Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 8, Padres 7


Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 8, Padres 7


SAN DIEGO Petco Park is at sea level, so the Giants should not be out of breath after running the bases a bit.But youre never conditioned for 18 runs in two games here. Thats where the tally stands after five different players collected multiple hits and Joaquin Arias led the rallying charge in an 8-7 victory over the San Diego Padres Saturday night.Pablo Sandoval needed oxygen after hitting a triple, racing home on a sacrifice fly and chugging home from second base on a single. His strained hamstring appeared to handle the pace, which continued to be frenetic in a venue better known for eked-out victories and low-scoring losses.Giants manager Bruce Bochy played this one just about perfectly. He aggressively got Barry Zito out of there after four innings and the club trailing 4-1, then watched as pinch hitter Ryan Theriot singled to start a four-run rally.Bochy sat Brandon Crawford even though the shortstop was batting .419 over a career-best nine-game hitting streak, deciding to go with Arias instead because Padres left-hander Eric Stults was holding lefty hitters to a .142 average.Arias responded with a solo home run and a pair of RBI singles.And finally, Bochy lifted Jeremy Affeldt in the ninth after the Padres scored twice and put the tying run on base. Clay Hensley made that move pay off too, striking out Mark Kotsay to end it.The Giants kept the line moving, as Bochy often says. They didnt strike out until Angel Pagan went down looking to end the sixth. They put the ball in play, and good things happened including sacrifice flies by Marco Scutaro, Hunter Pence and Buster Posey, who hit rockets to right field all night.The Giants have seen more sacrifices than the graven images chapter in Exodus. They lead the major leagues with 46 sacrifice flies.Starting pitching reportBarry Zito threw just 33 strikes among his 60 pitches. His command most gloriously escaped him on one specific offering to Carlos Quentin in the second inning.Zito lost the pitch out of his hand and it popped straight in the air, landing like a lawn dart 20 feet in front of the plate and then rolling toward the batter. Call it a mega-eephus. Zito didn't appear amused as he called for another baseball.That wasnt the pitch that cost Zito, though. He most wanted back the 1-0 cutter down the middle that Chase Headley turned around for a three-run home run in the third inning. It was Headleys eighth homer in August, which leads the majors. He also leads the majors with 24 RBIs this month.Zito retired five of his next six batters to get through four innings, but manager Bruce Bochy had seen enough. With the Giants trailing 4-1, he had Ryan Theriot pinch-hit for Zito leading off the fifth.It marked the fourth time in his last five outings that Zito failed to complete six innings.Bullpen reportEric Hacker had a golden chance for his first major league victory. He entered a 5-4 game after the Giants had rallied to take the lead, and the official scorer couldnt award the victory to Zito because he didnt pitch the five required innings to qualify for the decision.Hacker tossed a scoreless fifth, but the 29-year-old Texan lost his claim when he served up a tying home run to Carlos Quentin leading off the sixth.Then the bullpen stabilized for a spell. Jose Mijares got an out to end the sixth and another to start the seventh while picking up his first victory as a Giant. Santiago Casilla retired both batters he faced and Sergio Romo worked a scoreless eighth.Jeremy Affeldt got two quick outs in the ninth, but a walk and two singles got the Padres within a run. Hensley entered to face pinch hitter Mark Kotsay, getting ahead with sinkers before getting him to swing through a change-up to end it.Hensley recorded his third save of the season.At the plateArias rewarded Bochy for putting him in the lineup. He connected for the second home run of his career (in 235 at-bats), a solo shot in the second inning, and kept on hitting the ball hard with runners on base.It was Theriot who sparked the Giants to their four-run rally in the fifth. He singled, Angel Pagan stayed on an outside pitch while hitting a sharp double to left field and Marco Scutaro continued yet another productive night with a 400-foot sacrifice fly that center fielder Cameron Maybin caught on the run near the wall.The Giants received a break after that after Headley made a mental mistake. The third baseman lunged to catch Pablo Sandovals hard grounder and inexplicably threw home when he had no shot at getting Pagan. It was scored an RBI and a fielders choice, although it more closely resembled fielders temporary insanity.The Giants took advantage, as Sandoval chugged around to third base on Buster Poseys double and scored the tying run on Hunter Pences sacrifice fly. Arias followed with a sharp single that scored Posey from second base to give the Giants a 5-4 lead.Scutaro set the table again when he and Sandoval singled off Brad Brach to put runners at the corners with no outs. Posey, who stung the ball to right field all game long, hit a tie-breaking sacrifice fly and Arias came through with his third RBI hit of the game.In fieldSandoval made the spectacular stop of the game, lunging to his right and making a clean stab of Headleys hard grounder in the fifth. Sandoval gathered himself without delay and made a strong throw to end the inning.But the most valuable defensive play might have come in the second inning, when the Padres netted just one run despiteloading the bases with no outs. Cameron Maybin hit into a fielders choice that might have been a double play if Arias had been a little swifter to cover second base. But inexplicably, Maybin tried to steal with one out and a runner at third. Catcher Buster Posey made a perfect throw to gun down Maybin and minimize what couldve been a big inning.And hey, that 3-6-3 double play was pretty darn nice behind Sergio Romo to end the eighth. An extra pudding cup for Brandon Belt, if he wants it.AttendanceThe Padres announced 33,849 paid. Randomly, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made an appearance. Youre welcome, Brian Wilson.Up nextThe Giants go for a three-game sweep at Petco Park with a Sunday afternoon game behind Ryan Vogelsong (10-6, 2.72), who is coming off his worst outing as a Giant. Hell try to get back in a groove against left-hander Clayton Richard (9-12, 3.91).

What they're saying: 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class

What they're saying: 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class

The National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez Wednesday. Here's what they and their peers are saying.

Still on outside, Bonds, Clemens have become invaluable to Hall

Still on outside, Bonds, Clemens have become invaluable to Hall

The Baseball Hall of Fame becomes yesterday’s news Friday, as it always does. Three months of buildup, one day to announce the names, one day to castigate the voters for their willfully negligent slights, and then nine months of hibernation.

So much for the concept of “joining the immortals.”

But at least Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez never have to go through this annual pageant of nonsense again.

Barry Bonds does, though, and so does Roger Clemens, and to a lesser extent, so does Curt Schilling. They are the new litmus strips for the Hall, and they will more than replace Raines (voter ignorance division) and Bagwell (presumption of guilt with evidence division) for self-involved debate.

And in that adjusted role from doomed outsiders to serious candidates, Bonds and Clemens – and to a lesser extent again, Schilling – have become invaluable to the Hall, and their eventual election and induction will reduce the Hall’s ability to inflame passions outside the seamhead community.

On a day when Bagwell and Raines finally cleared the 75 percent threshold and Bonds and Clemens moved from 45 percent to 53.8 and 54.1 percent, respectively, the Hall of Fame Debating And Chowder Society saw the end times for its power as a multi-month debate-churner.

The blatherers are dead, long live the blatherers.

An entire mini-industry of Hall watchers has been spawned, in part by the now-feted Ryan Thibodaux and his exit polling but also by the debates about what the Hall should be and who should get to decide it. It has made days like Wednesday event viewing when it hadn’t been for years. For that, the Hall owes Bonds and Clemens a debt that the powers inside Major League Baseball wishes it didn’t have to pay. But the day they are inducted is the day that PEDs die as a debating point. The answer will have been provided, and there will be no more need for discussion.

Worse yet, the BBWAA’S new voter transparency rules may unfortunately impact our pal Thibodaux, whose seminal work in this understudied area of social science undermined ballot secrecy. In short, if everyone has to fess up, the desperate need to know early returns may dry up.

Oh, there will always be the day of post mortem-ization, as those who didn’t clear the threshold are subject to a few rounds of the popular parlor game, “Who Got Snubbed, And The Tedious And Half-Informed Reasons Why.”

For instance, the big debating point from today’s results will not be about Raines and Guerrero getting in, but what happened to the Bonds and Clemens votes. People have already postulated that a lot of the jump in their respective votes can be directly linked to Bud Selig’s election from the Veterans Committee. Voters who had previously ridden the Hall-as-temple argument suddenly lost their raison d’etre and realized that the PED problem was an industry matter rather than a greedy players’ matter.

In short, they saw Selig getting in as tacit approval that the PED issue was no longer a moral one in baseball but a cynical one, a way to blame labor for management’s culpability. That is an irony whose existence Selig will almost surely deny, but it’s there anyway, and it represents one more non-glacial change in a system that has been nearly immovable for most of its existence.

The next change, of course, may be removing the vote from the BBWAA and turning it over to a more malleable panel of “experts” who may not skew as young and values-neutral as the BBWAA of the future seems to be heading. That course may be hastened if/when Bonds and Clemens are elected, because halls of fame in their more traditional role have been more about rewarding friends and punishing enemies, and a large and shifting electorate makes that harder to accomplish.

The argument against such a course, though, is that the current system of three months of fevered public debate about the same old stuff works for the Hall’s sense of its importance. I mean, MLB Network and its fetish for shrill argument only has so much reach.

By Friday, though, all of this will revert to its typically inert state. Bonds, Clemens (ATALE Schilling), PEDs, morality, practicality, secrecy, old voter/young voter – all of it will fade back into insignificance.

And in a year or two or maybe three, Bonds and Clemens will wipe it all out by being included in the one club that we once knew would never tolerate their presence, and the Hall Of Fame’s Golden Age Of Shrieking Argument will end.

In a weird and largely unpleasant way, it will be missed.