What we learned as Giants go down quietly vs. Ohtani, Angels

What we learned as Giants go down quietly vs. Ohtani, Angels originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO — The highly anticipated matchup with Shohei Ohtani ended up being just more of the same for the struggling Giants.

The lineup left 10 on base as the Giants lost 4-1 to the Los Angeles Angels, dropping yet another series on the road. The Giants have lost 10 of their last 11 road games and went 1-4 against the last-place A’s and an Angels team that had lost seven straight before Tuesday’s game.

The Giants struck first, taking the lead on a mistake by Ohtani’s catcher. With one out in the second, Matt Thaiss tried to back-pick Michael Conforto at second base for some reason and his throw bounced off Conforto and into right field. Both runners advanced, and that allowed Conforto to score on Brandon Crawford’s flyball to right field.

Ohtani was wild, but the Giants wouldn’t score another run off the right-hander/designated hitter. In the sixth, after he had thrown 97 pitches, Ohtani was involved in a four-run Angels rally.

Luis Rengifo led off with a double and the Giants held up four fingers for Ohtani, putting two on for the heart of the lineup. Brandon Drury singled to left and Joc Pederson over-ran the ball, allowing Rengifo to score without a throw. The next batter broke it open. Tristan Beck has been excellent as a rookie, but he hung a slider to Mike Moustakas and the veteran crushed a three-run blast to right.

The Giants responded by loading the bases in the top of the seventh, but Thairo Estrada ended the threat with a groundout to short. An error brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but again the Giants fell short.

Sho Time

Ohtani faced the Giants as a pitcher for the second time,┬ájust about repeating his box score line. Back in 2021, he allowed one run on six hits over six innings, striking out nine and walking two. On Wednesday, he again went six innings and allowed one run — although it was unearned this time. Ohtani struck out five, walked three and allowed just three hits. He extended his streak to 19 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run.

Ohtani also batted second. He struck out in his first two at-bats and in the sixth was intentionally walked for the second time in two days. The Giants had issued just 14 of them in their previous 113 games. In the eighth, Ohtani drew a walk off Beck.

The “featured guy” on Wednesday certainly pitched like the main attraction. Sean Manaea took over for Ryan Walker in the second and took the lead into the sixth, allowing one run and one hit in four-plus innings. He struck out the side in the fourth and finished with six strikeouts.

Over his last five appearances, Manaea has allowed just one run and four hits over 11 2/3 innings. He has 14 strikeouts to just two walks during the stretch. Manaea has certainly taken to the bullpen role, although this appearance showed one of the flaws in the plan.

Manaea was pulled at just 61 pitches despite the dominance. He was pitching for the fourth time in nine days this month and the Giants couldn’t stretch him out.

Walk The Walk

The opener stole the show early on and also wiggled out of a jam. Walker struck out three of the five batters he faced in the first, with the final one stranding two runners in scoring position. The rookie put Ohtani in his book, blowing 95 mph past him for the first strikeout.

Walker lowered his ERA to 2.45 overall and 2.77 in eight starts. He has 44 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings.

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