts at home, compared with 2-5, with a 5.55 ERA in 12 appearances on the road. He'll be opposed by Rangers left-hander Martin Perez (El de las Matas).

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.