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View Count: 94 |  Publish Date: July 28, 2013
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Giants leave 'em loaded, fall 1-0 to Cubs

Bruce Bochy summoned the Giants position players into his office before Friday nights game and hammered home the importance of improving team focus.
Specifically, on defense and on the basepaths.
Youve got to be strong to compete and smart to win, Bochy said. Weve got to get back to playing smarter baseball.
The sermon didnt sink in. The Giants made two more errors, giving them a majors-leading 76, and didnt get much of a chance to run the bases. They fell 1-0 to the Cubs and wasted another solid start by Madison Bumgarner, whos destined to become the MVP of a team going nowhere.
The only run came courtesy of a ninth-inning homer by an old friend, Nate Schierholtz, who smacked Sergio Romos 3-2 fastball over the brick wall in right field to give Romo back-to-back losses for the first time in his career.
Schierholtzs homer came in the wake of the Giants forgetful eighth. They loaded the bases on a walk and two bunts, but their 3-4-5 hitters didnt come through. Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval forced runners at the plate, and Hunter Pence struck out.
The Giants loaded the bases again in the ninth (a single and two walks), but pinch-hitter Tony Abreu hit into a game-ending double play, leaving the Giants 11 games under .500 and nine games out of first place, both season highs.
As Bochy said before the game, Where were at, theres no point in looking at the standings.
Lefty Chris Rusin, making his third start of the season, retired his first 16 batters and didnt give up a hit until Joaquin Arias two-out single in the fifth. In the first eight innings, the Giants advanced just one runner as far as third base, but Pence was stranded when Arias grounded out and Brandon Belt lined out.
To Belts credit, he fought off several pitches and in pitch No. 9 of the at-bat, he hit a sizzling liner that was caught by leaping first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
One day after Belts mishaps on the bases (caught between third and home) and on the field (misplaying a ball that turned a 2-1 win into a 3-2 loss), he went hitless. He had a chat with Bochy, who expressed his faith in Belt and left him in the lineup, albeit as the No. 8 hitter.
The important thing for us to get back to playing good, solid, fundamental baseball and doing the things well that we normally do, said Bochy, referring to the team in general, not Belt in particular. Its getting away from us, whether its our defense, our baserunning. These things have cost us. Thats where our focus has to be.
Bochy vowed to have his team work on defense more before games, even if it means ditching batting practice for a day or two.
Sandoval and Marco Scutaro made errors, but the defense wasnt all bad. With two outs and two on in the sixth, center fielder Andres Torres made a diving snag of Schierholtzs liner, ending a two-on, two-out threat.
John Shea is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: jshea@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @JohnSheaHey

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 ball   base   bases   Belt   Bochy   defense   didnt   Giants   hit   team   The Giants 
Time: 5:58  |  News Code: 318983  |  Site: San Francisco Chronicle
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