BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Home runs by Javier Báez, Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr. set the tone for an off day for Tyler Beede and the Giants Wednesday afternoon as the Chicago Cubs salvaged the final game of their three game series with a 4-1 win at Oracle Park.
Cubs scheduled starter Jon Lester was a last minute scratch due to illness, but Tyler Chatwood stepped up to limit San Francisco to just a run on four hits before five Chicago relievers combined to shut the Giants out over the last five innings of the game.
Báez 397 foot blast to deep left center as the second batter of the game gave Chicago a lead they would never relinquish as Beede (3-4, 4.85) lost for the first time in four starts in the closing game of a still highly successful (5-2) homestead for the Giants.
San Francisco would finally mount a threat in the ninth, bringing the tying run to the plate following singles by Donovan Solano and Alex Dickerson with two outs, but Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel got Brandon Belt to fly out out to record his seventh save and preserve the win for Chicago.
With the loss, the Giants dropped back into a second place tie with Arizona in the NL West, three games behind St. Louis for the final wild card spot. San Francisco will now hit the road for a nine game trip that will take them to San Diego, Philadelphia and Colorado. Jeff Samardzija (7-8, 4.08) faces the Padres Joey Lucchesi (7-5, 4.27) Friday night in the opener of a three game weekend series.
The Giants 17-3 stretch entering Wednesday’s game has only been matched by the Dodgers over a 20 game period during the 2019 season.
San Francisco is 24-10 in one-run games this season, the best in the Majors. The Giants are also 10-2 in extra inning games this season.
Wednesday was Barry Bonds 55th birthday.