Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 4, Cubs 3


Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 4, Cubs 3


SAN FRANCISCO Every angle favored the Giants against the Cubs on Friday.

The Giants were 12-2 in Madison Bumgarners last 14 home starts. The Cubs were 2-9 against left-handed starters, and they were facing a very good one.

And hey, the Cubs are having a pretty bad century.

The Giants did what good teams do. They played crisply against an obviously inferior team, then barely survived for a 4-3 victory. Melky Cabrera stayed sizzling into June, Angel Pagan put himself into the club record book and Bumgarner took a shutout into the ninth inning.

But he allowed consecutive singles to start the ninth, and even though hed thrown just 102 pitches, Giants manager Bruce Bochy didnt let him try for his first career complete game.

The game got interesting in a hurry. Santiago Casilla entered, served up a three-run homer and only retired one of the next three hitters. Whats worse, he walked off the mound with the assistance of a trainer after he tried to make a play on Darwin Barneys infield chopper.

Javier Lopez entered with the tying and go-ahead runners on base and got a ground ball and a fly out to preserve Bumgarners victory and Bochys head from the postgame rotisserie.

The Giants are four games behind the reeling Los Angeles Dodgers their smallest deficit in the NL West since May 8.

Starting pitching report
Bumgarner entered with a streak of three consecutive losing decisions. He snapped it emphatically while setting a season high with 11 strikeouts.

Bumgarner got ahead with his fastball and used his changeup and curveball to keep the Cubs consistently off balance. He needed strikeout stuff in the first inning when Cubs leadoff man Tony Campana singled, advanced on a balk and stole third base with one out. Bumgarner struck out the side to strand him.

He allowed consecutive singles in the second inning but used a double-play grounder and a strikeout to escape. He didnt allow another runner into scoring position until the ninth.

Over his last three starts, Bumgarner has 28 strikeouts in 21.2 innings.

Bullpen report
Casilla was wild from the outset. He missed very high while falling behind Soriano, then paid for a mistake in the zone as the Cubs made it 4-3 with one swing. It was the third homer allowed by Casilla this season; he allowed just one all of last year.

After a ground out and a double, Barney hit a tapper to the left of the mound. Casilla planted awkwardly and threw across his body while bouncing his throw. He appeared in obvious pain and walked off the field with assistant trainer Mark Gruesbeck.

Lopez entered with runners at first and second and did not blink. Steve Clevengers ground out advanced both runners, and then pinch hitter David DeJesus flied out. The Giants outfield joined in a celebratory hip check and Lopez recorded his second save in three seasons with the club.

At the plate
Cabrera used a day off to rest, but not to rest on his laurels. Following an impossibly good 51-hit May, Cabrera kicked off June with a single and a triple in his first two at-bats.

The Giants got their No.2 hitter on base in front of Cabrera, too. Ryan Theriot continues to show life since he came off the disabled list, reaching base in each of his first four plate appearances with a double, two singles and a walk.

Leadoff man Gregor Blanco, who entered with a .401 on-base percentage, led off the first inning with a walk and scored easily when Theriot ripped a good, down-and-in pitch for a double down the left field line. Cabreras single moved Theriot to third and Buster Posey hit a sacrifice fly to shallow center field. The Giants had the Cubs well scouted; third base coach Tim Flannery sent Theriot, who scored easily on center fielder Tony Campanas noodle arm.

Theriot and Cabrera ignited the Giants for another two-run rally in the third. Theriot lined a single and Cabrera got the barrel on an outside curveball, lifting it over Campanas head for a triple. It was his seventh of the season; hes already just five away from matching the San Francisco-era franchise record of 12 set by Willie Mays in 1960 and matched by Steve Finley in 2006.

Posey followed with a single up the middle to score Cabrera and give the Giants a 4-0 lead.

Pagan already has his own place in the Giants record books. When he blooped a single in the third inning, he extended his home hitting streak to 25 games the longest by a Giant going back at least to 1918, when data is available.

Pagan was hitless in the home opener but has hit safely in every game at AT&T Park since then. He accepted a line of handshakes and hugs in the dugout after he was erased on a double-play grounder.

In field
All of Bumgarners strikeouts didnt lull his infielders to sleep. They turned a pair of double plays behind the left-hander.

Cabrera had the other highlight, when he cut off a single and threw a photon to second base to prevent a Cubs runner from thinking two. Theriot and shortstop Brandon Crawford shared a look of disbelief.

It wasnt as rosy for the Cubs, who probably couldnt have beaten the squad of potential draftees the Giants worked out on the same field a day earlier. Two Cubs infielders let Joaquin Arias foul pop drop in the second inning. And Starlin Castro was thrown out trying to steal in the third when Joe Mather apparently missed a sign and took a strike down the middle. Castro slowed up and appeared confused as he was tagged on the chest.

The Giants announced 41,100 paid. Its the 110th consecutive regular-season sellout at AT&T Park. Cubs fans are not entitled to a refund.

Up next
The Giants and Cubs continue their four-game series with a 4:15 p.m. game Saturday. Itll be right-hander Matt Cain (5-2, 2.79) vs. right-hander Matt Garza (2-3, 4.22).

It seems almost cruel, but with a victory, Cain would even his career record at 75-75. The criminally unsupported All-Star pitcher hasnt been .500 for his career since May 31, 2007, when he was 22 years old and took the mound with a 17-17 record.

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

Two quick runs off the best pitcher on the planet on Saturday night afforded the Cubs exactly what they needed to snap a 71-year-old drought.

Already confident after consecutive offensive outbursts in the previous two games, a two-run first inning against Clayton Kershaw had Cubs hitters in a positive frame of mind.

They rode the surprising rally and a dominant performance by Kyle Hendricks to a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The win earned the Cubs their first NL pennant since 1945 and on Tuesday night they’ll seek their first World Series title since 1908 when they face the Cleveland Indians in Game 1.

“It’s huge for the confidence, the positive momentum from LA, to carry over back home,” left fielder Ben Zobrist said. “Those were the biggest moments in the game early on to help everybody keep pushing and that we got this thing -- that we’re in charge of the game early. That’s a huge momentum builder.”

The Cubs did a little bit of everything in the first inning against Kershaw, who dominated them for seven scoreless frames in a 1-0 Dodgers victory in Game 2 on Sunday night. Some hitters took a more aggressive approach against the three-time NL Cy Young winner while others remained patient. The one constant throughout the 30-pitch frame was that Cubs hitters took advantage whenever Kershaw made a mistake.


MLB becomes whole new ballgame since Cubs last World Series trip


MLB becomes whole new ballgame since Cubs last World Series trip

One way to realize just how long it's been since the Chicago Cubs last reached the World Series is to look at how much the game has changed since then, on and off the field.

The Cubs are making their first appearance since 1945 and chasing their first title since 1908.

Some of the ways the game has changed since the Cubs lost Game 7 to the Detroit Tigers some 71 years ago:

INTEGRATION: Jackie Robinson became the first black player to reach the major leagues in 1947, two years after the Cubs' last World Series appearance. Baseball has turned into a virtual melting pot in the seven decades since. The Cubs' roster includes players from Cuba (reliever Aroldis Chapman and outfielder Jorge Soler), along with Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, as well as the United States.

EXPANSION: There were 16 teams in the majors in 1945, including two in St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago, and three in New York. The total is up to 30 now.

GO WEST: There were no major league franchises west of St. Louis in 1945. The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and the New York Giants headed to San Francisco in 1958. In 1969, the Seattle Pilots showed up - they went 64-98 in their first year, then became the Milwaukee Brewers.

DIVISIONAL PLAY: There were no divisions in 1945, just eight teams in both the American League and National League. They split into East and West divisions in 1969. Then a Central was created in 1994, with the Cubs shifting from the NL East to the NL Central.

PLAYOFFS PLUS: Extra teams and divisions resulted in expanded playoffs. The League Championship Series began in 1969, the Division Series started in 1995 and a one-game wild-card playoff came in 2012. A longer postseason pushed the World Series deep into October and beyond. If the Cubs and Cleveland go the distance this year, Game 7 would be on Nov. 2.

FREE AGENCY: When Phil Cavarretta and Peanuts Lowrey helped lead the Cubs to the 1945 Series, they were bound to the team until they were traded or released. Curt Flood tested baseball's reserve clause in the early 1970s and took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, helping pave the way for players to move around as free agents. Jon Lester, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist are among the players the Cubs acquired this way.

DESIGNATED HITTER: The designated hitter joined the American League lineup in 1973. The DH debate is still hot, with the leagues playing by different rules. When this year's World Series opens at the AL park, both teams will use the DH; when the Cubs host, the pitchers will hit.

LIGHTS AT WRIGLEY: The Cubs were the last team in the majors to play only day games. That changed when lights were installed at Wrigley Field in 1988. The games there have always been played outdoors on green grass, never under a dome or on artificial turf, trends that became popular starting with the Astrodome in the mid-1960s.