Missed chances cost Giants in LA

Missed chances cost Giants in LA

LOS ANGELES -- The last impression was the most lingering one on Saturday night for the Giants, who lost, 10-7, to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Early, the Giants hit poorly in the clutch. Later, they pitched sloppily during crunch time. The latter shortcoming galled manager Bruce Bochy the most after the tedium of the four-hour, three-minute contest, San Francisco's longest nine-inning game of the season.

Giants pitchers issued a season-high 11 walks, enough to make any manager exchange his jersey for a straitjacket. Bochy was particularly thin on patience, since the Giants rank second in the National League with 625 walks, one behind Pittsburgh.

"You're going to get beat, but when you beat yourself, that's what hurts," Bochy said, pointing out that free passes preceded both of Manny Ramirez's home runs for Los Angeles -- a three-run poke in a five-run third inning and a two-run drive in the eighth.

Walks also made the difference when the Dodgers scored a pair of seventh-inning runs to break a 5-5 tie.

Tyler Walker (4-8) walked Ramirez and allowed James Loney's single before coaxing two fielder's-choice grounders -- the second being Matt Kemp's one-hopper to second baseman Eugenio Velez, who bobbled it and thus missed a chance to start a potential inning-ending double play.

Jack Taschner relieved Walker and walked three batters in a row, including Angel Berroa and pinch-hitter Delwyn Young to force in runs.

Bochy actually refrained from criticizing Taschner, who sandwiched a pair of full-count walks around a four-pitch walk.

"I thought Tasch had good stuff," Bochy said. "It looked like he was just missing."

Taschner never has fit the stereotype of the wild left-hander.

"I don't particularly walk a whole lot of guys," said Taschner, who has issued 22 unintentional walks in 48 innings over 67 appearances. "Tonight, for myself, is kind of an anomaly. But it is what it is."

Bochy vowed to address the Giants' inability to find the strike zone consistently.

"That's what we have to work on for the rest of the year, in the winter, Spring Training and next year," he said.

Taschner suggested that flipping the calendar to 2009 should help.

"We have a team full of young arms," Taschner said. Walks, he added, are "one of the things that comes about."

Ramirez's second homer, which appeared to be one final party favor for the paid crowd of 55,724, turned out to be essential, along with the Dodgers' third eighth-inning run off Geno Espineli -- which Loney scored after drawing a walk, of course.

With the Giants trailing, 10-5, the remarkable Pablo Sandoval, who was nursing a strained left quadriceps, lashed a bases-loaded, pinch-hit double off Dodgers relief ace Jonathan Broxton with two outs. Broxton recovered by slipping a called third strike past Dave Roberts to end the game.

"He's amazing," Bochy said of Sandoval, who lifted his batting average to .349. "We told him to take it easy, and he goes up against 97 [miles an hour] and gets a base hit."

The Giants could have used Sandoval in the early innings. They went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position against Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, who lasted one batter into the fifth inning. San Francisco finished 3-for-19 in those situations overall.

For the second time in three games, the Giants loaded the bases in the first inning with nobody out and came away with just one run. They continued this pattern, wasting Omar Vizquel's one-out double in the second inning, leaving two runners aboard in the third and not scoring in the fourth after the first two batters singled.

After Ramirez's first homer and Kemp's two-run homer off Giants right-hander Brad Hennessey gave Los Angeles a 5-2 lead in the third, San Francisco pulled even in the fifth. But even at that point, the Giants' scoring summary was embarrassing. They generated their five runs on on two walks, an error, a wild pitch and a groundout.

"We had chances to bust that game open early," Bochy said.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.