Bochy, Belt get tossed; Giants drop series finale
At the beginning of the week, manager Bruce Bochy spoke about savoring his time during his final visit to the nation’s capital as the San Francisco Giants manager.
Bochy, however, did not make it to the end of Thursday’s 4-2 loss in the Giants’ series-finale against the Washington Nationals. Neither did his starting left fielder, Brandon Belt.
Home plate umpire Ryan Additon ejected Bochy during the top of the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes after Additon called Belt out on a pitch that missed the zone off the outside corner.
“That zone was too big,” Bochy said. “Belt had no chance. Even the two before that, they were close, but it got wider there, and that’s enough. Come on.”
Belt lasted two more innings, but when Additon rang him up on strikes again in the seventh, the Giants’ cleanup hitter flung his helmet into the ground and was immediately tossed from the game. Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens, third base coach Ron Wotus and first base coach Jose Alguacil all darted toward home plate following Belt’s ejection to prevent further confrontation between their hitter and Additon, who drew the ire of the visiting players throughout Thursday’s game.
“As big leaguers, we make adjustments. He’s got to do the same thing,” Belt said. “We put too much into this game to go out there and just have at-bats taken away. That’s a tough pill to swallow. He had called way too many pitches off the plate.”
The ejection was the first of the year for Bochy, the 42nd of his Giants career and his 75th in 25 seasons as a major-league manager.
The Giants brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the top of the ninth inning, but Nationals closer Sean Doolittle stranded a pair of runners to send San Francisco to its fifth series loss in six tries.
“We’ve got to find a way to get things going early again,” Bochy said. “That’s our issue. You love the way we’re coming back and fighting and whatever, but it would be nice like that first game to get some early runs.”
Additon’s strike zone was expansive in Thursday’s series finale, but Nationals starter Patrick Corbin likely would have had little trouble mowing through the Giants lineup anyway. No team was happier to see Corbin leave the National League West and sign a six-year deal with Washington in the offseason than the Giants, who faced the left-hander six times last year and struggled miserably in nearly every outing against a pitcher who lives on the corners.
“When he’s getting those, he’s really tough,” Belt said. “When you start expanding off the plate to the point as baseball players, we think it’s not even close. In a game of centimeters, when you’re off by an inch or two, it’s not close. It’s tough.”
Corbin was in top form throughout Thursday’s game as he faced the minimum through four innings and gave up just one run in 7 2⁄3 innings. After Evan Longoria broke up a no-hit bid by Colorado Rockies right-hander German Marquez in a shutout loss Sunday, it was Longoria who recorded the Giants’ first hit Thursday and first run as he came home from second on an Erik Kratz eighth-inning double after reaching on a hit by pitch.
Corbin out-pitched Giants left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who lasted just 4 2⁄3 innings and allowed 3 all four runs he surrendered to score with two outs. Pomeranz has yet to log more than five innings this year, and his 4.82 ERA is the highest of any Giants starter.
San Francisco Giants' Brandon Belt, second from the right, argues with home plate umpire Ryan Additon (67) after he was called out on strikes during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Thursday in Washington. Belt was ejected. Giants first base coach Jose Alguacil (17) looks on.