Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 5, Angels 3


Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 5, Angels 3

ANAHEIM Matt Cain was far from perfect Monday night.He allowed the leadoff batter to reach base in each of his five innings. He struggled to locate while lobbing 100 pitches. If he forgot how to work out of the stretch after going 27 up and 27 down in his history-making outing last Wednesday, the Los Angeles Angels gave him plenty of practice.But Cain found a way to make pitches amid a freeway interchange of traffic while surviving just long enough to earn the decision. He became the first Giant since Rick Reuschel in 1989 to win eight consecutive starts as the Giants held on for a 5-3 victory at Angel Stadium.Cain wasnt perfect, but the Giants bullpen was. Shane Loux, Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla combined to retire all 12 batters they faced.Former Giant Jerome Williams, who was chased in the fourth inning, was taken to a hospital during the game because of breathing problems, Angels officials confirmed. His condition wasnt immediately known, but the hospitalization was believed to be a precaution.Starting pitching reportFor the first time all season, Cain (9-2) didnt complete six innings. But he certainly put in a full days labor while stranding seven baserunners.Any thoughts of another no-hitter vanished with the first batter, as ultra-talented rookie Mike Trout whistled a single to end Cains streak at 32 consecutive batters retired. Cain never got close to matching the NL record of 41, set by the Giants Jim Barr in 1972.Trout stole second base, advanced on a deep fly out and scored when right fielder Gregor Blanco made an impressive, running grab of Albert Pujols sacrifice fly.Cain served up a solo homer to Mike Trumbo leading off the second inning but pitched out of a one-out, runners-at-the-corners jam when he got Bobby Wilson to ground sharply into a double play to shortstop Brandon Crawford.Cain faced the same situation in the third after hitting Pujols on the hand with a first-pitch fastball, but he struck out Kendry Morales and got Trumbo to fly out. He couldnt pitch his way completely out of the fourth inning, after the Angels loaded the bases with no outs on a single, a walk and a masterful bunt by Manny Aybar. Wilsons sacrifice fly to the warning track got the Angels within 4-3.But Cain did not surrender the lead. He blocked Trouts hard comebacker with his midsection and recovered to throw to the plate, where Posey made a swipe tag on Maicer Izturis. A walk to Torii Hunter loaded the bases for Pujols, who entered 8 for 14 with two homers against Cain.It was the confrontation of the game. The right-hander missed with two slow, outside sliders, but threw a tighter version of the pitch on the hands and Pujols fouled it into the Angels dugout. Then Cain came back with another drop-in curveball and Pujols grounded into a fielders choice to end the inning.The question was no longer when Cain would give up a hit but whether he would last long enough to win. He issued a leadoff walk in the fifth as Loux warmed up behind him in the bullpen. Then the longest-tenured Giant dug deep, as he usually does. He retired the next three hitters, two on strikeouts, to get his team back in the dugout and qualify for the victory.Bullpen reportLoux worked the Giants first perfect inning of the game, retiring all three hitters in the sixth inning. Romo did the same in the seventh, getting Pujols to ground out while going through the middle of the Angels lineup.After Romo retired Trumbo on a pop fly to start the eighth, Affeldt took care of the next two hitters and Casilla recorded his 19th save in 20 opportunities.At the plateWilliams had good stuff but couldnt always harness it, and the Giants put up a series of smart at-bats to drive him from the game in the fourth inning.Crawfords two-run triple followed walks to Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt in the second inning. After Trumbos solo shot off Cain tied the score, the Giants moved back in front in the third on consecutive singles by Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey and Angel Pagan. Cabrera raced home on an aggressive send by third-base coach Tim Flannery, aware that center fielder Torii Hunters arm isnt what it used to be.The Giants manufactured a run in the fourth when Joaquin Arias singled, stole a base, moved up on Gregor Blancos ground out and scored on Ryan Theriots single.Theriot added another RBI hit in the sixth after Arias doubled and advanced on Blancos sacrifice (which replays showed he beat out).Cabrera ended up with his ninth three-hit game of the season to give him a major league high 98 hits; Theriot also finished with three singles. Belt reached base four times on a double, a hard single and two walks. His on-base percentage is up to .379.In fieldBlancos grab on Pujols in the first inning set the tone for the night. Belt made two nice stabs at first base and Arias played flawlessly while handling several between-hops chances at third.Pujols made the play of the night, when he stretched to snag Blancos liner in the eighth.AttendanceThe Angels announced 41,234 paid. Although the Giants were well represented, stuffed monkeys outnumbered pandas and giraffes by at least a 6-to-1 margin.Up nextThe Giants continue their series at Angel Stadium Tuesday night with a battle of offbeat left-handers. Barry Zito (5-4, 3.61) will face the Angels C.J. Wilson (7-4, 2.30).

Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League


Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League

After being selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants, catcher Aramis Garcia quickly opened eyes with his power. Garcia totaled 15 home runs between Rookie Ball and Short Season Single-A in only 28 games after the draft. 

The next year, Garcia equaled his 15 long balls and spent the majority of his first full pro season at High Single-A. He also improved overall as a hitter, raising his 2014 slash line of .225/.301/.343 to .264/.342/.431 in 2015. The next climb up the farm system ladder was set in place, until it was gone with an excruciating injury. 

Garcia's 2016 season was limited to 47 games played as he sustained a facial fracture in May while sliding into second base. In an attempt to break up a double play, Garcia took a knee to the face. The injury kept him out until the end of July.

When the chance to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions arose, Garcia jumped at the opportunity. 

"First thing I did was call my parents and let them know," Garcia told on Monday. "I was just really excited for getting the opportunity to play against guys who are extremely talented and obviously make up for reps, which are extremely important."

Garcia never did exactly find his rhythm after the injury and finished the season batting .257/.323/.340 with two homers in 41 games. In the first half, the 23-year-old hit .298/.359/.369 compared to a lowly .200/.273/.300 in the second half. 

The catcher known more for his offense than defense, is off to a slow start at the plate while facing some of the top prospects in baseball. Throuh six games, he has gone 3-for-17 at the plate, good for a .176 average. But, Garcia acknowledged he's focusing heavily on his defense in the AFL. 

"I feel like when somebody tries to steal on me, I tend to take it a little bit personally," he said. "It's definitely something I take pride in, something I work on hard every day. There's a little routine I do with receiving and footwork, things like that every day."

Behind the dish, Garcia caught 38 percent of base runners looking to swipe a bag on him last season. Through his three years in the minors, Garcia has erased 34 percent of base stealers and owns a .993 fielding percentage. 

Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series


Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series

World Series ace Jon Lester is all set to start Game 1 for the Chicago Cubs.

Lester will be fully rested when he pitches Tuesday night at Cleveland. Corey Kluber will start for the Indians.

The 32-year-old lefty is 2-0 in three starts during this postseason, with wins over the Giants and Dodgers in the NL playoffs. He was 19-5 during the regular season.

Lester is 3-0 in three starts in the World Series with a sparkling 0.43 ERA. He helped the Boston Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon says Lester is "really, really in the moment" right now.


Indians ace Corey Kluber will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.

Manager Terry Francona said Sunday that he will go with Kluber, an 18-ame winner during the regular season, in the opener on Tuesday night. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in his first postseason.

Francona has right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin penciled in for Games 2 and 3, respectively. The order could change depending on how Bauer's injured right pinkie heals over the next few days.

Bauer's start in the AL Championship Series lasted less than one inning after his pinkie began bleeding against Toronto. He injured his finger when he sliced it open while repairing a drone.

Also, injured starter Danny Salazar could be available against the Cubs. Salazar hasn't pitched since Sept. 9 because of forearm tightness but he's made major progress in the past week and could be on the World Series roster.