On yesterday’s clear and sunny Wednesday afternoon, the San Francisco Giants played in front of a sold-out crowd for their sixtieth straight home game in a row.
But even the 42,000-plus fans in the bleachers couldn’t ignite the recently gone-limp bats of the 2010 world champs. The Giants lost the matinee by a lopsided score of 9-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team who before arriving in the Bay had lost 10 games in a row.
There was no joy for Giants fans -- until the evening’s post-game special event, that is.
But first, the game itself. Starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez continued to struggle to find his rhythm since returning from the disabled list on August 1 (he had tendinitis in his left bicep). Sanchez only pitched four and one-third innings, giving up five runs and four earned runs and allowing four walks in the mere four innings he pitched.
“I don’t think it was a very good outing, to be honest,” said Giants skipper Bruce Bochy at the post-game press conference. "[Sanchez] hurt himself. The pitcher sets the tone for the game and it wasn’t a very good one today for him.”
This was an abysmal home showing for the defending champs. In the last 10-game stretch, the Giants have produced a losing record of 3-7, ceding three straight series in a row to the Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, and as of yesterday, the Pittsburgh Pirates. The last time the Giants did that was in May of 2008.
The team’s even lost its first place spot in the National League West Division to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who beat the Astros Tuesday night.
The Giants’ struggles can easily be credited to the lackluster performances displayed by the team’s offense. It’s a problem that Bochy is having issues resolving. “I wish I had an easy answer for that, they just have to get it going (offensively) -- I don’t know how else really to say it. We had our chances to get back in the game. You keep going out there and working on it,” said Bochy
The team was missing its key trade deadline acquisition Carlos Beltran, who did not play for the third straight game due to a strained wrist, which he suffered during Sunday’s game against the Phillies. Outfielder Nate Schierholtz also did not play in Wednesday’s game.
But with all the offensive vacancies, Bochy says that he will not alter the lineup for Friday’s series opener against the Florida opener. “This is our club; we’ve got guys that have been around. They’ve got to figure it out,” said Bochy. Friday marks the start of a 10-game road trip for the G-men. The team will make crucial stops in Atlanta, Florida, and Houston.
Said Bochy, “When you’re in something like this you think, gosh are we going to come out of it? And we will, and I think our offense will as well.”
But the day was not entirely ruined by baseball. After the game, bases and ground chalk were traded in for giant inflatable slides and tents. The ninth annual Giants slumber party was held Wednesday evening -- sold-out, as always -- right inside AT&T Park.
Friends and families filed onto the makeshift campground immediately after the game ended, unloading tents, sleeping bags, flashlights, and teddy bears for the night’s festivities.
They got to participate in a scavenger hunt throughout the stadium, they rambled through the dugouts, they scored autographed paraphernalia, and kids and parents settled down with a screening of Despicable Me projected on the ginormous high definition scoreboard.
All in all, not your average backyard overnighter -- $200 per person (including a ticket to the game) has a way of putting AT&T Park in a whole different light. But how can you put a pricetag on home team happiness?