Pence's passionate pregame speech inspires Giants


Pence's passionate pregame speech inspires Giants


CINCINNATI The Giants keep learning new things aboutHunter Pence.

They discovered this in the moments before taking the fieldto save their season Tuesday night:

When he gets to yelling, his Texas accent leaks out.

Does it? he said, smiling, after the Giants somehow stoodat the end of a 2-1, 10-inning victory over the Cincinnati Reds. I didntknow.

Pence made a diving catch in right field to help RyanVogelsong start a clean second inning. He pogo-hopped down the first base linewith a cramping calf after hitting a single in the 10th to help setup the winning run.

But he began making an impact before anyone emerged from thedugout for the first pitch. In a players-only meeting, Pence screamed at thetop of his lungs while delivering an impassioned speech that had his teammatesready to hurtle their bodies through fire.

Which is good, because thats exactly what they had to do.

After the game, Giants third base coach posted a summary of Pence's speech on his band's Facebook page:
"Get in here, everyone get in here. Look into each other eyes. Now! Look into each others eyes, I want one more day with you. It's the most fun, the best team I have ever been on and no matter what happens we must not give in. We owe it to each other. Play for each other. I need one more day with you guys, I need to see what Ryan Theriot will wear tomorrow, I want to play defense behind Ryan Vogelsong because he's never been to the playoffs. Play for each other not yourself. Win each moment. Win each inning. It's all we have left."It wasnt even so much what he said. It was the intensity,Vogelsong said. It was a great speech. Nothing off what youd think youdhear, but it was the way he said it. I cant speak for everyone else in theroom, but that hit home for me.

It was the emotion in it, the truth in it. It was a good,good speech.

Said center fielder Angel Pagan: We need people like thishere. Hunter is a very positive person. It doesnt matter if the game was 20-0.He believes we can win it. He gave us that energy, that fight.

Asked about his message, Pence twisted his mouth.

Were just getting ready for the game, he said. Just ... you know, getting ready for the game.

Pence must have listened to his own message. He threw himself into RyanHanigans foul fly to start the second inning, never slowing down as he nearedthe wall. It helped Vogelsong get a critical out. Thatwas a significant, since the right-hander needed 30 pitches in the first inningto limit the Reds to just one run after four of the first five batters reachedbase.

The way he threw his body with no regards to the wall, thatreally got me going, Vogelsong said. I said, 'You know what? If hes going todo that, go all-out like that, I have to do the same thing.'

Pence, like everyone else, had trouble catching up withanything out of Homer Baileys hand. Pence struck out twice and lined out toright field.

But after Buster Posey singled off Jonathan Broxton in the10th, Pence had another chance. He came up limping after reachingout and spoiling a tough pitch on the outer edge for a foul ball. Trainers cameonto the field along with manager Bruce Bochy as Pence tried to walk off acramp in his calf.

He had a similar calf cramp in his last at-bat Sunday, too.

He stayed in the game, slashed a single to right field andran one half of a three-legged race to first base.

At that point I thought I was going to have to take himout, said Bochy, who was down to Hector Sanchez on the bench. But hes awarrior. It subsides once he gives it time, but we were caught in a toughsituation.

Bochy said he would have brought in Sanchez to catch, movedPosey to first base and Brandon Belt to the outfield. And if he burned Sanchezon the bases, he wouldnt have had any threat left to pinch hit for relieverSergio Romo which meant No. 8 hitter Joaquin Arias wouldnt have gotten achance to hit his ground ball that gave the Giants their first lead of theseries.

Pence began chugging a sports beverage in the dugout frat-boystyle before heading to right field for the bottom of the ninth. Thankfully forthe Giants, the Reds didnt send anything his way.

Pence said he would be fine to start Game 4 on Wednesday and no, there probably wont be any more pregame rhetoric. Everyone knows whatis at stake, and what they must do.

Every day, they are fighting for their lives.

This was just a huge embodiment of 'team' today, Pencesaid. Everyone came together. We had inspiring performances on the mound. Wehad that mindset that were all in this together.

The dugout was solid. Everybody was, 'Keep pushing, keeppushing.' You could feel us coming together.

The story is yet to be written. Were still here.

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the final month of his time with the Giants, it became clear that Santiago Casilla and the team would part ways. On Friday, Casilla confirmed that he never had the opportunity to return. 

On a conference call to announce a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s, Casilla said he “would have been happy to return to the Giants, but I never got an offer from them. I understood.”

Casilla said he had several opportunities to go elsewhere and close, mentioning the Milwaukee Brewers as one interested team. Casilla signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the A’s, who likely won’t need him to pitch in the ninth. The Brewers went on to bring in Neftali Feliz for one year and $5.35 million; he is expected to close. 

“I preferred to return to the Athletics because that’s where my career started,” Casilla said through interpreter Manolo Hernández Douen. “And I’m very excited.”

Casilla spent the first six years of his career with the A’s before crossing the bridge and becoming a key figure in three title runs. In seven seasons in San Francisco, he posted a 2.42 ERA and saved 123 games. Casilla had a 0.92 ERA in the postseason, but he was stripped of a prominent role in the weeks leading up to the 2016 playoffs. 

Casilla, 36, blew nine saves before being pulled from the ninth inning. He appeared just three times in the final 14 regular season games and just once in the playoffs. He did not take the mound in Game 4 of the NLDS, watching as five other relievers teamed up to give back a three-run lead. 

That moment stung Casilla, and it affected Bruce Bochy, too. The Giants struck quickly in December to bring Mark Melancon in as their new closer, but at the Winter Meetings, Bochy said he would welcome Casilla back in a setup role. 

“He’s a great team player (and) teammate,” Bochy said. “(I) certainly wouldn’t rule it out because he still has great stuff. And he had some hiccups there in that closing role, but I would take him anytime.”

As it turned out, that opportunity was never there for Casilla. The Giants didn’t make another move after the big deal with Melancon, and they’ll rely on younger arms to record most of the outs in the seventh and eighth. Casilla said he’s not bitter about the way it all ended. 

“I have left that in the past,” he said. “It’s a new year, it’s a new year. I have left this in the past.” 

Authorities: Two Dodgers security guards arrested, accused of theft


Authorities: Two Dodgers security guards arrested, accused of theft

LOS ANGELES -- Prosecutors say two security guards at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium have been arrested and are accused of stealing equipment, baseballs and jerseys from the major league team to sell online.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says Juan DeDios Prada and Fernando Sierra pleaded not guilty to burglary and other charges Thursday.

Prosecutors say the two security guards conspired with a third man, Jesse Luis Dagnesses, to steal baseball uniforms and other team merchandise to sell online.

They say Prada and Sierra stole more than $3,400 from a locked equipment room at the stadium between January 2013 and February 2016.

Authorities say Dagnesses is accused of receiving $950 in stolen baseballs and jerseys.

It wasn't immediately clear if the men had attorneys who could comment on the allegations.