Bumgarner brilliant, Giants hit and beat Cubs

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Bumgarner brilliant, Giants hit and beat Cubs

Aug. 31, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTSVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- His team practically desperate, Madison Bumgarner delivered a boost that could not have come at a better time for the defending World Series champions.NL West-leading Arizona arrives for a crucial weekend series with the Giants starting Friday."We needed to win today in the worst way possible," newly activated outfielder Pat Burrell said.Bumgarner matched his career high with 11 strikeouts, Jeff Keppinger and Pablo Sandoval hit consecutive home runs in the fourth inning, and San Francisco beat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 on Wednesday to snap a three-game skid and avoid a sweep.On a day when general manager Brian Sabean began making big changes to his struggling club, Bumgarner (9-12) was brilliant.
URBAN: Giants' shakeup a no-brainer
"I didn't think about (what was at stake)," Bumgarner said. "But we need to win. And it would be nice to win from here on out."Keppinger also drove in a run with a bloop single in the fifth off Rodrigo Lopez (4-6), who lost his third straight outing and dropped to 0-5 in eight career starts against San Francisco.San Francisco began the day a season-high six games behind NL West-leading Arizona, which was hosting Colorado on Wednesday night.Sabean shook up the roster before the game, designating infielder Miguel Tejada and outfielder Aaron Rowand - the team's second-highest paid player - for assignment.Dazzling while winning his second straight start, Bumgarner allowed a season-low two hits and walked two in eight innings. Manager Bruce Bochy stuck with him after a one-out walk to Geovany Soto in the eighth and Bumgarner got out of it."He was tough," said Chicago leadoff man Starlin Castro, who tweaked his troublesome hamstring but didn't consider it serious.Sergio Romo finished the Giants' 11th shutout with a 1-2-3 ninth that included a strikeout. Music blared through the clubhouse afterward for a group that believes it can rediscover its swagger from last fall's improbable title run."I'll say this, it's been a tough go," Bochy said. "To get out of something like we've been going in usually takes a great pitching effort, and we got that from Madison. It puts the team feeling good about themselves. It's a nicer off day after a win. Hopefully it will give us some momentum."Keppinger drove the first pitch he saw from Lopez into the left-field seats leading off the fourth for his team's first lead in the series. Sandoval then splashed a shot into McCovey Cove beyond the right-field arcade - right to the eager kayakers who had been waiting to retrieve a rare souvenir in the bay of late.It marked the fourth time San Francisco connected for consecutive homers this season and first since Freddy Sanchez and Aubrey Huff accomplished the feat June 2 at St. Louis.Sandoval picked up his sixth career splash hit and second this year. It was the third by a Giant in 2011, 58th by San Francisco overall and No. 82 in the history of the 12-year-old ballpark. Barry Bonds, the home run king, has 35 of them.Lopez has allowed two of Sandoval's splash homers. The first came in 2009 when the right-hander was with Philadelphia.While this result was encouraging, the Giants realize there will have to be a lot more wins the rest of the way to stay in the playoff hunt.San Francisco hasn't won a home series in six opportunities since taking two of three from the Brewers from July 22-24, and hasn't won in five straight series overall.Nobody was too shocked, and some were saddened by the departures of a pair of proven veterans."We ran into a road block. We're a good team playing bad baseball for more than a month," Mark DeRosa said. "I don't think they were going to sit still and be idle. ... At some point something had to be done."Said Burrell: "This isn't a hobby. It's a business. We get paid to win."The Giants avoided being swept by the Cubs for the first time since May 20-22, 1994, and in San Francisco since Sept. 13-15, 1993, at Candlestick Park.Cubs slugger Alfonso Soriano, who hit solo home runs in each of the first two games and had homered in four of his previous seven overall, went 0 for 2 with a walk and a strikeout.Chris Stewart added an RBI double as the Giants' bats produced enough support for Bumgarner after Chicago had outscored San Francisco 12-2 in the first two games. Stewart's fifth-inning single snapped an 0-for-14 funk."I hope it gets us going," DeRosa said.Still, San Francisco finishes up August at 11-18 with 78 runs - the lowest monthly runs total since the Giants scored 77 in April 2009.The 11 wins are the fewest in a month since getting 10 victories in April 2009.NOTES: Burrell, back from a strained right foot, is set to start Friday. ... Injured Giants LHP Barry Zito, nursing foot and ankle injuries, threw a 50-pitch bullpen session and said it went well. Bochy hopes he can help down the stretch. ... San Francisco is 11-14 at home since the All-Star break. ... Cubs manager Mike Quade is keeping his rotation in order even with Thursday's off day. ... Giants RHP reliever Ramon Ramirez celebrated his 30th birthday. ... San Francisco lined up its rotation to have its three best pitchers going against the Diamondbacks, starting with 10-game winner Matt Cain on Friday night for his fifth 2011 start vs. Arizona. ... The Cubs, who had their first winning month (16-13) since going 19-10 last SeptemberOctober, return home to host Pittsburgh for a weekend series starting Friday. RHP Ryan Dempster (10-10) takes the mound after losing his last two starts. ... Bumgarner is 6-1 at home.

Hahn's excellence goes for naught as Angels walk off on A's

Hahn's excellence goes for naught as Angels walk off on A's

ANAHEIM — The night should have been about Jesse Hahn, who had every pitch working and rendered Angels hitters helpless over eight innings.

Instead, the A’s postgame comments Tuesday were filled with second-guessing and do-overs that they wish came their way in a 2-1, 11-inning defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.

The game-winner came off the bat of Kole Calhoun, who singled in Danny Espinosa from second to sink the A’s in their first extra-inning contest of the season. Ryan Madson went outside with an 0-1 fastball and Calhoun spanked it into left-center, a pitch that Madson said he never should have thrown.

“I wasn’t comfortable with that pitch,” Madson said afterward. “I should have definitely stepped off and re-thought it, so I didn’t throw it with conviction. It looked like it was off the plate but something he could handle. I learned my lesson to throw a pitch I’m convicted in.”

Calhoun swung through a changeup on Madson’s first pitch. Josh Phegley, who was behind the plate calling pitches, said he didn’t want to go right back to that pitch.

“(You) kind of obviously second-guess yourself after the game-winning hit is hit off a pitch you just called,” Phegley said. “I thought about going back to (the changeup). I saw in my head him kind of making adjustments and just looping one over the infield, getting the same result. … I thought it was a good pitch and I’ll trust that guy’s fastball any day of the year. It just was not the result we were looking for.”

Phegley was set up to be a hero himself, after he came off the bench to pinch-hit for Vogt and smacked the first pitch from Jose Alvarez in the 10th for a homer to right-center that snapped a scoreless tie. But Mike Trout — who else? — answered with a home run to lead off the bottom of the 10th off Santiago Casilla. He sliced a 2-0 pitch off the plate for a drive that cleared the short right field wall just inside the foul pole.

It was Trout’s 23rd career homer against the A’s, his most off any team.

“I don’t know anybody that hits a home run right down the right field line on a ball that looks like it’s by him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “There aren’t too many guys that are gonna do that. Maybe he and Khris Davis. It’s not like it’s a bad pitch.”

Hahn wound up with a no-decision from an outing that might have been his sharpest as an Athletic, perhaps even more so than his shutout of Detroit on Memorial Day, 2015. He allowed just one hit over eight innings, facing two batters over the minimum in that time, striking out six and walking two.

“I feel like I literally had everything working for me today,” Hahn said. “I think it might have been my best command I’ve had of all pitches.”

Hahn, who didn’t make the 25-man roster coming out of spring, is finding his groove since replacing Raul Alcantara in the rotation. In three starts he’s allowed just nine hits and four earned runs over 20 innings, for a 1.80 ERA.

“He pitched as well as we’ve seen him,” Melvin said. “He had his best sink of the year by far. His best sink in a while, and a good curve ball. He really had it working tonight.”

Unfortunately for Hahn and the A’s, his excellent start didn’t come with a ‘W’ attached.

**

Melvin said center fielder Jaff Decker felt something in his foot on a steal attempt of second in which he was thrown out easily without a slide attempt.

“He got taped up and he was OK,” Melvin said.

 

Crawford strains right groin in eighth inning of Giants' 2-1 loss to Dodgers

Crawford strains right groin in eighth inning of Giants' 2-1 loss to Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO — Brandon Crawford was always going to miss the final two games of this series to attend the funeral of his sister-in-law. The Giants are now hoping an MRI result shows that Crawford won’t miss any time beyond his three days on bereavement leave. 

Crawford pulled up with a right groin strain as he rounded first on a base hit in the eighth. After jogging a bit in the outfield, he was pulled from the game. 

“It tightened up,” Crawford said. “I haven’t really felt anything like that before. I’ve never really had anything like this before. It just felt tight. I didn’t feel a pop or anything, and from what I hear, that’s good news.”

Crawford’s liner off Kenley Jansen sent Buster Posey from first to third. Cody Bellinger's throw went into third and Crawford was busting it for second when his leg shut down. He said he could feel the pain in his groin as he tried to run it off. 

“(Trainer Dave Groeschner) told me it wasn’t a great idea to try and push it,” Crawford said. 

Ordinarily, the Giants would send Crawford for an MRI on Wednesday, but he is flying down to Los Angeles for two days of services. Crawford originally told manager Bruce Bochy that he could be back in time for Friday’s game, but the Giants — already playing without Denard Span and with a short bench — were planning to put Crawford on the bereavement list and call up an extra position player. 

Eduardo Nuñez moved over to short in the ninth and he’s Crawford’s primary backup. Christian Arroyo, called up Monday, can also play the position. The Giants have Kelby Tomlinson and Orlando Calixte on the 40-man and one of them is likely to join the team Wednesday. 

--- Arroyo and Bellinger are two of the NL West’s top prospects, and they got their first big league hits on the same night. Arroyo got a first-pitch fastball at the letters from Clayton Kershaw and roped it into left field. 

“I figured he would come at me,” Arroyo said. “I said, ‘Hey man, see a heater and take a good swing at it.’ I just envisioned getting (a big league hit) but I didn’t think it would be off a guy the caliber of Kershaw. In the moment I was excited. That’s something you don’t forget.”

Arroyo’s family won’t forget it, either. His parents and two younger siblings were here and they went nuts as Arroyo rounded first. That’s always a cool moment. 

--- Ty Blach has three big league hits and all of them are off Kershaw. 

“Sometimes you just swing hard and get lucky, I guess,” he said. 

There’s only one active pitcher who has more hits against Kershaw than Blach. That’s Madison Bumgarner, who has taken him deep twice. A year ago, Bumgarner walked into the video room and asked Matt Duffy if he wanted advice on hitting Kershaw. On Tuesday, he gave Blach some advice. 

“Madison before the game came up and said he’s going to throw you up and in because he threw it low and away last (year),” Blach said. “I was looking for a pitch in that vicinity.”

Bumgarner knows Kershaw well. Blach got a fastball up and he knocked it over a drawn-in outfield for a double. 

--- We’re 10 paragraphs into this story without a score. The Giants lost 2-1, but it’s hard to dissect this one too much. When the Dodgers get 25 outs from Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, they’re going to win that game nine out of 10 times. 

Kershaw lowered his season ERA to 2.29. The Giants gave him a little bit of trouble early, but he turned it on in the middle innings. 

“He settled in and he was as tough as he normally is,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “The thing you hope is to create some chances. We had a couple.”

The eventual winning run came across on a strange play in the fourth. With runners on the corners, Adrian Gonzalez hit a bouncer to first. Posey looked Justin Turner back to third and then threw to Crawford at second for one out. Crawford spun and fired a strike home to try and get Turner, who had taken off. The throw skipped in the dirt and Nick Hundley couldn’t handle it. Turner made it 2-1, and that was that. 

Bochy said he had no problem with how that play went down. All the decisions were right, it was just a tough double-play to pull off. 

“I’d like to say I should have made a better throw but I got rid of it as fast as I could and I put as much on it as I could,” Crawford said. 

The Giants were a couple inches behind Turner on Tuesday. On Monday, they were just ahead of him, with Posey picking him off second to end the game. It’s been that type of series between these two.

--- I saw a lot of grumbling on Twitter about Yasmani Grandal pulling balls back into the strike zone in the late innings. Be careful what you wish for, Giants fans. Posey might be the best pitch-framer in the game. Any change that would keep guys like Grandal from fooling umps would hurt the Giants more than most.