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Giants 4, Cubs 3: Not a San Francisco treat

The Cubs have lost the first three games of this series.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Well, at least they made it close at the end.

Yes, I’m struggling for positives to come out of the Cubs’ third straight loss, 4-3 to the Giants, and that’s about all I’ve got.

A furious ninth-inning rally, helped out by some sketchy Giants defense, fell just short after Giants pitchers retired 18 straight Cubs batters.

Again, the game started out well. Kohl Stewart looked pretty good for two innings and with Anthony Rizzo on base in the second inning, Patrick Wisdom gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead [VIDEO].

Nice grab in the pen, too — not sure who that is. Anyone recognize the guy who caught the ball?

That was Wisdom’s fifth home run of the season — in 30 at-bats. He had four for the Cardinals in 2018, so that’s a career high in just 12 games played (and in four of those 12 games, he had a lone pinch-hitting appearance). When all the injured Cubs return they’re going to have to find a role for him.

And here’s an eclectic list of Cubs:

And not a list of Cubs who had stellar careers, though Glenallen Hill had his moments, hitting 59 home runs in 331 games in two separate stints with the Cubs (1993-94 and 1998-2000).

The only other Cubs hit before the ninth in Saturday’s contest was a single by Stewart leading off the third, his first major-league hit. He was stranded, and Javy Baez’ single in the ninth was the next Cubs hit — and those three were it for the game.

Give credit to Kevin Gausman, who was dealing.

Meanwhile, the Giants put a run across in the third and two more in the fourth off Stewart, who struggled to a 79-pitch total while recording only 11 outs. The Cubs pen threw 4⅓ innings and allowed just two hits and three walks, but one of those walks, issued by Dan Winkler leading off the fifth, resulted in the Giants’ fourth run. That turned out to be the decisive tally.

Cory Abbott was one of the Cubs relievers and he threw well in his major-league debut. He threw mostly fastballs sitting at 93-94 miles per hour, issued a walk and allowed a hit in two innings, but did not give up a run.

The ninth inning, off submarine Giants specialist Tyler Rogers, gave the Cubs their final chance. Rafael Ortega reached on an error and after Kris Bryant hit into a force play, Javier Baez singled KB to third.

This play scored Bryant [VIDEO].

I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before, a shortstop and third baseman colliding on a routine ground ball — especially two guys who have been around as long as Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria. Longoria was shaken up and had to leave the game. Hope he’s OK.

Returning to the action, that put the tying run in scoring position and the lead run on first base. Willson Contreras struck out for the second out. I had thought maybe Javy would take off for third and try to draw a throw, and eventually Baez did steal third base, with Rizzo moving up to second. That put two runners in scoring position, but Jason Heyward grounded out to end it.

I mentioned Ortega above... he didn’t start this game. Why was he in the game?

That’s apparently also the reason Tommy Nance batted in the fifth — two out and nobody on base and David Ross not wanting to burn a pinch-hitter that early with Ortega having to come into the game for Pederson. That’s all the Cubs need, another injured player, especially with Joc starting to hit. How did this happen?

Here’s the play where that happened:

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

All in all, Saturday was not a good day for the Chicago Cubs. The Brewers won Saturday, so the Cubs are now tied for first place with Milwaukee, both teams at 32-26. The Cardinals lost their Saturday game to the Reds and remain 1½ games out of first place.

The Cubs will hope to make Sunday better and salvage one game of this four-game set. Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs and our old nemesis Johnny Cueto is scheduled to start for the Giants. Game time is 3:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.