SAN FRANCISCO -- First base is the easiest position to fill on the infield. On Tuesday, manager Bruce Bochy looked up and found himself choosing between an outfielder and a second baseman.
Brandon Belt's sore right knee acted up again so Austin Slater is back out there at first base. Bochy said he considered putting Joe Panik at first for the first time in his career, but ultimately decided to go with Slater, who replaced Belt when he hurt his knee earlier this season.
The Giants have found themselves in an odd spot at first. Belt has been in and out of the lineup, Buster Posey is done for the year, and Ryder Jones is having season-ending surgery on Wednesday morning. Slater, Chase d'Arnaud and even rookie catcher Aramis Garcia are the backup options right now, but the Giants aren't considering shutting Belt down, even though he likely will have his meniscus operated on in the offseason.
"If they can play I think it's important that they get out there and help lead," Bochy said of Belt and Brandon Crawford, who has a left knee issue. "We're trying to finish strong and they can provide some help there."
The bid to finish strong is not going well. The Giants have lost nine straight for the first time since 2006. They haven't had a 10-game skid since 1996.
--- Jones said he watched the replay of his injury "100 times" to try and figure out what happened. The best he can come up with is that his cleat got caught in the dirt. This is the second time he has dislocated that kneecap and he'll have the tendons tightened during surgery on Wednesday.
Jones said he'll be hitting off a tee in December and he should be back on the field by the start of spring training, although he admitted he could be behind others as far as conditioning goes.
--- A pretty amazing stat after last night's game: The Giants have scored three runs or fewer in 12 of their last 14 games. They are 49-17 this season when they score four runs.