SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have rarely lost when wearing their creamsicle-colored City Connect jerseys, and losses have been even fewer and further between no matter what they’ve been wearing over the past two weeks. But neither their lucky jerseys or the power of momentum could prevent a 2-1 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday.
Here are some takeaways
No City Connect magic
A day after a 14-run explosion, the Giants’ bats went quiet. They did not lack opportunities against erratic Pirates starter Johan Oviedo, who walked as many batters (five) as he struck out.
Michael Conforto delivered an RBI single after back-to-back walks to Mike Yastrzemski and J.D. Davis in the first, but the Giants were unable to repeat the winning formula. Yastrzemski and Davis drew consecutive free passes again with only one out in the third but were left stranded, and Blake Sabol fell victim to the same fate after drawing a leadoff walk in the second.
All in all, the Giants took ball four seven times Tuesday night, their fourth-most walks drawn in a game this season. However, they lost for only the second time in six games when walking at least six times.
The Giants went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base, including two in the fifth, after Davis’ third walk of the game and the Giants’ only extra-base hit, a double from LaMonte Wade Jr. The inning ended when Mitch Haniger grounded out to third, his third time in the game making the final out of an inning with runners in scoring position.
It was times like those that the Giants have seemingly always come through on Tuesday night home games, when they’re wearing the City Connect jerseys. Since being introduced in 2021, the uniforms have taken on a special aura, but their loss Tuesday dropped them to 21-8 when wearing them.
Not so happy birthday
The Giants continued to attack Sean Manaea’s rotation slot with a by-committee approach, which meant that John Brebbia received a special treat for his 33rd birthday: a chance to open for the third time this season and the 15th time in his career, a task he takes on so often because he happily volunteers.
He has been supremely effective in the role, making Gabe Kapler’s choice even easier.
However, former Giant Connor Joe had other plans for Brebbia’s special day.
After retiring the first two Pirates hitters, Brebbia served up a solo shot to Joe that carried over the left-field wall and opened the scoring. It was only the second time Brebbia has allowed a run in the first inning, raising his ERA as an opener from 0.63 to 1.20.
While Manaea was credited with an unearned run in the fifth — snapping a modest two-game scoreless streak — he continued his stretch of strong pitching since moving to the bullpen. He finished off the first inning by sneaking a 95 mph four-seamer past Jack Suwinski for his first of three strikeouts and scattered four hits while making it through four innings before handing off to Ryan Walker, Scott Alexander, Jakob Junis and Taylor Rogers.
The Giants fell to 9-6 all-time in games started by Brebbia and 3-2 this season in bullpen games.
Blocking the plate, slinging the rock
The one run the Pirates scored in the fifth inning proved to be decisive, but all it took was a two-play sequence that ended the inning for rookie catcher Patrick Bailey to show off why he is so highly regarded defensively. He could claim sole responsibility for the final two outs the Giants recorded in the frame.
Expertly impeding Jason Delay’s slide by out-stretching his shin guard — apparently not in violation of MLB’s clear path rules — Bailey recorded the second out of the inning and prevented a run, receiving the throw from LaMonte Wade Jr. and laying a tag on the runner just as Delay’s foot hit the road block laid by Bailey.
Bailey quickly ended the inning a batter later, slinging a sidearm back-pick right back to Wade at first, where he caught Josh Palacios sleeping. Palacios, who reached on the fielder’s choice that resulted in the previous out at the plate, was called out to end the inning.
The one run — when Manaea spiked a breaking ball that snuck past Bailey — went down as unearned, after an error by Mitch Haniger in left field gave Pittsburgh runners at second and third with one out. But thanks to Bailey, that was all the Pirates would get in the inning.