Kontos' injury compounds Giants' bullpen woes

April 19th, 2016
George Kontos is headed to the DL with a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow. (AP)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Monday actually got worse for the Giants' bullpen after it yielded the runs that enabled the Arizona Diamondbacks to secure a 9-7, 11-inning victory at AT&T Park.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy began his postgame address by announcing that right-hander George Kontos, who owns a 1.59 ERA, will go on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday with a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow -- the same injury that sidelined fellow reliever Sergio Romo last week.

Thus, the season is barely two weeks old, and the Giants already have been forced to assign two of their top relievers to the DL. Kontos appeared in eight of San Francisco's first 13 games but did not pitch Monday. Bochy acknowledged that Kontos felt "a little bit" of discomfort in his elbow during Spring Training but contnued to throw effectively.

"It was pretty amazing, really," Bochy said. "His stuff was pretty good in his last couple of outings."

Possible replacements for Kontos who are currently with San Francisco's Triple-A Sacramento affiliate include right-hander Mike Broadway and left-hander Steven Okert. Right-hander Jake Dunning performed remarkably well at the end of Spring Training, but he is not on the 40-man roster and potentially inconvenient moves would be required to make him eligible for promotion.

The Giants would be thrilled if Kontos' replacement performs nearly as well as Romo's -- namely, Derek Law. The right-hander, who struck out the side at Los Angeles in his Major League debut on Friday, fanned two in a perfect 10th inning on Monday.

"It's obviously tough blows that we've been dealt, with Serge and George, because of how important y'all know them to be," said right-hander Jake Peavy, who started Monday and allowed four runs while lasting two batters into the sixth inning. "That being said, it's the San Francisco Giant way, 'Next guy up.' We've got guys in Triple-A with experience who were in camp with us, and this is going to help them grow."

Whoever is summoned probably will likely face pressurized situations rather quickly, given the Giants' penchant for playing tight games. Seven of their first 14 games have been decided by two runs or fewer. The trend continued in the series opener against the D-backs, who have defeated the Giants in nine of their last 11 games at AT&T Park.

With the score tied, 7-7, in the 11th, Giants right-hander Chris Heston needed one out to escape the inning unscored upon. But he wild-pitched Phil Gosselin to third base, then yielded Jean Segura's run-scoring infield single, a high chopper over the pitcher's mound. Jake Lamb then doubled home Segura.

The Giants were one strike away from winning the game in nine innings. But closer Santiago Casilla squandered a chance to secure his 100th career save by yielding Lamb's home run on a 2-2 delivery with two outs in the top of the ninth and San Francisco clinging to a 7-6 edge.

"That's what happens when you miss your spots," said Casilla, who has blown two of five save opportunities. "You have to pay. So I paid up."