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Giants fall late as close call goes Braves' way

Club's skid reaches 11, a San Francisco-era franchise record
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants felt certain that the breaks would fall in their favor Wednesday. But they briefly forgot that this is 2018, a season in which very little has gone their way.

A replay review that stirred debate well after the fact helped the Atlanta Braves snap a ninth-inning tie and secure a 2-1 victory over the Giants, who set a San Francisco-era record with their 11th consecutive defeat. The Giants set the club standard of 13 in 1902 and matched it in '44, long before the franchise moved West in '58.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants felt certain that the breaks would fall in their favor Wednesday. But they briefly forgot that this is 2018, a season in which very little has gone their way.

A replay review that stirred debate well after the fact helped the Atlanta Braves snap a ninth-inning tie and secure a 2-1 victory over the Giants, who set a San Francisco-era record with their 11th consecutive defeat. The Giants set the club standard of 13 in 1902 and matched it in '44, long before the franchise moved West in '58.

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The last time any Giants team dropped 11 in a row was April 19-29, 1951, a year which featured Bobby Thomson's home run. Nothing remotely that dramatic awaits these 68-79 Giants.

Video: ATL@SF: Holland picks off Acuna Jr. at first in 1st

"It's never fun," Giants first baseman Brandon Belt said of the incessant disappointment. "Everybody puts in the work, grinding daily, trying to do everything we can to win ballgames. We just haven't been doing good enough. So we've got to change something."

The Giants were powerless to change their fate. With Charlie Culberson on third base, two outs and the score tied 1-1 in Atlanta's ninth, pinch-hitter Tyler Flowers grounded to third baseman Evan Longoria, whose low throw pulled Belt off the bag. Umpire Jeremie Rehak called Flowers safe. The Giants contended that Belt kept his foot on the bag long enough to record the out, but the review determined that the call stood, enabling Culberson's run to count.

Video: ATL@SF: Crawford backhands, fires to retire Markakis

Belt believed that the "out" ruling was obvious enough to be made on the field.

"It's just unfortunate that they didn't see it that way," Belt said.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy pointed out that the call on the field "bears a lot of weight, and they stood with it. I haven't looked at [the replay] real close, but our guys are pretty confident that [Belt] stayed with the bag."

Video: ATL@SF: Panik slides for stop, nabs Markakis at first

Bochy also noted that this defeat bore the stains that have soiled previous games. Once again, the near-total lack of clutch hitting stung the Giants. They went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, failing to score on three occasions with runners on third and less than two outs. Two of those occasions were bases-loaded, one-out opportunities that evaporated when Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik grounded into double plays in the first and fourth innings, respectively.

Alen Hanson ran the Giants out of a rally in the seventh when he turned toward second base after reliever Jesse Biddle fielded his sacrifice-bunt attempt and overthrew first base. Had Hanson followed the rules, San Francisco would have had runners at the corners with nobody out.

Video: ATL@SF: Hanson rounds first, gets tagged out in 7th

"[Hanson] made a mental mistake," Bochy said. "You cannot make a move toward advancing. That was huge. That was probably the difference in the game."

Bochy concluded that the Giants' shortcomings, not anything the umpires did, forged the team's defeat.

Video: ATL@SF: Bochy on replay, mistakes in loss to Braves

"That was probably tough luck on the [Flowers] call. But you make your luck," Bochy said. "Somebody has to knock in a run. You can't be in a better position to win a ballgame or score some runs than we were today. Somebody's got to come through. If not, this is what happens."

The Giants, who scored 25 runs in their previous 10 defeats, scored their token run in the third inning. Panik led off with one of his three singles, advanced to second base on a groundout and came across on Longoria's single.

Video: ATL@SF: Longoria rips RBI single to open the scoring

Ozzie Albies doubled and raced home on Freddie Freeman's single to tie the score in the sixth.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Giants pitchers distinguished themselves, as they have done more often than not.

"That kind of goes unnoticed in a game like this," Bochy said.

Derek Holland displayed his usual efficiency, allowing one run and five hits in six innings. He struck out seven and walked one.

Video: ATL@SF: Holland K's 7 over 6 frames of 1-run ball

Tony Watson contributed a scoreless seventh inning, which proved to be one of the finer escape acts of the season by a Giants reliever. Watson took over after Reyes Moronta loaded the bases with nobody out. Given essentially no margin for error, Watson delivered a flawless effort. He coaxed Adam Duvall's foul popup near first base, struck out the dangerous Ronald Acuna Jr. on three 94-mph fastballs and induced Albies' fielder's-choice grounder to end the threat.

Video: ATL@SF: Watson works out of a bases-loaded jam in 7th

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Flowers' single was a challenging play for Longoria, whose momentum carried him away from first base and prompted the low throw to Belt. Nevertheless, Bochy believed that the "safe" call would be overturned.

"I just don't get how that call was not overturned, [based on] the brief look I had at it," Bochy said. "That shows you how much the call on the field [means]."

Video: ATL@SF: Flowers rips go-ahead RBI infield hit in 9th

UP NEXT
Following Thursday's scheduled off-day, the Giants will resume running the gauntlet of postseason contenders at AT&T Park when they open a three-game weekend series against the Colorado Rockies on Friday night at 7:15 PT. Chris Stratton (9-9), the Giants' leading winner, will oppose Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson (6-8). San Francisco is 5-11 against Colorado this season overall but 4-3 at home.

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, Brandon Belt, Derek Holland, Evan Longoria