They were poised to hand New York Mets right-hander John Maine his first loss of the season, take two of three from one of the league's best teams and embark on a 10-game road trip with optimism.
But bad breaks led to a blown save for Brad Hennessey in the eighth, and bad baseball in the ninth led to a 5-3 loss. Right fielder Todd Linden made a mental error that allowed a blooper to drop, then David Wright followed with a tiebreaking two-run double off Armando Benitez.
The loss gave the Giants a 5-5 record on their longest homestand of the year and left them one game over .500 for the season.
"If we keep this up, by the end of the year we're not going to have enough wins to be where we want," said Matt Morris, who departed after seven innings with a 3-2 lead. "A win now is one less we need when it's crunch time."
Linden broke late when Jose Reyes hit a blooper that dropped just out of second baseman Ray Durham's reach, loading the bases with one out. Benitez fell behind 3-0 to Wright and had to groove two fastballs, the second of which was rapped down the left field line.
Benitez was angry even before giving up the blooper and the double, slamming the rosin bag after he didn't get strike calls from umpire Bruce Froemming.
"I don't complain about that," said Benitez, asked about the blooper. "How about the pitches I threw to home plate that (weren't) strikes?"
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Benitez had good stuff; he wasn't as charitable to Linden when asked about the blooper.
"That's a tough play for a second baseman, going back like that, and you're hoping the outfielder can get there," Bochy said. "It looked like he didn't see it at first."
Linden said he misjudged the ball.
"I just gave up on it too early," Linden said. "I've got to get there and make the play."
With Roberts on the verge of elbow surgery that would sideline him for at least four weeks, it would appear Linden is in line for more playing time. But he is hitting .182 and didn't enter Wednesday's game until the seventh inning, replacing Mark Sweeney. Linden's mental mistake didn't win him any points, either.
Roberts surprised everyone when his drive found the arcade in the fifth. During his first two at-bats, he swung at only one of eight pitches. He couldn't hold onto the bat with his left hand while striking out in the third.
Even after the home run, he pinned his left arm to his side as he ran the bases and used only his right hand to high-five teammates.
Hennessey suffered bad luck in the eighth. Carlos Beltran walked after taking two borderline pitches with two strikes, infuriating the Giants dugout. With the Giants playing an infield shift against Delgado, he hit a down-and-in sinker through the left side. Beltran ran with the pitch and scored on what ordinarily might have been a lineout to short.
"The ball was about to hit the dirt, I think," Hennessey said. "I'm not sure how he hit it the way he hit it."
Barry Bonds was 0-for-2 with two walks (one intentional) to remain 10 home runs away from tying Hank Aaron's all-time record. He is on pace to tie the record June 11 vs. Toronto and break it June 15 at Boston.
Contact Andrew Baggarly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
METS 5, GIANTS 3