Giants’ chance to achieve rare road feat ruined by bullpen struggles

San Francisco Giants rookie Shaun Anderson recovered from a tough first inning, but took a no-decision against the Mets

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 06: Shaun Anderson #64 of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the third inning of the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on June 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 06: Mike Yastrzemski #5 of the San Francisco Giants slides into second but is out on a double play during the third inning of the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on June 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 06: Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants rounds second base after hitting a home run during the fourth inning of the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on June 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 06: Michael Conforto #30 of the New York Mets slides into second but is tagged out by Joe Panik #12 of the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of the game at Citi Field on June 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 06: Jeff McNeil #6 watches the ball after hitting an RBI single during the seventh inning of the game at Citi Field against the San Francisco Giants on June 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 06: Shaun Anderson #64 of the San Francisco Giants is pulled from the mound during the seventh inning of the game at Citi Field against the New York Mets on June 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 06: Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets slides into second but is out by Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of the game at Citi Field on June 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 06: Mark Melancon #41 of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the eighth inning of the game at Citi Field against the New York Mets on June 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 06: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants hits a home run during the sixth inning of the game at Citi Field against the New York Mets on June 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 06: Shawon Dunston #21 of the San Francisco Giants argues with the umpire during the fifth inning of the game at Citi Field against the New York Mets on June 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 06: Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants hits a home run during the third inning of the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on June 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK — A late-inning collapse clinching another series loss on Thursday required what Bruce Bochy terms, “buzzard’s luck,” but the Giants’ results away from Oracle Park can’t all be attributed to misfortune.

A Tuesday win afford the Giants two chances to secure their first winning road trip of at least nine games since 2014, but a Wednesday blowout and Thursday’s 7-3 loss to the Mets at Citi Field will extend the drought to at least August.

“You’re hoping to do a lot better,” Bochy said after a 4-5 trip. “There’s no getting around that.”

The Giants (25-36) have traveled on 13 road trips of at least nine games since going 7-2 between May 2-11, 2014, and their most recent was the latest example of the club’s tremendous struggles away from home.

San Francisco lost twice to the last-place Marlins, coughed up a five-run lead against the cellar-dwelling Orioles and suffered two more defeats to a sub-.500 Mets club. The Giants held a 3-2 advantage in the seventh-inning of Thursday’s series finale, but couldn’t close out a win on a day the offense produced just three hits.

“We were close, we were nine outs away,” Bochy said. “We just didn’t do much with the bats.”

Since the start of the 2017 season, the Giants are 72-123 (.369) on the road. They’ve played close to .500 (15-18) ball on the road this year, but dropped back-to-back games to end another lengthy and frustrating venture to the East Coast.

A seventh-inning leadoff walk from starter Shaun Anderson and a pair of softly hit singles against Reyes Moronta allowed the Mets to tie the game 3-3 in the seventh. Neither Tomas Nido’s infield hit or Jeff McNeil’s blooper on the 10th pitch of his at-bat produced exit velocities above 65 miles per hour, but a couple of well-placed singles reminded the Giants that sometimes, you make your own luck.

“It goes without saying, you can’t walk the leadoff guy,” Anderson said.

After Mark Melancon allowed a leadoff single in the eighth, he induced a line drive that nearly turned into a double play. Instead, first baseman Brandon Belt couldn’t catch the 103-mile per hour shot cleanly, giving third baseman Todd Frazier a chance to hit with a runner on base.

Behind in the count, Melancon threw Frazier a 2-1 curveball that he hit over the left center field fence for the go-ahead, decisive two-run homer.

“He golfed it out,” Bochy said. “He can do that on that low pitch. He’s a pretty good hitter, it just carried out. I thought it was a flyball and I was surprised at how far it went.”

Melancon gave up two more runs later in the inning, leading to a four-run loss for the Giants. Despite the late hiccups from the Giants bullpen, the club learned quite a bit about the resilience of its rookie starter.

Anderson’s outing began on a disastrous note as he became the first Giants starter in 25 years to surrender back-to-back home runs to open a game. Mets leadoff hitter Amed Rosario and left fielder Dom Smith hit solo home runs to start the bottom of the first, making Anderson the first Giants pitcher to suffer that way since Bud Black gave up consecutive homers at the beginning of a start against the Reds on August 3, 1994.

Over the next five innings, the Mets didn’t score again.

“I just figured that was all they were going to get,” Anderson said. “I just kind of gathered myself, knew I needed to locate the ball and locked it in after that.”

Anderson finished with three earned runs in six innings as he recorded his second straight quality start. He’s still learning how to pitch to major league hitters each time he takes the mound, but his ultra-competitive demeanor has given the Giants confidence he can be an asset to future rotations.

“That’s what you love about him,” Bochy said. “He doesn’t get unraveled, he competes really well and came back after that first inning and really settled down. He didn’t look fazed by anything.”

The Giants finished with just three hits against their 2009 first round draft choice, Zack Wheeler, but two of those were home runs. Brandon Belt launched his team-leading ninth home run of the year out to left center field in the fourth inning before Pablo Sandoval crushed his eighth homer to give the Giants a 3-2 lead in the sixth.

Sandoval’s solo shot marked his fifth home run of at least 400 feet this season as his 438-foot blast was the second-farthest home run hit by a Giant this season, trailing only a 441-foot home run Tyler Austin hit at Coors Field on May 9.

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