Gabe Kapler dismisses Giants, Brandon Crawford's defensive woes in loss

Giants brush off ugly defensive woes in loss to Twins originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Giants’ recent momentum that pushed the team back to .500 on Tuesday night screeched to a halt in the third inning of their 7-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins on a sunny Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.

With two outs in the third, Twins infielder Kyle Farmer hit a routine ground ball to San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford. It skipped under his glove and dribbled into right field.

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The play behind Giants starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani unraveled from there.

“Not our best defensive game,” manager Gabe Kapler said after the loss. “A good reminder that we have played good defense for the majority of the season, but that obviously wasn’t good enough. Really good opportunity to flush it immediately and get ready for Milwaukee and not dwell on it at all.”

It’s been an off year so far for Crawford defensively. He entered Wednesday’s game with marks of zero outs above average and minus-7 defensive runs saved, per Fangraphs. Those numbers stood at plus-15 outs above average and plus-6 defensive runs saved when he won his fourth career Gold Glove two summers ago in 2021.

Cleveland’s Ahmed Rosario is the only shortstop with a worse DRS (minus-8) than Crawford in the big leagues this season.

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“He knows, and we all know, that Craw has an elevated level of defense,” Kapler said. “He’s not where he wants to be. He’s going to keep working on that.”

Michael Conforto, the hero of the first two games in Minneapolis with his recent power surge, missed a line drive in right field that brought home the Twins’ second run. Giants second baseman Brett Wisely committed two errors in that dreadful third inning, and catcher Blake Sabol let one get away for his league-high fourth passed ball early in the game that allowed Twins rookie Matt Wallner to advance to third and later score on a sacrifice fly.

Those miscues didn’t make life much easier for DeSclafani, who allowed seven runs (four earned) over five-plus innings.

“If you give any team extra outs, it’s always tough to scoot around them,” DeSclafani said after the loss. “For sure a frustrating day. More importantly, we’ve been playing really good baseball so we’ve just got to throw this one out and get ready for Milwaukee.”

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The Giants still have yet climb over the .500 mark this season. Ever since the year began with a 5-0 loss at Yankee Stadium, they have been exactly .500 four times -- at 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 and 24-24.

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While the offense has come and gone, and the pitching outside of Logan Webb, Alex Cobb and Camilo Doval has left some to be desired at times, the defensive effort has been a steady positive for the Giants this season.

Just not Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.

“This is not a trend or anything like that,” Kapler said. “We didn’t play good defense today, and we need to turn the page quickly.”

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