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After latest loss, SF Giants closer to D-backs than Padres in NL West standings

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PHOENIX — The Giants’ freefall continued here Monday afternoon in the airplane hangar that doubles as the home of Arizona Diamondbacks. They lost for the 11th time in 14 games and dropped their fifth straight. Once again, it came down to their putrid defense.

Facing their old friend Madison Bumgarner for the fourth time since he left for Arizona, San Francisco scored early and forced him out after five innings. But multiple defensive miscues had already put them in a hole that they couldn’t climb out of in an 8-3 loss.

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“I think something needs to change. We’re playing really bad baseball,” said Giants starter Carlos Rodón, who allowed four runs over five innings. “You can say as much as you want, until we physically do something and make a change, I don’t think we’re going to see any results.”

Rodón allowed more than one run for the first time since June 7 — four starts — and more than two for the first time since May 27, six starts ago. Bumgarner, who emerged from the bullpen with an American flag draped over his shoulders, improved to 2-1 against his former team.

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The Giants, who went 17-2 against Arizona last season, are halfway to that loss total after one game. With 18 matchups left, they’ll face the D-backs in about one in every five of their remaining games.

At this rate, it could amount to a race for third place.

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After Monday’s loss, the Giants (40-38) are closer in the NL West standings to the fourth-place D-backs (36-44) than the second-place Padres (47-35). They are closer to the last-place Rockies (35-44) than they are the first-place Dodgers (49-29).

Rodón, known for his emotion on the mound, said the Giants needed to “just play with a little more fire.”

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“It’s definitely frustrating,” he said. “I think all of us would like to play better and see different results. Sometimes I tend to voice some frustration. Sometimes we need it; sometimes we don’t. But I think right now, something has to change.”

The Giants made two more errors Monday and have committed seven in their past five games. After Monday’s loss, they are 14-24 when committing at least one error.

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“I think we have some limitations that are clear,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Human beings make errors, so that’s probably the most important factor. Sometimes they come in bunches like they have been over a long period of time.”

With shortstop Brandon Crawford due back from the injured list Tuesday, Kapler said he hopes the veteran former Gold Glover can bring a “solidifying force” to their defense.

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Rodón’s outing was similar to Bumgarner’s: both struggled to find their command early and were forced out of the game with triple-digit pitch counts after five innings. But Rodón retired the final 12 hitters he faced, while Bumgarner put away seven of the final eight Giants to bat against him.

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“Started figuring it out a little too late,” Rodón said. “Would’ve been nice not to give up four runs. But I got through five. It is what it is.”

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Rookie infielder David Villar’s MLB debut will go down as the bright spot of the day — and maybe the past two weeks.

After the Giants put up a two-spot on Bumgarner in the first, Villar led off the second by swinging at the first pitch he saw, sending a fastball off the right field wall. He came feet shy of starting his big-league career with a home run but settled for a double — and was left stranded as the Giants struggled to manufacture runs the rest of the game.

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Taking matters into his own hands, Villar ripped an RBI single in his next at-bat that pulled the Giants within 4-3. It drove in Evan Longoria, who was the only Giant besides Villar, Yermín Mercedes and Darin Ruf to reach base more than once.

“His at bats were great,” Kapler said. “He looks dangerous at the plate.”

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Villar also played a perfectly clean second base, which alone set him apart from many of the other eight men on the field.

Arizona’s first two runs, matching the Giants’ two-run first, can be placed squarely on Rodón, who allowed a leadoff double and walked two batters while laboring through a 36-pitch first inning.

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But the four that followed can be tacked on to a growing list of preventable runs allowed to score by poor defense.

The number of Giants errors in the second inning equaled the number of D-backs runs.

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