Cain carries Giants to bounce-back win in Atlanta

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Cain carries Giants to bounce-back win in Atlanta

Aug. 17, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
ATLANTA (AP) -- Matt Cain dominated for eight innings.The San Francisco Giants were barely hanging on at the end.Cain threw five-hit ball to snap his three-game losing streak, but the Giants narrowly avoided another loss to Atlanta in the final at-bat, preserving a 7-5 victory over the Braves on Wednesday night.
NL WEST WATCH: D'Backs' win streak ends with loss to Phillies
After Cain turned over a 7-1 lead, the Braves scored four runs and had the tying run at the plate. Brian McCann struck out swinging against Jeremy Affeldt."I think we won," manager Bruce Bochy quipped. "Just when you think you have a chance to cross your legs for a second, we're facing the tying run up there."The Giants broke it open with four runs in the fourth, one of them driven in by Cain (10-9) on a sacrifice fly. But he did his best work on the mound, striking out nine and giving up only an unearned run in the first on Chipper Jones' bases-loaded walk.Cain started working out of the stretch exclusively, even while retiring the last 18 hitters he faced."Mechanically, in the windup, I wasn't quite going right," he said. "So I switched to the stretch to try to keep stuff a little more in line and found that good rhythm and just tried to stay with it."San Francisco pounded All-Star Jair Jurrjens (12-5), taking advantage of a pitcher who wasn't sharp in his first start coming off the disabled list. He surrendered eight hits and five runs in six innings."I felt good," Jurrjens insisted. "I just left some pitches up. I was a little rusty."The Braves won the first two games of the series, rallying for three runs in the ninth for a 5-4 victory Monday, then pulling out a 2-1 win in 11 innings on Tuesday. They nearly did it again, closing to 7-5 on Martin Prado's two-run double after Giants shortstop Orlando Cabrera dropped Michael Bourn's soft blooper behind the mound to extend the inning.Affeldt got McCann on a 3-2 pitch."You don't want to go down without a fight," Atlanta's Freddie Freeman said. "At least we gave them a little scare at the end."Once the Giants pushed their margin above three runs, Atlanta was in trouble. San Francisco improved to 32-0 when leading by at least three runs, the majors' only undefeated team in those situations.The win came at a good time for the struggling Giants, who've been plagued by injuries and were knocked out of first in the NL West with a stretch of only five wins in 18 games. They closed to 2 12 games behind Arizona in the division race and with five games of wild card-leading Atlanta.The Giants broke open a 1-all game in the fourth. Aubrey Huff led off with a double, Nate Schierholtz singled and Cabrera brought home the go-ahead run with the third hit in a row. Brandon Belt walked to load the bases, and Eli Whiteside pushed the lead to 3-1 with another run-scoring single.Back-to-back drives to the warning track made it 5-1. Cain hit a sacrifice fly to deep center, and Cody Ross followed with a liner that was caught in front of the left-field wall, allowing Belt to trot home.Jurrjens wasn't exactly fooling the Giants even when his teammates caught the ball. Schierholtz hit one to the track in right that was hauled in by Jose Constanza.San Francisco closer Brian Wilson wasn't available to pitch after flying to Florida to have his ailing right elbow checked out. It's nothing serious, but Bochy gave Wilson a second night off to rest his arm.The way Cain pitched, it looked like the Giants would be just fine without the bearded one.Then came the ninth."We've had a couple heartbreakers at the end the last two nights here," Cain said. "It just seemed like everything accumulated. It was really nice to get everybody relaxed and go out there and have fun, so we can just carry that over into the rest of the week."San Francisco jumped ahead in the first on back-to-back doubles by Mike Fontenot and Pablo Sandoval. The Braves tied it up in the bottom half, taking advantage of a miscue by Sandoval at third base.With two runners on and one out, Sandoval fielded Dan Uggla's grounder and attempted to tag Bourn running toward third. Bourn dodged the glove, and Sandoval's throw to first was too late to get Uggla, either. It was the first of three errors by the Giants.Cain struck out Freeman with the bases loaded before Jones walked to bring home the tying run.Jurrjens was pitching for the first time since Aug. 1, having gone on the disabled list because of a strained right knee. He hasn't been the same dominating pitcher he was before making the All-Star team, giving up at least four runs for the fourth time in his last five starts. That happened only once in his first 16 appearances."Right now, I just need to go to the bullpen and get my pitches back," Jurrjens said. "I've got to get a feel for them again."The Giants added to their lead in the ninth with two more sacrifice flies off Scott Linebrink. Sandoval picked up his second RBI and Huff brought home the other run.NOTES: Braves RHP Peter Moylan is scheduled for another bullpen session Thursday as he continues his recovery from back surgery. ... Whiteside left the game in the seventh because of dizziness. He smashed his face into the dirt when thrown out attempting a steal to end the fourth. ... The Giants tied a San Francisco record with four sacrifice flies, last done in 1988. ... The Giants beat the Braves for the first time in six meetings this season. ... The series finale pits San Francisco's Tim Lincecum (11-9) against Atlanta's Mike Minor (2-2). Lincecum is 6-3 in nine career appearances against the Braves, while Minor will be facing the Giants for the first time.

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

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Madison Bumgarner was back on the bump Sunday night in a Giants jersey for the first time since being placed on the DL due to a dirt bike accident on April 21.

Bumgarner took the mound for the Arizona Rookie League Giants against the Arizona Rookie League Angels and did not allow a hit in three innings pitched. The Giants' ace also struck out two and walked one. 

In both the first and third innings, Bumgarner pitched a perfect three up and three down frame. 

Bumgarner was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of his left throwing shoulder and sustained bruised ribs from his dirt bike accident on an off day in Colorado. Pitching in a game for the first time in over two months, Bumgarner was throwing between 88-91 miles per hour, according to Tommy Stokke of FanRagSports. 

After finishing his three innings of work, Bumgarner went down to the bullpen to increase his pitch count, reports Sande Charles of FanRagSports

Before sustaining the injury, Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts this season. 

The Giants have gone 21-41 since Bumgarner's injury. They are 27-51 on the year and sit 24.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. 

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

SAN FRANCISCO — A few minutes after yet another missed opportunity at the plate Sunday, a voice came over a speaker in the press box at AT&T Park and announced a 524th consecutive sellout. It nicely summed up this current stretch of Giants baseball. 

The seats are emptier than they used to be at first pitch, and they were just about abandoned in the ninth inning of an 8-2 loss, but for the most part the fans are still showing up in droves. One woman brought a toaster by the dugout Sunday morning and asked players and coaches to sign it, hoping to recapture the magic from across the bridge. Another, Bryan Stow, made his first appearance of the season at AT&T Park, met with Bruce Bochy, and said he hoped to see a win. As Matt Moore started warming up, a band set up on top of the visiting dugout to play hits that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. 

For a while, AT&T Park was rocking. And then, as has happened so often this summer, the game started. 

The Giants turned in another epic clunker in a season full of them. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games and 21 of 26, but it’s worse than the raw numbers. On most nights, some in the organization have noted privately, they are simply boring. It’s one thing to lose, it’s quite another to do it in this way. 

“There’s no getting around it,” Bochy said after the sweep. “I’ve been through some tough stretches here and this is as tough as any stretch I’ve seen. For some reason the baseball gods are really testing us here and (testing) this group. It’s not that they’re not coming out ready or trying, but enough is enough.

“At some point, we’ve got to find a way to get this thing turned around.”

Even a slight pivot would be welcomed by the faithful. There were scattered boos Sunday, the latest in a growing trend. This is a fan base that has seen the highest highs, but rarely in franchise history have the lows been this low. 

The crowd no longer turns to the rally lights that were used so often in an awful April, but the noise still grows with each new rally. And then, every single time Sunday, the Giants killed off any hope. 

In the second inning, a Brandon Belt bunt single and Brandon Crawford bloop put two on, but a pair of rookies flied out. 

In the third, the bases were loaded ahead of Buster Posey. He flied out to bring one run across, and there were still runners on the corners for Belt, who leads the team in homers. On a 2-2 count, Hunter Pence inexplicably took off for second. He was caught, the inning was over, and the two-run Mets lead was intact. Bochy said he did not send Pence. 

In the sixth, there were two on with no outs for Posey. Both runners bolted to stay out of a double play. Posey popped up to first -- for a double play.

“He’s not a guy that strikes out, so I’m pretty confident sending runners with Buster,” Bochy said. “We can’t keep laying back. We’re trying to force the issue a bit and stay out of double plays.”

In the eighth, the Giants loaded the bases for Posey and Belt. Posey grounded out. Belt struck out for the third time. 

“We’re getting guys out there,” Bochy said. “We’re not doing enough damage.”

Matt Moore’s damage was self-inflicted. He twice gave up homers to the guy — Rene Rivera — hitting in front of the pitcher. Moore said he has stopped throwing his cutter the past three starts and tried to get his four-seamer going, but the Mets were teeing off. Moore gave up five runs on seven hits. He was pulled in the fifth, left to think about mechanics that still aren’t right. 

“The cutter is a little bit different of a pitch and at times it can take away from the four-seam fastball location-wise, and command of the four-seam was starting to go down the more I threw (the cutter),” Moore said. “I’m anxious to get back to it, but the foundation has got to be throwing the four-seam fastball. I need to execute where they’re carrying through the zone, not running or cutting.”

Moore said his confidence is fine and his problems are not physical. Others can no longer say that. Austin Slater, a rare bright spot in this five-win month, was pulled with a tight hip flexor. He was headed for an MRI. 

Slater is too young to be one of the players Bochy approached after the game. He said he talked to a few, though, passing along that “enough is enough” message. Moore, last in the National League in ERA (6.04), was not one who needed a reminder. 

“I’m sitting on a six right now with not a lot of wins and not enough team wins when I’m throwing,” he said. “It’s been 'enough' for me for the last couple of months.”