Matt Moore implodes, Giants crushed 13-5 at Dodger Stadium
LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 02: Pitcher Matt Moore #45 of the San Francisco Giants wipes his face during a break in action in the second inning of the MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES – Maybe Matt Moore is allergic to May flowers.
Whatever is causing the left-hander to pitch terribly away from home this season, the Giants need to address this road rash sooner rather than later. Moore gave up a career-high nine earned runs Tuesday night, matching the most allowed by any Giants pitcher in Bruce Bochy’s 11 seasons as manager, and their 13-5 loss at Dodger Stadium zapped the good vibes from defeating Clayton Kershaw a night earlier.
Cory Gearrin and Bryan Morris weren’t an improvement as the NL-worst Giants issued nine walks while falling to 10-18 this season. They have fashioned a 40-60 record since the All-Star break last year.
Momentum does not slosh in the canteen when you are in last place. Moore spilled it out, while also wasting an even more precious resource.
The Giants entered the night having scored no more than four runs in any of their last 10 games. So it was a happy wellspring when they met that output in the second inning.
Christian Arroyo and Eduardo Nuñez legged out infield singles against Alex Wood, Nick Hundley drew a walk and two runs scored when Moore’s blooper fell in shallow left field.
Arroyo, waiting to see if the ball would be caught, probably didn’t stray far enough down the third base line. Mistake or not, it ended up working to the Giants’ benefit. Center fielder Kiké Hernandez tried to force Arroyo at the plate, and instead his high throw sailed over the head of catcher Austin Barnes for an error that allowed Nuñez to score.
Brandon Belt followed with a two-run double that he threaded through the shift to cap the Giants’ biggest rally in 139 innings, dating back 16 games to a four-run seventh inning April 14 against the Colorado Rockies.
And the lead didn’t last long enough to choke down a Dodger Dog.
Moore served up a home run to Franklin Gutierrez to begin the second inning, getting toasted for throwing an 0-2 fastball down the middle. Perhaps Moore pitched away from contact or perhaps he had scant notion of where he was throwing the ball. Either way, the Dodgers loaded the bases on two walks and a single before rookie Cody Bellinger emptied them with a triple that he lined down the left field line.
Bellinger is likely to be optioned back to the minors in a few days as the Giants activate some healthy players, but he showed in the first two games of this series why the Dodgers highly prize him. He tore around the bases, slid into third and scored when Wood followed with a single.
Corey Seager doubled to set up a sacrifice fly that capped the six-run inning in which the Dodgers brought 10 batters to the plate.
The Giants chipped back to make it 6-5 in the third when Buster Posey singled, moved up on a pair of productive outs and scored on Joe Panik’s hit up the middle. Moore used a double-play ball to hold his ground in the third.
But the rope slipped again in the fourth. Bellinger put Moore in the stretch again with a leadoff single, and a pair of one-out walks prompted Bochy to collect the baseball.
Gearrin could not rescue Moore’s ERA from the microwave oven. His first pitch plunked Turner to force in a run, and the Dodgers scored another when Gutierrez hit a rocket that Posey snagged with a diving effort but couldn’t hold in his first baseman’s mitt. Posey had to settle for a forceout at second base instead of a lineout-double play. The inning continued, Taylor walked, Puig hit a two-run single and the Dodgers batted around for a second time.
The Giants pitching staff has allowed an opponent to bat around eight times this season, one more than the Colorado Rockies for the most in the major leagues.
Morris wasn’t any better. The Dodgers scored three runs against him in the sixth inning, with Puig lining another two-run single to complete a four-RBI night.
Moore has a 3.05 ERA in three starts at home, but he has a 12.79 ERA in three road starts – all against NL West rivals, in ballparks where he figures to appear multiple times later this season. He has allowed 23 hits in 12 2/2 innings at Chase Field, Coors Field and Dodger Stadium while walking eight and striking out 10.
Moore’s nine runs Tuesday matched the most allowed by a Giants starter since Barry Zito in 2013. Zito and Matt Cain each had a pair of starts in which they allowed nine earned runs. The last Giants pitcher to be charged with 10 earned runs in a start was Russ Ortiz in 2000.
The most confounding part: Moore held this same Dodgers club to a run on two hits in seven innings in his start Thursday at AT&T Park.