What we learned as offense quiet again in Giants' loss to Rays

What we learned as offense quiet again in Giants' loss to Rays originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The speed the Giants finally showed in Wednesday's win carried over to the start of their road trip. But their success in big spots did not.

The Giants went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Friday, and that was the difference in a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

The final three came in the ninth inning, after Wilmer Flores drew a walk and Tyler Fitzgerald took over and stole second. Against a closer in Peter Fairbanks who was having a hard time finding the strike zone, Patrick Bailey grounded out and Nick Ahmed and Jung Hoo Lee both hit shallow fly balls to left.

The Giants had six hits with runners in scoring position on Wednesday, which matched their total from their previous nine games. That one effort, which led to a win, has kept them from being at the absolute bottom of the pack in RISP stats, but overall it's been the biggest issue for a lineup that also isn't showing any power right now.

They entered the road trip ranked 20th in the Majors in average with runners in scoring position and 24th in OPS. It didn't get any better in their first visit to The Trop in eight years.

Here are the takeaways as the Giants fall to 5-9 this season:

Feeling The Split

On paper, the Rays were a fantastic matchup for Keaton Winn, who needed a good one after some tough luck last Saturday against the San Diego Padres. Winn threw his splitter 40 percent of the time in his first two starts and the Rays have hit .132 against the pitch the last two seasons.

Tampa Bay had been 0-for-17 against splitters this season before getting two hits off Winn's best pitch Friday, but both were infield singles. Winn allowed three other hits, walked three and struck out six while giving up a season-low two runs.

Winn upped the splitter usage to 45 percent given the matchup and got six swinging strikes with the pitch. He struck out the side in his fifth and final inning, getting one with the split and two with a fastball that averaged 96 mph.

"He's The Fastest Kid Alive"

The Giants didn't steal a base in any of their first 12 games, and for the most part, they didn't even seem to be thinking about running. On Wednesday, that changed. Fitzgerald stole a pair and Matt Chapman added a third, making the Giants the first team since the 1984 Milwaukee Brewers to start the season with zero steals through 12 games and then swipe three bags in their 13th game. The momentum carried over.

After a single in the third inning, Lee stole his first big league base and went to third when the throw got into the outfield. He tied the game when a passed ball got away.

LaMonte Wade Jr. ran the same play in the fifth, stealing second after a walk. Again, the throw got away, allowing Wade to take third. This time, the Rays were able to strand the runner. Fitzgerald stole his third of the season in the ninth.

The Giants were the only team without a stolen base through Tuesday's game. All of a sudden, they're right about league-average, and given their lack of power right now, they should probably keep it going.

Their First Look

In the offseason, MLB instructed umpires to enforce rule 6.01 (h), which deals with obstruction by infielders. The goal is to further open up the basepaths for runners and also to prevent injuries.

The Giants talked about the rule change in the spring, but they didn't have any on-field experience until the third inning Friday. Amed Rosario lined a go-ahead base hit into the gap in right but Thairo Estrada made a strong relay throw to third and Rosario appeared to be out. The umpires, however, ruled that Matt Chapman interfered with Rosario.

Chapman's left foot was in front of the bag and Rosario slid into it as he was tagged.

Bob Melvin came out to argue, but that's going to be ruled obstruction moving forward. The call didn't end up costing the Giants, as Winn stranded Rosario on third.

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