Ryan Vogelsong produced a quality start in his first outing since May 20, but he wasn't good enough to beat the Baltimore Orioles, who topped the Giants 5-2 in 10 innings at AT&T Park on Friday.
American League MVP-candidate Chris Davis broke a 2-2 tie with two outs in the top of the 10th, driving a double off the wall in right-center field to score two runs off left-handed specialist Javier Lopez (1-2), who picked up the loss.
With two out and Manny Machado on second, Giants manager Bruce Bochy elected to walk center fielder Adam Jones to bring up Davis, a left-handed hitter, who delivered with his 107th and 108th RBIs of the season.
Bochy said he preferred the lefty-on-lefty matchup rather than bringing in closer Sergio Romo to face the right-handed hitting Jones.
"I've got a guy who's throwing the ball very well. Instead of having to go to Romo at that point, I've got a matchup you like," Bochy said, adding later: "He got a flyball, he just hit it where we couldn't get to it. It's a tough break."
The Orioles (64-51) added a fifth run a batter later when catcher Matt Wieters singled up the middle to score Davis.
The Giants (51-64) had rallied in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie it 2-2. Hunter Pence hit a chopper up the middle to score Brandon Belt, who led off the inning with a line drive single to center.
But the Giants, who are 9-for-61 (.148) with runners in scoring position over their last eight games, failed to bring in the winning run, despite having runners at the corners with one out. With Buster Posey on third base, Roger Kieschnick struck out and Gregor Blanco, who entered the game with the lowest batting average in Major League Baseball since the All-Star break, lined out to second base.
"We just didn't finish the deal," Bochy said. "Against a good club like that if you don't finish it, you could be asking for trouble, and that's what happened."
The Giants left six men on base in the contest, going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Vogelsong pitched well in his first trip to the hill since he fractured his right hand 2½ half months ago. He surrendered two earned runs on six hits over six innings of work.
"It felt good," Vogelsong said. "It's hard not to do something that you love doing. I missed it. It felt great to get back out there."
The 36-year-old right-hander ran into trouble in the first inning. The second hitter he faced, Machado, doubled off the top of the brick wall in right field and later scored off a two-out single up the middle from Jones.
The Orioles jumped ahead 2-0 in the second when shortstop J.J. Hardy drove his 20th home run over the left-field fence.
But Vogelsong shut down the Orioles, who rank fourth in the majors in runs scored, over the next four innings, retiring eight of the last 10 batters he faced.
"It felt like my tempo was kind of in and out early. It felt like I got better as the game went on," Vogelsong said. "Some of that was probably fatigue setting in a little bit and I was able to slow myself down a little easier."
Although his velocity was down from the low 90s to the high 80s, Vogelsong recorded his second quality start in 10 outings this season. He entered the game with a 2-6 record and a 7.19 ERA.
"That's a nice effort," Bochy said. "He gave us a chance to win the ball game."
Vogelsong's quality start is the rotation's 12th in its past 14 games. The starting staff has produced a 2.27 ERA over that stretch.
As Vogelsong battled through his comeback start, Orioles starter Chris Tillman stifled the Giants' bats, holding them to one run on four hits over eight innings.
The Giants scored their first run in the sixth when Belt crushed his 13th home run over the fence in right-center field near the 421-foot sign. Prior to that, Tillman had retired 14 straight hitters.
Belt also homered against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday. He finished the night 2-for-4 and is hitting .458 in the month of August.
"I thought the guys fought hard, they did," Bochy said. "They came back in the ninth inning and you're in a position to win that game. You're just hoping to put it in play and the guy got a big strikeout."