April 13, 2024
Capping a 4-for-4 performance, Rosario homered on the first pitch he saw from Tyler Rogers in the 8th inning, sending SF to its 10th loss in 13 games.

ATLANTA — The Giants’ bats came alive, Logan Webb left with a lead, and it still wasn’t enough Saturday night.

In a devastating 6-5 defeat to the MLB-best Atlanta Braves, the Giants trailed for all of four outs — the final four.

Capping a 4-for-4 performance, Eddie Rosario attacked a first-pitch sinker from Tyler Rogers with two outs in the eighth inning and sent it over the center field wall for a go-ahead two-run home run, measured at an estimated 441 feet.

Answering to chants of “Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!” Rosario emerged from the first-base dugout to take a curtain call for his game-deciding hit and received more adoring chants from the sold-out crowd of 42,744 as he took the field for the top of the ninth.

“When he’s hot, he’s as hot as anybody,” manager Gabe Kapler said of Rosario. “It’s not just this season; we’ve seen that many times. It’s why you have 45,000 people chanting his name.”

The home run erased a gritty effort from Logan Webb, who completed six innings while holding Atlanta’s dangerous lineup to four runs, and a rare strong night from their lineup, which produced 11 hits, tied for their most in a game since June 23.

“It’s really one of the tougher losses of the year,” said Webb, who left after six innings with a 5-4 lead. “It just sucks. I thought our guys did a great job playing defense. They made a bunch of good plays. We were hitting. I’ve gotta do a better job. I know that. It sucks. Not a fun day today.”

Despite Atlanta’s hitters attacking the first pitch — Ronald Acuña Jr. tied the game at 4 on a first-pitch changeup from Webb he sent into the right-field seats, and all of the first three batters before Rosario in the eighth swung and missed at first-pitch strikes — Rogers said he was trying to get ahead of Rosario with an early fastball. Unlike Webb’s low-and-away offspeed to Acuña, the location of this one left little to be desired.

Entering in the seventh, Rogers worked a 1-2-3 first inning and retired the first two Braves he faced in the eighth. But Marcell Ozuna poked his third single of the game into center field, bringing up Rosario, who had yet to make an out. Rogers left an 83 mph sinker over the middle of the plate, and Rosario took advantage. It was the first home run Rogers has allowed to a left-handed hitter all season.

“It wasn’t even a thought in my head that that might happen,” Rogers said. “I was trying to get ahead. I was happy with the pitch selection. Still am. Both pitches felt really good tonight. … To be honest with you I’m not even going to look at it.”

The Giants’ slide continued, losing for their 10th time in their past 13 games, dropping them only five games above .500 and in increasingly precarious playoff position. They have won just one of their past 13 games away from Oracle Park, dating back to July 19.

“Sometimes it’s even more disappointing and challenging when you play really good baseball and you end up losing the game,” Kapler said. “I would say this falls into that category. … I did think it was probably the day we’ve swung the bats best in a while.”

Before the omniscient voice in the press box could announce the time and weather conditions at first pitch — 7:22 local, 87 degrees — LaMonte Wade Jr. had launched it over the right-field wall, his third leadoff homer of the season and the sixth time a Giant has ever homered on the first pitch of the game.

The two clubs went back and forth from there.

With Wade’s homer setting the tone, the Giants led off three of the next five innings with hits and, in a marked improvement from their recent play, were able to capitalize each time. They led 1-0 after the first, 2-0 after the top of the second, 4-2 after batting in the fourth and 5-4 after their turn in the sixth inning.

J.D. Davis and Michael Conforto each finished with a pair hits and scored a run, while Blake Sabol broke out of a cold-snap with two hits, as well.

“I thought J.D. took some of the best swings we’ve seen him take in a really long time,” Kapler said. “Obviously LaMonte leading off the game with the home run and having a good at-bat against a lefty. Conforto had a base hit against a lefty. … Unfortunately that wasn’t enough.”

Davis led off the second with a double, advanced to third on a single from Sabol and scored on a ground ball out from Johan Camargo. Conforto started the sixth with the first of three straight singles, loading the bases for Camargo, who again bounced one to second base that turned into a run-scoring double play.

Conforto also scored on a sac fly from Davis in a two-run fourth that was started by a single from Joc Pederson. Over his past seven games, Conforto has recorded multiple hits in five of them and is batting .478 (11-for-23) with three of those hits going for extra bases.

But the Braves showed Webb why they have scored the most runs in baseball, answering almost every time — and in the eighth against Rogers, one final time.

Webb completed six innings but allowed four runs, all earned, only the eighth time in 26 starts that he hasn’t recorded a quality start (his 18 are tied with Gerrit Cole for the MLB lead).

His sinker was particularly lethal, using it to freeze four batters for strike three — all five of his strikeouts came looking — but allowed Atlanta to pepper nine hits, tying the score at 2 in the second and pulling even again at 4 with runs in the fourth and the fifth.

“There were just too many pitches left over the plate,” Webb said. “Pretty damn good lineup over there, so for a pitcher, you’ve gotta know you can’t leave (stuff) over the plate and hope it goes well. I didn’t do a good job of that.”

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Acuña unloaded on Webb’s first pitch of the fifth inning. It was a well-located changeup, down and away, but the National League MVP front-runner spanked it over the right-field wall to tie the score at 4.

“He’s one of if not the best player in baseball,” Webb said. “You’ve just got to tip your cap to him. I threw it where I wanted to, but he’s pretty good.”

The Giants will start Jakob Junis on Sunday, seeking to avoid a sweep. They hold just a half-game lead in the wild card standings on the Cubs, Reds and Marlins, with the D-backs just a half-game back of them and leading in the second game of their double-header Saturday evening when this story published.

“It’s baseball, man. It’s a tricky game,” Kapler said. “These are very challenging games to win. We’ve gotta find a way to win them.”

Notable

LaMonte Wade Jr. exited the game in the seventh inning after cramping up while swinging on a single. While Wade has dealt with nagging side soreness since mid-June, Kapler said this occurred in his upper lat. He was replaced by pinch-runner Casey Schmitt, who was called up from Triple-A Sacramento.

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