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Giants seek urgency after disappointing series

Miscues, rotation issues factor into lopsided sweep at Yanks' hands
@mi_guardado
April 28, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- A little bit of everything went wrong for the Giants in their 11-5 loss to the Yankees on Sunday afternoon at Oracle Park. It marked the most lopsided defeat of the season for the Giants, who were also swept by the Yankees for the first time since

SAN FRANCISCO -- A little bit of everything went wrong for the Giants in their 11-5 loss to the Yankees on Sunday afternoon at Oracle Park.

It marked the most lopsided defeat of the season for the Giants, who were also swept by the Yankees for the first time since Interleague Play started in 1997. Entering Sunday, the Giants (11-17) had not lost a game by more than four runs, with 14 of their losses coming by three runs or fewer.

Even with their endless stream of injuries, the Yankees managed to outscore (24-12) and outhit (37-20) the Giants by healthy margins this weekend.

“I think it was probably more our pitching,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Not to take away from their hitting. They’ve been scoring runs despite their injuries. You give them credit, they did swing it well, including the long ball. But a lot of base hits, a lot of balls hit hard. A lot of that is mislocation. That’s usually the case. When pitchers are hitting their spots, you don’t give up that many hits or that many runs.”

Here are three takeaways from Sunday’s series finale:

1. Rare defensive miscues prove costly

The Giants have one of the best defenses in baseball, as evidenced by their MLB-high 28 Defensive Runs Saved this season, but their fielding let them down in the first two innings against the Yankees.

After New York loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning, Dereck Rodríguez induced a potential double-play ball from Gary Sanchez that was booted by shortstop Brandon Crawford, allowing the Yankees to take a 1-0 lead and keep the bases full. The Yankees went on to score a second run after Gleyber Torres grounded into a 4-6-3 double play on Rodriguez’s next pitch.

In the second, catcher Erik Kratz made an errant throw on a pickoff attempt that allowed a pair of Yankees baserunners to advance to second and third base with two outs. Luke Voit followed with a two-run single to right field, extending the Yankees’ lead to 4-0. While the Giants have been adept at fighting back later in games, they didn’t do themselves any favors by digging an early hole on Sunday.

“We could have cut back on some of the damage, but we made a couple of errors,” Bochy said. “We’ve been playing so well defensively. That cost us a couple runs.”

2. D-Rod battles command issues

Rodriguez had largely avoided any kind of sophomore slump over the first month of the season and entered Sunday having allowed two runs or fewer in four out of his five starts, with an impressive 22-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 28 innings this year.

But Rodriguez wasn’t as crisp against the Yankees, yielding six runs (four earned) on seven hits while issuing a season-high four walks over three innings. It marked the first time Rodriguez had not pitched at least five innings in an outing this season.

“I couldn’t find it,” Rodriguez said. “I was battling, trying to throw strikes, and I couldn’t. I was nowhere near the zone today. I don’t like walking a lot of people, so when I walk four guys in three innings, I’m not very happy about that.”

Rodriguez allowed the Yankees to score a pair of runs in each of the first three innings of the game, capped by Torres’ two-run home run in the third. He came back out to pitch the fourth but was removed from the game after Thairo Estrada and Voit led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Rodriguez departed after throwing 81 pitches, 47 of which were strikes.

“He was just off,” Bochy said. “Hiccup for him today, obviously, with the command, the ball-strike ratio. He wasn’t his normal self. Mixing in a couple errors didn’t help matters, either. Rough series for the starters. They all gave up at least five [runs]. It’s hard to win games like that.”

3. The Giants must show urgency to keep pace in the NL West

The rest of the homestand doesn’t get much easier for the Giants, who will kick off a three-game series against the first-place Dodgers on Monday night at Oracle Park. After dropping three in a row, the Giants find themselves at the bottom of the National League West, seven games behind the Dodgers. They could lose even more ground if they are unable to turn it around later this week.

“We better feel like that,” Bochy said. “You don’t win it here [in April], but you can certainly bury yourself to where you get too many games to make up, too many teams. We’ll come out here, we’ll give it all we got in this next series.”

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.