Their offense couldn't support the slumping Barry Zito and Barry Zito couldn't support their slumping offense, sending them tumbling to a 10-4 sweep-completing loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park.
By losing five of their first six games, the Giants matched their worst-ever start as a San Francisco-based club. Only in 1980 and 1967 were they this poor.
Manager Bruce Bochy was calm in his postgame meeting with the press, but wasn't as composed when he got himself tossed in the top of the ninth inning for arguing that Jeff Kent's ground-rule double down the right-field line was foul.
Bochy tried to find positive aspects of his team's predicament, but the best he could do was point to how the Giants scored three meaningless runs in the final three innings and that they wouldn't be in San Francisco for the next eight games. The first three of those games will be in San Diego, Bochy's previous location of employment.
"Hopefully, a road trip will help us right now," Bochy said.
Bochy claimed to not be concerned about Zito, the club's $126 million signing whose earned-run average ballooned to 8.18 in his second loss in as many outings.
Zito was lit up for eight runs over six innings, including four tallies in a brutal six inning. He faced two batters in the seventh, both of whom scored when his replacement, Brad Hennessey, was on the mound.
"For the most part, balls were just up," Zito said. "Of the nine hits, six or seven were on balls that weren't down in the zone."
Like Bochy, Zito pleaded for patience.
"I've seen this for years in Oakland," Zito said. "These slow starts, the key is to not panic. The key is to stay together as a team, to go out there and know that it is going to change instead of projecting all these negative things into the future."
Todd Linden agreed, saying, "I know we have talented guys. We can turn it around any time."
Linden added: "It's just a matter of when that's going to be -- hopefully soon, so we don't dig ourselves too big of a hole."
The Giants, who entered the contest averaging only two runs per game, scored in the first inning when Barry Bonds singled to right and drove in Rich Aurilia.
They started the second inning by loading the bases, but Zito struck out and Omar Vizquel grounded into a double play. Vizquel, who replaced the resting Dave Roberts at the top of the order, didn't get a hit until the last of his five at-bats.
Zito and Vizquel were the first of 13 batters that Dodgers starter Randy Wolf retired in succession. Wolf allowed three hits and one run in his six innings.
"We had our chances early and let Wolf off the hook," Bochy said. "We ran his pitch count up pretty good the first couple innings, but we couldn't put him away."
Pedro Feliz's two-run home run in the seventh inning came too late, as the Giants were still down 9-3. The Giants added another tally in the eighth inning on an RBI double by Ray Durham.
That set the stage for Bochy's dismissal, the 31st of his career and first with the Giants.
The play in question was a ball hit by Kent sharply down the right-field line that took a bounce into the nearby seats. Bochy's discussion with first-base umpire Mike Winters over whether the ball was fair appeared to end without incident, but Winters threw him out as he started retreating to the dugout.
"I'm sure I said something there," Bochy said.
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DODGERS 10, GIANTS 4