By Morris Phillips
Steven Duggar was traded, Alex Wood was upset and manager Gabe Kapler was a bit exasperated. That was the Giants’ Thursday, not exactly a feel-good getaway day in hot, suburban Atlanta.
The Giants got little uplift from Wood, who started and fell behind 5-1 in the second inning when he was removed for reliever Zach Littell. A four-pronged rally that started in the fifth merely brought the Giants close in a tough, 7-6 loss.
“These guys have been grinding,” Wood said. “We’ve had a brutal travel schedule and these guys have been playing their butts off and for me to go out there and do that is really deflating.”
The Giants finished 3-4 on their two-city trip, and lost three games to the Braves, each by one run. They open a weekend set at Oracle Park on Friday with the Reds.
Darby Swanson homered in the first and fourth innings, a continuation of his hot streak now a month in the making. Swanson homered on Wednesday as well, part of a .385 hitting stretch over the last 30 games.
“It’s not surprising to see what he’s been doing,” starting pitcher Kyle Wright said of Swanson. “He’s very strong mentally, physically. He does all the things to put himself in a great position to be successful, and he’s reaping the benefits.”
Wright pitched into the sixth inning despite giving up ten hits and four runs. That was good enough to win it on a day the Giants failed in eight opportunities with runners in scoring position, along with hitting into four double plays.
“The tying run came to the plate. It felt like we did everything we could to stay in that game,” Kapler said. “I feel like we had some good at-bats today and kept fighting back all the way through the end of the game. I feel like that’s a moment to be proud of the club for not laying down.”
The 2 through 5 hitters for the Giants combined for eight hits–two hits from each guy–and only one RBI. That’s hard to do, but again only one of the hits was timely, and the double plays wiped out a couple scoring chances too.
Before the game, the Giants traded Steven Duggar to Texas for speedy, 27-year old outfielder Willie Calhoun, who has friendly minor league options and a different, offensive approach. Duggar had been with San Francisco’s organization since 2015, when he was a sixth round draft pick. The deal also clears the needed space for Luis Gonzales, who has been a breakout performer for the Giants in Duggar’s absence. Gonzales experienced back tightness and missed the concluded Braves’ series.
Cincinnati’s Graham Ashcraft and Alex Cobb are the announced starters for Friday night’s series opener at 7:05pm.