VISALIA, CA - San Jose's season-high losing streak hit five games with a series-opening 5-1 defeat to the Visalia Rawhide on Tuesday evening at Recreation Park. The Giants (15-24) late comeback effort was thwarted by the Rawhide bullpen as San Jose left seven runners on base, including five in scoring position, over the final three innings.
Heath Quinn (2-for-4, 2B) had two of the Giants' five hits to lead the way offensively in the loss.
Trailing 2-1, San Jose put runners on second and third with none out in the top of the seventh inning, but were unable to score. Facing Visalia starting pitcher Joel Payamps, the inning began with Aramis Garcia belting a double to deep left center field. Dillon Dobson was up next and he hit a sharp grounder that skipped past shortstop Sergio Alcantara and into left center. Garcia, the potential tying run, was only able to advance to third on the play while Dobson hustled into second with another double. The next three Giants hitters though were retired with the runners stranded as Quinn struck out swinging before new pitcher Kirby Bellow induced Gio Brusa to pop out and then set down Matt Winn on a groundout to end the inning.
The Rawhide pushed their lead to 3-1 with a run in the bottom of the seventh as Matt McPhearson doubled with one out against San Jose reliever Heath Slatton. A wild pitch then advanced McPhearson to third before Alcantara grounded a two-out single into right plating the run.
The Giants again threatened in the top of the eighth as Jalen Miller drew a one-out walk before Bryan Reynolds walked with two down to put the tying run on base. Bellow though settled down and retired Garcia on a groundout to second for the third out of the frame.
In the bottom of the eighth, Visalia's Grant Heyman crushed a two-out, two-run home run to deep center off of Slatton (2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) to stretch the Rawhide lead to 5-1. The homer was Heyman's team-leading sixth of the season.
In the top of the ninth, San Jose loaded the bases with one out against Visalia closer Bud Jeter, but again came away with nothing. A one-out single from Quinn was followed by a double to deep left center off the bat of Brusa. Winn then drew a walk to load the bases and bring the potential tying run to the plate. Jeter came back, however, with a strikeout of Howard before Miller flied out to shallow right ending the game.
Payamps (3-0) earned the win after tossing 6 1/3 innings with just one run and three hits allowed. He walked one and struck out six. Payamps did not allow a hit until the top of the fifth.
The Rawhide took an early 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third against Giants starter Conner Menez. Galli Cribbs was hit by a pitch to start the inning before McPhearson reached on a bunt single. Menez then walked Matt Jones to load the bases with none out. Alcantara was up next and he grounded into a double play with Cribbs scoring on the play to make it 1-0. Marty Herum followed with a two-out single up the middle plating McPhearson for a 2-0 Visalia advantage.
San Jose's only run against Payamps came in the top of the fifth as Dobson drew a leadoff walk before Quinn doubled down the left field line to put runners at second and third. After Brusa popped out, Winn delivered a sacrifice fly to score Dobson bringing the Giants to within 2-1. Payamps though limited the damage in the inning when he retired Howard on a fly out to center stranding Quinn, the possible tying run, at second.
Menez (2-2) was saddled with the loss despite matching a season-high with six innings pitched. The left-hander was charged with two runs (both earned). Menez allowed six hits, walked one and struck out five during his 96-pitch outing. Menez retired eight straight Rawhide hitters at one point during his start from the third through the sixth innings.
* Visalia out-hit San Jose 9-5.
* The Giants finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base.
* Quinn is 3-for-8 (.375 AVG) with two doubles in his first two games this season with San Jose.
* San Francisco Giants infielder Aaron Hill went 0-for-4 at the plate with three strikeouts in the first game of his rehabilitation assignment.
* The Giants have lost seven out of their last eight games. San Jose is averaging only 2.4 runs per game during the stretch.
* Menez's outing was only the eighth time in the first 39 games this season that a Giants starting pitcher worked past the fifth inning.
The Giants and Rawhide continue their three-game series on Wednesday evening with first pitch at Recreation Park scheduled for 6:00 PM. Mike Connolly (3-3, 1.78 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Visalia is expected to counter with Jose Almonte (2-3, 4.78 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 5:40 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.