A quality start in Ryan Vogelsong’s return and a late-game rally were overshadowed by missed opportunities as the San Francisco Giants fell 5-2 to the Baltimore Orioles in ten innings on Friday night.
It was the first start after 69 games for Vogelsong, who made his return after recovering from a fractured right hand. The Giants’ starter labeled Friday’s quality start as “okay.”
“I felt like my tempo was in and out early but I felt like I got better as the game went on,” he said. “The fatigue set in a little bit and I was able to slow myself down a little bit easier.”
Vogelsong threw 103 pitches through six innings, walking three and striking out four. He gave up just two runs on six hits, including a mistake that turned into a home run from J.J. Hardy. The mistakes and adrenaline all came in the first three innings. From there, Vogelsong settled in, retiring nine of the next ten batters he faced.
“He really started hitting his spots well and did a great job,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “He gave us a chance to win the game and we just couldn’t finish it.”
Vogelsong’s opponent threw a career-high nine strikeouts against the Giants on Friday. Chris Tillman struck out five straight between the second and third innings and gave up just one run through eight innings. He allowed just four hits and walked one.
“We faced a tough guy today. There’s a reason his record is what it is,” said Bochy.
The Giants’ offense continued to be next to nonexistent, with just four hits and one run through eight innings against Tillman. It wasn’t until the sixth that San Francisco showed any offensive spark, thanks to home run No. 13 from Brandon Belt.
The homer marked Belt’s second blast in as many games. The Giants’ No. 3 hitter went 2-for-4 with a single off Jim Johnson that turned into a ninth-inning run to send the game into extras.
The one run extended the game, but missed opportunities made the efforts futile. In spite of the Giants getting two on with no out, Belt was the lone runner to cross the plate that inning after Roger Kieschnick struck out for the third time and Gregor Blanco lined out softly to second.
In the tenth, two outs and a runner on second led to Javier Lopez intentionally walking Adam Jones to face Chris Davis, also known as the home run leader who is crushing everything in sight. Davis’ quiet night quickly changed with a two-run double to center field. Davis was then knocked in by Matt Wieters, giving the Orioles a three-run lead, and eventually the win.
When asked about the questionable decision to let Lopez face Davis instead of bringing in Sergio Romo to take on Jones, Bochy stuck by his choice.
“I got a guy who’s throwing the ball very well, and instead of having to go to Romo at that point, you had a matchup you like instead of burning another pitcher,” said Bochy. “The way Lopez is throwing, I had the right guy out there in the matchup.”
Tomorrow, Chad Gaudin will take on Wei-Yin Chen as the Giants take on the Orioles in Game Two of this weekend series. First pitch at 1:05pm.