Giants Insider notes: Nate the Great

May 7, 2011, 6:43 am
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May 6, 2011
Our MLB Insider takes a look at the Giants' 4-3 win over the visiting Rockies on Friday in the opener of a three-game series at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Nate at night: Hoping a return to the shores of McCovey Cove might somehow provide the impetus for an offensive renaissance, the Giants for the first seven innings looked very much like the same tired bunch that scored four runs during a four-game series in Washington, D.C., last weekend. In the eighth, however, a broken-bat blooper by Buster Posey and a clutch two-out double by Pat Burrell set the stage for Nate Schierholtz, who was batting .368 over his previous eight games. Hitless on the evening, Schierholtz put together a gutsy at-bat against Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt, fouling off a nasty 2-2 pitch before slashing a game-tying double down the left-field line.

Freshening up: Cody Ross, who had scuffled -- 9-for-45 without an extra-base hit -- in his first 14 games off the disabled list, opted for a new look Friday and showed up at AT&T without his signature beard. Perhaps it makes him more aerodynamic, because he came off the bench to pick up that elusive first double of the season to open the bottom of the ninth inning and scored easily when Freddy Sanchez bounced a single up the middle with one out. Like old times: Matt Cain used to be known as much for being a tough-luck pitcher as for having no-hit stuff, but last year the worm turned and he started to get the kind of support from his teammates that turned his gems into wins instead of no-decisions or losses. It's starting to look like the buzzard is back. Cain wasn't exactly lights-out, but he allowed only seven Rockies to reach base during seven sturdy innings on the way to his third consecutive quality start -- only to head home for the night with his second no-decision (to go with a loss) during that stretch. Jump around: Spring training is over for closer Brian Wilson, who spent most of his time at camp in Scottsdale, Ariz., nursing back and oblique issues instead of honing his mechanics and menacing mound presence. So he's essentially been training on the fly, in big-league games, since coming off the DL. As evidenced by his two most recent outings, including Friday's perfect ninth inning, he finally locked into the form that makes the beard so fearsome. Nice tribute: Not long after the 80th birthday celebration for Willie Mays came to a close, the Giants' current center fielder, Aaron Rowand, made a diving catch to end the bottom of the first inning that brought a wide smile to the face of the Say Hey Kid.

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