Pagan, Cabrera and Blanco turning out to be terrific outfield trio


Pagan, Cabrera and Blanco turning out to be terrific outfield trio

SAN FRANCISCO They met in center field and leapt inunison. Angel Pagan gloved the final out in the Giants 4-3 victory over theChicago Cubs, then he collided with Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco for acelebratory, triple-hip check.

There was nothing choreographed about it.
RECAP: Baggs' Instant Replay -- Giants 4, Cubs 3

Yes, the Giants starting outfielders are having as much funas it appears. Thats easy when youre breaking records, setting the table fora productive offense and whacking one pitch after another to the wall. But itseven better when theyre all doing it together.

Oh my God, its the best, Pagan said after Fridaysvictory. To me, weve got three center fielders running around. I dont thinkthe pitchers mind that, either. Definitely, you have fun playing with thoseguys. Were getting to know each other more and more.

Whats not to like about these three first-year Giants?

Cabrera, fresh off a 51-hit May, kicked off June withanother multiple-hit game. He singled and tripled to fuel scoring rallies inthe first and third innings. He leads the majors with 80 hits, 26 multiple-hitgames and seven triples.

His .376 average is the highest in the NL.

And its the highest by a (qualified) Giant on June 1 inalmost two decades. Barry Bonds, fresh off signing his record contract in 1993,had a .394 average on June 1 of that season. (Hat tip to the amazing DaveFeldman for crunching those numbers).

Cabrera even found a way to smile through some rather personalpain in the fifth inning, when he chopped a foul ball off his manly parts.Credit Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger with some solid bro points; he made a moundvisit to give Cabrera some time to gather his considerable thoughts.

The most important ball of the night belonged to Pagan, whoblooped a single in the third inning to enter the Giants record books. Heextended his streak to 25 consecutive home games with a hit. Its the longestin franchise history, or at least dating to 1918 when data is available tocheck such matters.

Pagan secured the ball from the hit and clubhouse managerMike Murphy also made sure to save him the lineup card. Pagan received waves ofhugs and handshakes upon returning to the dugout.

Hes hitting .356 at AT&T Park and he hasnt gonehitless since the home opener here. Thats quite an accomplishment in a parkthat causes mostly grumbles from hitters especially for Pagan, who endured awretched spring and had to hear whispers about losing a regular gig even beforethe season began.

We didnt start the best way I wanted, but every day I findsomething to do to help the team, said Pagan, who didnt know about the recorduntil hitting coach Hensley Bam Bam Meulens told him about it earlier Friday.

He said, Youre going to break a record today, Pagansaid. It feels good. Its not something Im looking to do, but it means Imdoing my job. Im getting on base. Its good. It feels good, the vibe from yourteammates, when they support you for what you do.

The Giants have a pretty good team vibe going right now.They have nearly cut their NL West deficit in half in five days, takingadvantage of the Dodgers four-game losing streak to creep from 7 out to fourout. Its the closest theyve been to first place since May 8. Cubs' comeback bid falls short against Giants

Blanco is a big part of that resurgence ever since becomingthe clear, everyday leadoff hitter. He entered with a .401 on-base percentageand led off the first inning with a walk, then scored on Ryan Theriots double.

Bochy credited Blanco with setting the tone for a lineupthat still lacks power, yet is taking the field with greater confidence.

You see the energy we have here, Pagan said.

Pagan had one more reason to be excited after the game. Hisfriend and former teammate Johan Santana, became the first pitcher in New YorkMets history to throw a no-hitter. Pagan said he was about to send acongratulatory text.

Johan is one of the best teammates Ive ever had, Pagansaid. I want to congratulate him because hes come a long way from hisinjuries. Thats a good thing. He competes and hes a horse. Weve got a lot ofthose guys here, too.

Three Giants among 2016 Gold Glove finalists

Three Giants among 2016 Gold Glove finalists

On Thursday, Rawlings announced the list of Gold Glove finalists.

Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik are in the running at their respective positions.

NL catchers: Posey, Yadier Molina, Jonathan Lucroy.

NL shortstops: Crawford, Addison Russell, Freddy Galvis.

NL second basemen: Panik, Jean Segura, D.J. LeMahieu. 

Brandon Belt, who was a finalist last season, did not make the cut.

Crawford won his first Gold Glove last year, while Posey and Panik have never won the award.

The winners are expected to be announced shortly after the World Series ends.

Cubs come alive behind Schwarber, Arrieta; World Series tied 1-1


Cubs come alive behind Schwarber, Arrieta; World Series tied 1-1


CLEVELAND -- Jake Arrieta made a teasing run at history, Kyle Schwarber drove in two runs and the Chicago Cubs brushed off a shutout to even the World Series with their first Fall Classic win in 71 years, 5-1 over the Cleveland Indians in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Arrieta carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, briefly invoking Don Larsen's name, before the Indians touched him for two hits and a run. However, the right-hander helped give Chicago just what it needed - a split at Progressive Field - before the Cubbies return to their Wrigley Field den for the next three games starting Friday night.

The Cubs hadn't won in the Series since beating Detroit 8-7 in 1945 to force Game 7.

The free-swinging Schwarber, who made it back for Chicago's long-awaited Series return after missing most of the season with an injured left knee, hit an RBI single in the third off Cleveland's Trevor Bauer and had another in the Cubs' three-run fifth - highlighted by Ben Zobrist's run-scoring triple.

Even the presence of star LeBron James and the NBA champion Cavaliers, sporting their new rings, couldn't stop the Indians from losing for the first time in six home games this postseason.

And Cleveland manager Terry Francona's magical touch in October finally fizzled as he dropped to 9-1 in Series games.

With rain in the forecast, Major League Baseball moved the first pitch up an hour in hopes of avoiding delays or a postponement.

It turned out to be a good call as the game went on without a hitch and ended after more than four hours as light rain was beginning to fall.

Arrieta and the Cubs provided the only storm.

The bearded 30-year-old coasted through five innings without allowing a hit, the first pitcher to get that deep in a Series game with a no-hitter since David Cone of the New York Yankees in 1998.

For a brief period, Arrieta looked as if he might challenge Larsen's gem - a perfect game - in 1956 before Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, a die-hard Cubs fan as a kid, doubled with one out in the sixth.

Before that, Cleveland hitters had a couple good swings, and drew three walks, but couldn't mount a real threat. Arrieta has two career no-hitters, in fact, including the only one in the majors this year.

Cubs lefty Mike Montgomery replaced Arrieta and worked two scoreless innings before Aroldis Chapman came in and unleashed his 103 mph heat while getting the last four outs.

The teams will have an off day before the series resumes with Game 3 at Wrigley, which will host its first Series game since Oct. 6, 1945, when tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave with his pet goat, Murphy, and a curse was born.

Josh Tomlin will start for the Indians, who will lose the designated hitter in the NL ballpark, against Kyle Hendricks.

Schwarber might also wind up on the bench after two days as the DH.

With a gametime temperature of 43, the weather was more fitting for the Browns and Bears to bang heads than the boys of summer.

The Cubs were the ones who came up thumping after being blanked 6-0 in Game 1 by Corey Kluber and Cleveland's shut-down bullpen.

Zobrist's one-out triple triggered the fifth as the Cubs opened a 5-0 lead, not that Arrieta needed it.

After Anthony Rizzo walked following a 10-pitch at-bat, Zobrist laced a ball off Zach McAllister that was going to be a double until right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall slipped and fell. Rizzo was waved around and Zobrist hustled into third.

Schwarber followed with his second RBI and reliever Bryan Shawn later walked No. 9 hitter Addison Russell with the bases loaded.

Unlike his start in Toronto on Oct. 17, when his stitched cut opened up and Bauer was forced to make a bloody departure in the first inning, his finger held up fine.

The Cubs, though, put a few nicks in him in 3 2/3 innings.

The drone accident has brought attention to the quirky Bauer, and one Chicago fan tried to rattle the right-hander by sending a smaller version of the remote-controlled, flying object that cut him.

Bauer posted a photo of it on Twitter, saying "I see the (at)Cubs fans love me! How nice of them to send me a gift!"

The Cubs, who were off balance from the start against Kluber, scored their first run in a Series game since `45 in the first on Rizzo's RBI double.

Bauer needed 51 pitches to get through two innings, and he was one strike from getting out of the third unscathed when Chicago turned a walk and to singles into a 2-0 lead.

Cubs: Hendricks is coming off his brilliant performance in Game 5 of the NLCS when he pitched two-hit ball for seven innings as the Cubs clinched their first pennant in 71 years. The right-hander went 16-8 during the regular season with a league-leading 2.13 ERA.

Indians: It will be an emotional night for Tomlin, who will pitch on 12 day's rest with his ailing father, Jerry, in attendance. The elder Tomlin became stricken with a spinal condition in August, when Tomlin was struggling on the mound. The right-hander more than recovered and rescued Cleveland's rotation in the postseason, winning both starts.