Giants, Tomko fall in Philadelphia

Giants, Tomko fall in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA -- "On every team, there's always a pitcher who doesn't get the runs," said Giants manager Felipe Alou recently, "and for us it's Brett Tomko."

Too right, too monotonously, grotesquely true.

Over 11 outings -- taking away 10 runs of support in his last victory on May 25 vs. the Dodgers -- the Giants have averaged a mere 1.36 runs of support for Tomko's cause, and he left Tuesday night's 5-2 loss against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park trailing, 3-0.

It was the Giants' fifth straight defeat, their longest losing streak of the season, and continued Tomko's series of misfortune and some critical one-inning troubles that have plagued him all year.

"It's frustrating, and it's not fun to lose," said Tomko. "It's been a tough year. Besides the L.A. game, it's been tough. There's not a whole lot I can do about it. I can only pitch the best I can and do my job -- I can't worry about the other stuff. I just gotta keep grinding away."

A grind, indeed. This season, Tomko has been given five runs of support only once, zero runs twice, one run three times, two runs twice and three tallies once. That 10-spot was obviously an anomaly.

"An unlucky year -- yeah, I would sum it up that way," said the nine-year veteran, now 4-7 with a 4.05 ERA, ironically a number that continues to plummet after a high of 6.75 on April 18.

"I've had some tough breaks, tough scoring decisions, tough innings where I made pitches I wanted to make, but balls are falling in everywhere. It's tough not to let it keep you up at night -- which it has quite a bit."

No, he can't chastise the Giants' hitters, curse the baseball gods or dwell on the year.

Tomko luck is sporting a decent 3.38 ERA over his last seven starts but seeing a 3-4 record. Tomko luck is limiting opponents to a .222 batting average but still struggling on the stat sheet.

And Tomko luck is watching Deivi Cruz's shallow fly to center with two runners on get trapped -- not caught -- by Kenny Lofton but ruled an out nevertheless.

The Giants saw a replay five minutes later, but that was assuredly five minutes too late.

"It would have been nice to get those couple of runs," sighed Tomko, "but that's the way it is."

Tomko luck is also making a great pitch to Chase Utley in the second inning but see him golf it to center for two RBIs.

"Utley covered two fastballs at his eyes, then covered one that would have bounced if he'd taken it," said Tomko. "That was the pitch I wanted to make. You just tip your cap. I got beat on that pitch."

Not that Tomko is kissing this year goodbye. He remembers last season when the club was eight games behind at about this time but kicked in the after-burner and nearly made the playoffs.

"It's been frustrating, but there's still a lot that can happen," he said. "Teams get cold, teams get hot. We can get back in the race. You don't want to be losing, you don't want to be struggling, but until that asterisk is by the team at the top you're not out of it."

On Tuesday night, the Giants left nine runners on base over the first six innings, including a frustrating first frame when they loaded the bases, but winning pitcher Randy Wolf (5-4) struck out Cruz and Edgardo Alfonzo to end the threat.

Far too late, the Giants rallied, scoring twice on rookie Jason Ellison's two-run homer off Philly closer Billy Wagner. Another fledgling, Lance Niekro, banged his second single of the night, but Wagner ended the threat.

Niekro also walked in the first to load the bases, but was left stranded.

"Not getting runs out of it -- that's the way it's been going this year," said Niekro. "As soon as we can turn it around and capitalize on those moments, we put up runs there and it's a different game."

A high point for the Giants was rookie reliever Scott Munter's effort, as he retired the side in the sixth, striking out Mike Lieberthal and getting two groundouts.

Rich Draper is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.