Cain takes hard-luck loss; Giants fall 2-1 to Phils

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Cain takes hard-luck loss; Giants fall 2-1 to Phils

Aug. 6, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The toughest matchup for Cole Hamels might've come against teammate Cliff Lee.Hamels pitched a seven-hitter for his first win in two weeks and the Philadelphia Phillies won their season-high ninth in a row, beating the San Francisco Giants 2-1 Saturday.Hamels made a pair of first-inning runs hold up as the Phillies, with the best record in the majors, defeated the Giants for the third straight day.Two days after Lee threw a shutout, Hamels (13-6) blanked the Giants until Pablo Sandoval's two-out home run in the ninth inning. Hamels struck out five and faced five batters more than the minimum while dominating the defending World Series champs.RATTO: No wine for Bochy as Giant bats stay silent
Hamels had only one victory in his previous four starts and lost to San Francisco 2-1 on July 27 despite pitching into the eighth inning and allowing only two runs and six hits.He was even stronger in the rematch and got better results."I was one out away from a shutout," Hamels said with a grin. "Cliff just got one. We're all trying to compete against each other."Hamels, who hadn't won since July 22, faced the minimum through three innings, then gave up back-to-back singles in the fourth. He quickly worked out of the jam, striking out Carlos Beltran on three pitches before Sandoval grounded into a 4-6-3 double play in the first pitch.San Francisco didn't get another runner until the seventh, and had two on with two outs in the eighth but failed to score each time.All but three of the 27 outs recorded by the All-Star left-hander were made by the infield. Philadelphia also backed Hamels with two double plays in a game that took 2 hours, 14 minutes.
Giants Insider gallery: Anatomy of a Brawl
"Any time you can win a series it's big and any time you can win on the road it's big," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We know how good the Giants can be but at the same time if we play the way we're capable of playing and stay relaxed and focused ... that works for us."The game was far less testy than Friday night's 9-2 Phillies win, which included the ejection of three players following a bench-clearing brawl in the sixth inning.Matt Cain (9-8) allowed only three hits over eight innings but took the loss, his second straight. San Francisco has dropped eight of nine since taking two of three games from the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.Jimmy Rollins doubled high off the wall in right-center leading off the game, and after Chase Utley drew a one-out walk and Howard struck out, Hunter Pence hit a bloop single to right to drive in Rollins.Utley tried to take third on the play and appeared to be out following a strong throw by Nate Schierholtz, but Sandoval bobbled the ball, allowing Utley to reach safely. Three pitches later he scored on a passed ball to make it 2-0."We got to him early but after that he was tough," said Ryan Howard, who struck out three times before singling in the ninth. "He got into some situations where it could have gone bad, and Cole got into some situations where it could have gone bad, but they got out of them."The Giants are hitless in 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position in the three games against the Phillies this weekend. Over its last 16 games, San Francisco is batting .157 (16 for 102) with runners in scoring position.It got so bad that first baseman and crowd favorite Aubrey Huff was booed loudly by the home crowd after grounding out to Hamels."We had more hits than they did, we just couldn't get the big hit," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You don't win the World Series unless you can beat good pitching. Right now we're not doing that."Before the game, Bochy said he expects to hear soon from Major League Baseball about penalties for Friday's bench-clearing brawl.San Francisco reliever Ramon Ramirez and catcher Eli Whiteside were both ejected along with Philadelphia center fielder Shane Victorino.Victorino was booed during pregame introductions and every at-bat by the sellout crowd at AT&T Park, but there were no other lingering effects from the fight.Cain nearly matched Hamels, retiring 20 of the final 22 batters he faced after giving up both Philadelphia runs in the first. The right-hander struck out eight and walked two."I made a couple of mistakes early," Cain said. "The way Hamels was throwing the ball, that was enough."NOTES: Friday's winning pitcher, Vance Worley, is the first Phillies rookie to win six games over a seven-game stretch since Bob Walk in 1980. ... Phillies 3B Placido Polanco left the game with soreness in his left hip. ... Philadelphia has an NL-best 28-11 record during day games. ... Giants reliever Sergio Romo has retired 30 consecutive batters, the longest streak in the majors. ... Philadelphia homered in its previous eight games, the team's longest streak since 2009. ... RHP Tim Lincecum (9-9) has six straight quality starts against the Phillies and will try to stop the Giants' slide when he opposes RHP Roy Oswalt (4-6) in Sunday's series finale. Oswalt will be making his first start since going on the disabled list with lower back inflammation on June 24. He was activated following Saturday's game. LHP Juan Perez was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make room.

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

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USATSI

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Danny Hoesen scored his second goal of the season and assisted on Marco Urena's second goal, lifting the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

Hoesen opened the scoring in the 13th minute, off a long cross from Nick Lima. After touching the ball down, Hoesen gathered it off a defender's foot, stepped inside and unleashed a left footer into the top corner from just off the penalty spot.

Hoesen's long through ball down the right side sent Urena free and from a tight angle he rolled the ball past Nick Rimando in the 68th minute.

San Jose (6-6-5), which has battled injuries and call-ups to score just 16 goals in 16 games, won for just the second time in its last seven games.

Lima picked up two yellow cards in the second half and the Quakes played a man down from the 71st minute.

David Bingham made only one save in each half but was denied his seventh shutout when Jose Hernandez scored his second goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Salt Lake (5-11-2).

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.

The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24. 

Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."

Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.

With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.

Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1. 

In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four. 

Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0-for-4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided. 

Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months. 

“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”