LOS ANGELES — A taxed Giants bullpen was asked to cover every inning against the Dodgers on Tuesday night with Alex Wood on the injured list, but all it took was a blip from one reliever to snap San Francisco’s four-game win streak.
Lewis Brinson gave San Francisco a lead on the first pitch of the game with his third home run in two games, but Jarlín García coughed it up the next inning, and the Giants were never able to climb out of that hole in a 6-3 loss.
Here are some takeaways.
Jarlín’s troubles: So dominant to start the season that he etched his name in the franchise record books, Jarlín García has had a rough go of it since finally allowing his first runs of the season on June 1.
Tagged for two home runs and five earned runs over 1⅔ innings between the second and the third Tuesday night, García’s ERA since that outing in Philadelphia increased to 5.15.
García reeled off 22 straight appearances without allowing an earned run, tying a franchise record, but that streak was snapped when he allowed two homers in a loss to the Phillies on June 1, and ever since has been the Giants’ most homer-prone reliever.
García relieved opener John Brebbia to start the second inning and proceeded to put the first two batters he faced on base, allowing a leadoff double to Max Muncy and walking Justin Turner. García then fell into a 3-1 hole against Joey Gallo, and he made him pay, punishing a middle-middle fastball for a three-run homer that gave the Dodgers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“When he falls behind, he’s just not an effective major-league reliever,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “When he gets ahead and is very aggressive and assertive with his fastball early in counts, he’s one of the better left-handed relievers around the game.”
Despite the location of the pitch, García said he thought he threw a “very good” fastball.
“He put a good swing on it and there was nothing I could do about it,” García said through Spanish-language translator Erwin Higueros. “I came out as I always do, tried to compete and do the same thing I do every single day, but today was not a good day. That’s how it is sometimes. You have good days and you have bad days, but I know the next time I come out I’m going to do better.”
Max Muncy, who also doubled off García to open the second, made it 5-1 in the third with his first of two home runs, which knocked García from the game. It was the ninth home run García has allowed this season — all since June 1 — two more than any other reliever on the team.
Still, García took the best ERA in the bullpen besides Camilo Doval into Tuesday night’s contest. But his outing raised his overall mark this season from 2.77 to 3.52, trading places in the bullpen ranking with John Brebbia.
Brebbia, who tossed one shutout inning as the opener, lowered his ERA to 2.98 while making his major-league leading 64th appearance.
The Giants hoped to get through five innings with García, Tyler Rogers and Brebbia, Kapler said, “but it doesn’t always work out that way.”
With García failing to escape the third inning, the Giants asked Rogers to shoulder the load, and he didn’t allow a run over 2⅓ innings.
Muncy tagged Dominic Leone for his second home run of the night, a solo shot to lead off the sixth, that padded the Dodgers’ lead, making the score 6-3.
The Giants fell to 5-6 in bullpen games this season.
Asked to evaluate their performance in bullpen games, Kapler compared it to García’s season.
“Up and down,” Kapler said. “Some good, some not so good.”
Have a series, Lewis: Although the Giants would give it up it for good in the second inning, it took only one pitch for leadoff man Lewis Brinson to give them a lead Tuesday night.
On the first pitch of the game from Los Angeles starter Tyler Anderson, Brinson unleashed a 400-foot home run into the left-field bleachers, his third homer in two games here. In Brinson’s 13th career game as a leadoff hitter, not only was the homer his first to start a game but his first leadoff hit of any kind.
It’s hard to imagine a better introduction to the Giants fanbase than three home runs at Dodger Stadium. Within his first week with the Giants, Brinson became the first San Francisco player since Hunter Pence in 2013 to slug three homers in a two-game span against their archrivals.
More impressive: all three have gone to different parts of the ballpark.
All three have also come against left-handed pitchers, against whom Brinson’s career OPS is 200 points higher than it is without the platoon advantage. His homer Tuesday night was his 14th career shot against a lefty, equaling his career total against right-handers in half the number of at-bats.
“He’s gotten the ball in the air, and he’s got a ton of power,” Kapler said. “Over the course of his career, he’s been a quality major-leaguer against left-handed pitching. Tonight, he got a good pitch to hit and put it in the seats.”
All 10 of the homer-happy Giants’ runs through the first two games of this series have come via the long ball.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford cut the deficit to 5-3 in the sixth, hooking a towering two-run home run down the right field line — the Giants’ seventh homer in two games but also the last damage they would do Tuesday night.
NL West woes: After going 10-9 against the Dodgers last year as the two clubs battled to the finish line, it has been a different story this season. The loss dropped the Giants to 4-11 against Los Angeles.
The Giants have a winning record against only one NL West opponent — the Rockies — and fell to 21-35 against divisional opponents, with 21 losses in their past 26 games. Their .375 winning percentage would rank as the third-lowest against divisional opponents in franchise history, though 20 of their final 28 games left are against NL West foes.
Their deficit to the Dodgers increased back to 27.5 games, and their elimination number dropped to one. A loss in the series finale Wednesday afternoon would mathematically end their chances of catching the Dodgers.