Runs scarce for the Giants again, Royals sweep brief two-game set

June 14, 2017

MLB, San Francisco Giants

AP808441949661

June 14, 2017: Striking out in the sixth inning, San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence (8) walks to the dugout, during a MLB baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California. Valerie Shoaps/CSM (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO-The Giants banged out ten hits, got at least one from every starting position player except one, but scored only twice, and looked as lifeless offensively as a team can with double-digit knocks and three walks mixed in.

It’s not easy to do. But the Giants are doing it, with alarming regularity.

In a matchup of teams ranked 28th and 29th offensively in the MLB, the Royals appeared completely unbridled while the Giants remained completely restrained. On Wednesday afternoon, the Royals took advantage of Johnny Cueto and Derek Law, and cruised past the Giants for the second straight day, 7-2.

Back-to-back home runs by Jorge Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain off Cueto in the third put the Royals ahead 4-0, and took all the life out of the Giants, who had scored four or more runs only 28 times in 66 games this season coming in.

Cueto threw well in stretches, but was roughed up in others, allowing five runs on ten hits, and three walks in 5 2/3 innnings. Facing the club with which he won the 2015 World Series, Cueto allowed three home runs for only the second time in 14 starts this season.

“I left those three pitches hanging, and they beat me,” Cueto said via translator Erwin Higueros. “I just had a bad day.”

The Royals won their third straight, and relied on a powerful offense that’s been absent for most of their season.  With the three homers on Wednesday, the Royals have 13 in the first five games of their unique San Diego, San Francisco, Anaheim road trip that concludes with four games against the Angels starting Thursday.

Mike Moustakas homered with a splash off Cueto leading off the second inning to give the Royals an early 1-0 lead. Moustakas leads the Royals with 18 home runs this season, and he’s hitting .391 in June.

Jason Hammel picked up the win, but needed 12 starts to finally beat the Giants for the first time, one of three MLB teams he had never beaten.  Hammel pitched into the eighth inning, allowing one run on eight hits with four strikeouts.

Denard Span, Eduardo Nunez and Joe Panik had two hits apiece for the Giants, but only one of the Giants’ ten hits went for extra bases, and they finished two for ten with runners in scoring position. Brandon Belt was the only hitless starter for San Francisco, going 0 for 4 with a walk.

“If you don’t have a lot of power, you’re not a home run-hitting club, you need to get those timely hits,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Our guys aren’t having a good year with men on base.”

The Giants concluded a dismal homestand in which they finished 1-4, scoring 13 runs in their win on Sunday and only five runs total in their four losses.

The Giants open the first of two, consecutive four-game series in Denver on Thursday night against the Rockies. Matt Moore will face Jeff Hoffman (4-0, 2.33) in the opener at 5:40pm.

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