San Francisco Giants pitcher Alex Cobb works against the Baltimore Orioles during the sixth inning at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Fri Jun 3, 2023 (AP News photo)
Baltimore (36-22). 000 000 000 – 0. 5. 1
San Francisco (29-29). 003 001 00x. – 4. 10 0
Saturday, June 3, 2023
By Lewis Rubman
SAN FRANCISCO–Just when you thought things were beginning to gel for the Giants, they dropped two in a row to the marauding Pittsburgh Pirates and then laid an egg in the first of their current three game series against the high flying Baltimore Orioles, losing a 3-2 heart breaker and dropping their record to 28-29.
The Orioles, who began the Saturday at 36-21, occupy second place in the American League East, whose members are, like all the children in Lake Woebegone, above average.
Not a single team has a losing record. The Giants, after finally climbing above the .500 mark on May 29, began Saturday looking up at it. With their 4-0 triumph over the Orioles tonight, they once more are on an even plane.
Although Logan Webb, whose bobblehead was tonight’s stadium giveaway, is the putative ace of the Giants’ rotation, Alex Cobb, their starting pitcher for tonight, took the mound with the best won-lost record of the group (4-2) and the second best ERA (3.05).
Only Webbs’ 2.85 was better than that. The club’s Cobb Webb combo is complimented in the bullpen by Camilo Doval, who was named National League Reliever of the Month for May in spite of a mediocre performance against Pittsburgh on the 31st.
Tonight, Cobb improved that already solid record, gaining his fifth win of the season in the process of thorughly dominating the Orioles’ lineup.
His opponent was sophomore right hander Kyle Bradish, sporting a 2-1, 3.89 mark for the seasons. This was his first appearance against the Giants, or against any other NL West team, for that matter. He went 4-7, 4.90 in his rookie year.
His performance tonight was lackluster, lasting only four innings, in which he threw 79 pitches 53 of which counted as strikes. He yielded three runs, all of them earned, on seven hits, a walk, and a wild pitch. His ERA climbed to 4.13, and he was charged with the loss.
The home team took the lead in the third frame. LaMonte Wade, Jr. smacked a one out double against the right field wall and scored on JD Davis’s single to right. Mike Yastrzemski, aided by a clock violation first ball, doubled to right center.
Wilmer Flores singled up the middle to center, driving in Davis and Yastrzemski. Blake Sabol singled to right, putting runners on first and second. It looked for a moment as though Giants would blow the game open, but Aaron Hicks made a leaping catch in front of the Orioles’ bullpen of Haniger’s drive to deep center field.
The inning ended with San Francisco still in front, 3-0, in spite of a wild pitch that advanced the two stranded runners to second and third. On inning later, Wade’s second consecutive double, a two out blast that bounced into the bleachers behind the Visa advertisement in right center, went to waste when Davis fanned.
Keegan Akin relieved Bradish to open the Giants’ fifth. He struck Yazrzemski out looking but yielded a Texas League single to Flores and made an off line throw to second on Sabol’s bouncer to the mound.
The base on balls he issued to Haniger loaded the sacks with Giants, which cost Akin a trip to the showers and brought Bryan Baker out of the pen and into the game to face Casey Schmitt and his .315 batting average. Baker fanned him, keeping the Orioles in striking distance of their hosts.
Walks to Crawford and Wade followed by a fly out to deep right center by Davis that moved Crawford to third brought Cionel Pérez in to pitch for Baltimore and Austin Slater to pinch hit for Yastrzemski in the home sixth.
He came through with a run producing single to center, charged to Baker. He stayed in the game and made a nice diving catch of Austin Hays’s sinking. liner to center in the top of the seventh.
It was Bruce Zimmerman on the hill for Baltimore after the seventh inning stretch. He held the Giants to a single by Bailey.
Ryan O’Hearn doubled to left on Cobb’s 102nd pitch, sending Hicks, who’d gotten to first on an infield single, to third. The Giants challenged the call at second, which was upheld. Cobb retired Jorge Mateo, 1-3, the runners holding, and then left the game.
He’d gone 7-2/3 innings and thrown 103 pitches, only 33 of which were balls. He shut the O’s out on five hits and no walks while striking out seven, bringing his ERA down to 2.71. Scott Alexander got the final out of the inning and gave way to Duval for the top of the ninth.
Camilo Doval – who else? – was called on to face Balitmore’s second, third, and fourth batters in the top of the ninth. Adley Rutschman went down swinging. Anthony Santander grounded out to first. Hays grounded out to second, Doval earned his 15th save in 16 opportunities, and the Giants returned to .500.
The teams will play the rubber game of the series Sunday, afternoon at 1:05. Baltimore will send starboard side starter Tyler Wells (3-2, 3.29) to the mound against San Francisco’s righty Anthony DiScalfani (4-4, 3.48).