Giants hope offensive woes don't follow them home
PITTSBURGH -- It was the kind of road trip you hope you can sleep off on the flight home.
Yet again unable to take advantage of opportune situations, San Francisco wilted at the plate in a 5-2 loss to the Pirates on Sunday night at PNC Park, ending an offensively anemic six-game swing away from home.
"It's kind of been the story of this road trip," manager Bruce Bochy said. "A lot of close games. ... We're getting good hitters up there in the right situation, and we're having a hard time getting a clutch hit."
After a three-game set with the Cardinals and four games in Pittsburgh, the Giants had just 20 runs to show for it -- an average of 2.86 runs per contest. The club started its road trip averaging 4.69 runs per road game.
On Sunday, San Francisco left 11 runners on base, couldn't produce a timely hit or really catch a break. And it was like that for most of the road trip.
The Giants' best chance all evening served as a microcosm for their issues.
Down two runs with two outs in the seventh, catcher Andrew Susac, after walking, was in motion when Brandon Crawford connected on a ball to the gap. Susac would have crossed home easily, but the ball bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. The home plate umpire directed Susac back to third, and Brandon Belt followed up by grounding out to kill the threat.
"It goes through cycles," Bochy said of clutch hitting. "A week ago we were getting all the big hits we needed, and this road trip we've had a hard time getting them in. That's the difference in the game."
Of course, it's not like the Giants faced novices on the bump. In St. Louis, they faced 2015 All-Star Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn and Jaime Garcia. It was another 2015 All-Star in Gerrit Cole with Francisco Liriano, Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton in Pittsburgh.
Plus, the Cardinals and Pirates have the two best bullpen ERAs in the National League.
And it won't let up, either. San Francisco faces Cubs ace Jake Arrieta (15-6, 2.30 ERA) on Tuesday when the clubs open a three-game series at AT&T Park.
Bochy isn't surprised, though. The three-time World Series champion just hopes for better results than what he saw the past six games.
"If you think you're a contending club, and we surely do, that's what you face," Bochy said. "We'll regroup with the day off, fly home and see if we can get back on track with these bats."