EXTRA BAGGS: Lincecum offers a sugar high, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Lincecum offers a sugar high, etc.


SAN FRANCISCO When you absorb the worst postseason shutoutloss in franchise history, the feel-good moments usually end with thethundering flyover during the National Anthem.

Tim Lincecum provided one more turbo boost, such as it was.

Lincecum, the cause of so much consternation this season,made his third career relief appearance his second in a playoff game andtemporarily stoked a sellout crowd when he took the mound in the sixth inningSunday night.

Lincecum retired six of seven batters over two scorelessinnings, earning a standing ovation from fans who otherwise used their rallyrags to dab at their eyes in a 9-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy needed a couple clean innings tokeep a four-run game from splitting open. But maybe he also hoped Lincecumcould pep up the paying customers, and by extension, cause a stirring in some of hishitters.

Its hard to get the crowd into it when you dont getrunners on base, Bochy said.

The crowd down the left field line responded as soon asLincecum peeled off a gray sweatshirt and made his way to the bullpen mound tojoin lefty Jose Mijares in the bottom of the fifth. Lincecum only made two orthree warmup tosses as Brandon Belt broke up Bronson Arroyos perfect game witha single. Gregor Blanco grounded out to end the inning, and there was aconfused moment as Lincecum, already back in the dugout, was told to take themound.

RATTO: It's do or be done for Giants

The Giants called back Mijares, who had gotten as far as theinfield dirt.

We told both of them, Blanco, if he gets up, were going todouble switch, Bochy said. I think they were confused because the pitcherdidnt come up, but he said he was ready. He doesnt throw much anyway, Timmy,and he went out there and did a great job.

Lincecum threw 17 of his 25 pitches for strikes and left to a standing ovation, although it was a sugar high. The Giants didn't get a runner into scoring position until the eighth inning -- and that came, poetically, on defensive indifference.

The game exploded in the eighth, but Bochy didn't want to send Lincecum out there for a third inning. He said he took out his two-time Cy Young Award winner turned mop-up man to savehis pitch count, both to keep him a viable option to appear in relief again andalso to preserve him for a potential start.

All those options are open and I was glad to see him throwlike that, Bochy said. He was really good, I thought good with his commandand he kept the ball down and had all his pitches working.

Now we have the option, if he wants, or we want to use himin the pen in the first or second game in Cincinnati. Or start him if we havethat option.

Picking a Game 4 starter? Now thats a dilemma the Giantswould be thrilled to have.

Some folks are bound to speculate that the Giants are gettingtheir tails kicked because they clinched too early. I dont buy that.

But I do think the Giants soft schedule in September isworking to their disadvantage, in a sense. They didnt have to face muchfirst-division pitching while feasting on the Rockies, Padres and the like.They didnt see many lineups that had the kind of talent and continuity thatthe Reds throw at you on a given night. And although the Giants have shown anability to rally, they havent had to do it against the team with the lowestbullpen ERA in the National League.

Bottom line time: the Giants starters arent pitching wellenough -- even in their shelteredcove. There is no more certain way to get bounced from a short series

Wheels up in six hours for me, with a stop in Chicago andthen a 50-mile drive from Dayton to Cincinnati.

If this is the last game Ill cover at AT&T Park thisseason, its been entirely memorable. And for one night, perfect.

Giants avoid arbitration with Nunez, Smith, Kontos

Giants avoid arbitration with Nunez, Smith, Kontos

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants avoided arbitration with three more veterans on Friday, agreeing to one-year deals with third baseman Eduardo Nuñez, left-hander Will Smith and right-hander George Kontos.

Financial details were not immediately available. MLB Trade Rumors' projections put Nuñez at about $4.4 million, Smith at about $2.3 million, and Kontos at about $1.7 million. The Giants reached deals with all six arbitration eligible players this offseason. 

Nunez, acquired last summer, will enter camp as the starter at third base. He posted a .269/.327/.418 slash line and 12 stolen bases after coming over from the Twins.

Smith was also acquired before the trade deadline, and he had a 2.95 ERA in 26 appearances for the Giants. He is expected to play a pivotal role in setting up for new closer Mark Melancon. 

Kontos has long been Bruce Bochy's most reliable reliever in the middle innings and he could move to a higher-leverage role in a revamped bullpen. He had a 2.53 ERA in 2016, his fifth season with the Giants.

The Giants had previously reached one-year deals with Cory Gearrin, Ehire Adrianza and Conor Gillaspie. They have not gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when a deal could not be reached with A.J. Pierzynski. 

Giants Hall-of-Famer Gaylord Perry: Enshrine Bonds, not Rose


Giants Hall-of-Famer Gaylord Perry: Enshrine Bonds, not Rose

MLB Hall-of-Famer and two-time Cy Young winner Gaylord Perry believes home run king Barry Bonds will eventually be inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame. 

"I think he’ll get in eventually," Perry said, according to USA Today. "If you have a player like that, pretty soon, you put him in."

Perry, 78, was infamous for doctoring baseballs on the mound and throwing a spitball. Author of 314 career wins over a 22-year season, Perry was inducted into Cooperstown in 1991. His No. 36 is one of 10 numbers retired by the Giants. 

But Perry doesn't feel the same about hit king Pete Rose.

"Pete did the worst thing possible, worse than steroids," Perry said. "He put money on games, win or lose. He’s paying the price."

Bonds, 52, was a seven-time MVP, a 14-time All-Star, a 12-time Silver Slugger, an eight-time Gold Glover. He owns the most home runs (762), the most walks (2,558) and the most intentional walks (688) in MLB history.

Rose, 75, was Rookie of the Year, MVP and a 17-time All-Star. He owns the most games (3,562), plate appearances (15,890), at-bats (14,053), and hits (4,256) in MLB history.