Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 4, Mets 1


Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 4, Mets 1


SAN FRANCISCO While Hunter Pence viewed America from 35,000 feet, the Giants two most important players got good and grounded with each other once more.

No matter what Giants did at the trade deadline, Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey would remain their essence. Their two franchise stars formed a battery once more and it held plenty of charge, as Lincecum pitched the Giants to a 4-1 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.

Jeremy Affeldt gave the Giants struggling right-handers a rest in the bullpen, throwing two solid innings to pick up the save and ensure the Giants would break their losing streak at five games.

The Giants didnt exactly take advantage of their two bases-loaded, no-out situations in the second and sixth innings; they scored two runs when the Mets botched a double-play grounder and added another when Marco Scutaro bounced into two.

Starting pitching report

Theres no such thing as an all better now start for Lincecum at this stage of the season, but he turned in his third strong outing over a span of four assignments.

Lincecum (5-11) survived some hard contact early to hold the Mets to a run on six hits. He issued just one walk and struck out seven.

More impressive than his linescore was the way he achieved it. Lincecum didnt back down and kept pumping strikes, and he appeared to have much more Timmy-like finish on his pitches. When he wanted to bury a curveball, he did. When he wanted to throw it to the bottom of the zone for strikes, he did. When he wanted to get a ground ball, he got the Mets to swing over the top of his fading change-up.

The Mets scored a run in the second inning when Scott Hairston singled and Justin Turner roped a two-out double. But Lincecum retired 10 of the next 11 hitters and managed to avoid that early pitfall inning that causes his pitch count to runneth over and saps him for the remainder of the game.

His challenge came late this time. Hairston -- of course -- hit a one-out single and Lincecum missed high while walking Mike Baxter. Turner loaded the bases when his chopper barely stayed fair and third baseman Marco Scutaro, perhaps stunned when it wasnt called foul, couldnt beat Hairston to the bag.

Lincecum got a jam-shot liner from Josh Thole that was an eyelash away from turning into a double play. Second baseman Ryan Theriot flipped to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who stepped on the bag at almost the exact instant Baxter slid back to it.

Lincecum reacted with obvious disappointment, but he did not break focus. With the sellout crowd on its feet, the two-time Cy Young Award winner met the moment. First, he executed to get ahead of pinch hitter David Wright, the most threatening presence in a Mets uniform. Wright didnt bite on Lincecums 1-2 change-up, which splashed in the dirt. But Posey kept the pitch in front of him and Lincecums next one was a thing of beauty a humpback curve that appeared to get sucked into Poseys glove as Wright took it for a called third strike.

Lincecum completed seven innings for the third time in four starts. Before that, hed lasted seven innings in just four of his first 18 starts.

Bullpen report

Sergio Romo, who allowed damaging home runs in each of his last two outings, warmed up in the ninth but Bochy didnt go to him. Affeldt retired all six hitters he faced and struck out three of them to continue a sparkling second half.
At the plate

The Giants knew they would have a tough time against right-hander Matt Harvey, who struck out 11 in 5 13 innings while making his major league debut at Arizona last Thursday.

They didnt exactly seize on a scoring opportunity in the second inning, when they loaded the bases with no outs on Poseys single, Marco Scutaros double and a walk to Brandon Belt. Justin Christian, playing because Angel Pagans hand remained too sore, tapped to the mound for a forceout at the plate and Crawford followed with a shrink-wrapped double-play grounder. But Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada threw wildly to first base, allowing the inning to continue as two runs scored.

The Giants had a 2-1 lead gift-wrapped for them, but had trouble adding on.

The double-play grounder was their weapon of choice again in the sixth, after Theriot doubled and Melky Cabrera executed a perfect bunt single that rolled up the third-base line. After Posey walked to load the bases with no outs, a run scored on Scutaros double-play grounder.

The Giants added another run in the eighth in Scutaros two-out single.
Scutaro's turn as the No. 5 hitter was a one-shot deal. Pence arrived at the ballpark in the eighth inning and is expected to make his Giants debut on Wednesday.
In field

Posey took his lumps behind the plate, fouling a ball off his right foot and blocking another with his manly parts. Thats one of the reasons he hadnt caught any of Lincecums previous seven starts.

But the two stars formed a solid pair all night.

The Giants announced 41,774 paid. Those who arrived early had a chance to purchase the rare and limited Hunter Pence No. 2 jersey sure to be worth more someday than a stamp with an upside-down airplane on it. (A special reference for all you philatelists out there.)
Up next

The Giants continue their four-game series with the Mets with a Wednesday night game. Right-hander Matt Cain (10-3, 2.80) opposes left-hander Jonathon Niese (2-5, 4.58.) In case you were curious, Hunter Pence is 3-for-21 (.143) with no extra-base hits in his career against Niese.

Notes: Ex-Giants not getting much traction, not expected to return

Notes: Ex-Giants not getting much traction, not expected to return

SOMEWHERE IN THE AIR, United States — On the first day of the Winter Meetings, I discovered that my hotel room for the week was a few doors down from a section of rooms and suites dedicated to the Chicago Cubs. So either I have a lot of juice with Marriott or the Cubs have very little juice. 

They were a happy group as they came in and out, and for good reason. The Cubs are the reigning champions and they’re the heavy favorites going into 2017. Every other team at the Gaylord National Resort was chasing Theo Epstein and his guys. The Giants, after landing closer Mark Melancon, feel they have the firepower to compete with the Cubs. 

The Melancon move is the big one of the Giants’ offseason and it obscured just about everything else. Here are some other notes, quotes and rumors from five days at the Winter Meetings: 

--- Bobby Evans said the Aroldis Chapman deal ($86 million) came in right around where the Giants expected. The two sides never met in person, and while the Giants kept tabs on the Chapman market, he was always viewed as an unlikely choice. Part of that has to do with a 30-game suspension last season for a domestic violence incident. Evans said the off-field stuff was “not lost on us.” The Giants knew many of their fans were strongly opposed to a Chapman deal. 

“Our hearts and minds were really focused on one guy,” Evans said as he discussed the closer market. It was Melancon, and the Giants got the guy who will now head a bullpen that blew 30 saves during the regular season. 

Evans took some good-natured shots at that number, by the way. He pointed out that many of those “blown saves” came in the sixth or seventh innings and the Giants won a lot of those games. The more important number for the front office was ninth-inning blown saves that led to losses. The Giants lost nine such games, including five in September. 

“That’s the difference,” Evans said. “If you reduce that number to five or four, then that’s maybe the difference in your division.”

The Giants finished four games behind the Dodgers.

--- Joe Maddon said his biggest fear in the postseason was facing Johnny Cueto in Game 5.

--- Angel Pagan was not at the ballpark for the final game of the season. He had an injection in his injured back and was allowed to stay home to try and recover. The Giants told Pagan to prepare for a Game 5, but some team officials believe his postseason was probably over regardless of how far the Giants got. 

--- It was a little surprising, by the way, how little mention there was of Pagan and other Giants free agents. Pagan was briefly connected to the Orioles at one point but otherwise his name has not come up. There are no Gregor Blanco rumors, and nothing significant with Sergio Romo, Jake Peavy, Javier Lopez or Santiago Casilla. 

Giants people who have talked to Romo say he has at least a couple of offers and he’s confident he’ll find a good fit. Lopez is said to be headed for retirement unless an East Coast team (he lives in Georgia) makes a great offer. Peavy is said to be ready to fight for a job as a non-roster invitee in spring training. It seems the majority of the ex-Giants might have to go the non-roster route. Currently, none are expected to return to San Francisco. 

--- Gordon Beckham is technically a “Giants free agent” and several people in the clubhouse approacedh management to relay what a positive impact Beckham had in his week there. He is the kind of energetic, ball-busting presence that helps over a 162-game season, and everyone in the organization loved having him around, but they’re looking for power bats right now when it comes to the bench. 

--- Ramiro Pena is close to a deal to return as a non-roster invitee. The Giants will also add a catcher for Triple-A depth. They’re selecting from a group that includes former Dodgers and Cubs catcher Tim Federowicz. 

--- There will be new managers up and down the minor league system. The affiliates are expected to announce those choices soon. 

--- At the risk of wiping out a bunch of future "The Player to be Named Later has not been named" tweets, here's how it works: The Giants gave the Mariners a small list of prospects they'll watch in spring training, and they'll scout them and choose one player as the return for Chris Heston. It will not be a significant prospect. 

--- Under Armour will be the exclusive uniform provider of MLB starting in 2020, and all jerseys will have a small Under Armour logo on the chest. No exceptions, from the awful Diamondbacks jerseys to the Yankees pinstripes to the Giants. It was bound to happen eventually. The Giants have some of Under Armour’s most prominent baseball players, including Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Joe Panik. 

--- The Giants never had any intention of pursuing a reunion with Pablo Sandoval. If they can add depth at third, they will, but for now Eduardo Nuñez is slated to be the opening day starter. Keep in mind, too, that Christian Arroyo will primarily play third base in the minors from now on. 

--- Bill Hayes, who was relieved of his duties as first-base coach, will stay with the big league staff. His exact role has not been determined. Roberto Kelly will not return in a different role. 

--- CSN did a bunch of one-on-one interviews this week, and two of them — Evans and Bruce Bochy — are available here as podcasts. If you’re a fan of the podcast, please consider hitting subscribe on iTunes. It’s good for the pod. 

--- In case you missed it: Here's an explanation of why the Giants are unlikely to add an expensive outfielder. The Giants currently have four players set for the WBC. Hensley Meulens will manage the Netherlands. Ryan Vogelsong helped Melancon choose the Giants. Bochy on if he has any postseason regrets. 

--- Melancon will be introduced at a 1 p.m. press conference on Friday. It will air on CSN Bay Area and you can stream it on this website. 

Wife of former Giants outfielder Andres Torres passes away


Wife of former Giants outfielder Andres Torres passes away

Former Giants outfielder Andres Torres lost his wife on Wednesday evening.

Soannie Torres passed away from cancer.

Andres played for the Giants from 2009 to 2011 and again in 2013.

During the Giants' World Series run in 2010, he hit .268 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI over 139 regular season games.

In the World Series against the Rangers, he batted .318 and hit a home run.

Torres was the 2010 winner of the Willie Mac Award, -- given annually to the Giants' most inspirational player.

To donate to the Soannie Torres Memorial Fund, click here.