May 30, 2024
Giants relievers allowed four runs in a 6-3 loss, more than they had in four previous games this road trip.

MIAMI — The Giants’ relief corps, maligned for the season’s opening week, had started to turn things around on this road trip. That is, until Jordan Hicks exited his start Tuesday, handing off a tied game to Ryan Walker to begin the bottom of the sixth.

The score didn’t stay even for long.

Walker lived up to his last name, and Taylor Rogers wasn’t much more effective. The relief duo allowed the Marlins to score three runs in the seventh inning, which put the game out of reach for the Giants in a 6-3 loss in front of another sparse crowd at loanDepot Park.

Brought in to face the left-handed Luis Arraez with the bases loaded and one run already in, Rogers got ahead 0-1, then fired a 93-mph fastball. The former batting champ laced the pitch into left field, and Tim Anderson scored easily from third base. Right behind him was the first of Walker’s two free passes, Emmanuel Rivera.

The three runs in the sixth amounted to as many as the bullpen had allowed in 12 innings of work over the first four games of this trip, a 2.25 ERA. Nick Avila allowed Miami to tack on one more in the seventh, negating LaMonte Wade Jr.’s RBI single in the top half of the inning.

Dating back to the previous 10 contests, the group had limited opponents to a .204 batting average and a .597 OPS for a 2.90 ERA, the fifth-best in the majors, compared to its 7.46 ERA over the first seven games of the season.

A ground rule double from Nick Ahmed gave the Giants runners at second and third with nobody out in the seventh, and Wade delivered one timely hit with a pinch-hit knock the opposite way, but the Giants’ best and last scoring chance was snuffed out by an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play from the next batter, Wilmer Flores.

The pinch-hit single from Wade extended his on-base streak to 12 games — he’s reached safely in 16 of the 18 contests he’s played — and raised his on-base percentage to .481, second only to the Nationals’ Jesse Winker for the MLB lead. He’s also batting .386, trailing only the Astros’ Jose Altuve.

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Matt Chapman broke out of his funk in a big way, launching a 428-foot solo home run to center field that opened a 1-0 lead in the second, later adding a two-out double in the fourth. He had been 6-for-43 with 12 strikeouts over his previous 11 games.

However, the Giants were mostly flailing against Ryan Weathers, who became the second straight Marlins starter to fan 10, after nobody on the team had done so through their first 16 games. The Giants have struck out 25 times to start the series, their most in consecutive games since last September.

The loss was the first the Giants have taken in four starts by Hicks, who didn’t factor into the decision.

Hicks’ improved command has helped him in his transition to the rotation, allowing only two earned runs in 18 innings over his first three starts, but he didn’t have it against the Marlins. Only half of his 86 pitches found the strike zone, and the Marlins tagged him for two runs — both in the fourth inning — raising his ERA to 1.57.