Cubs stun Giants in the 13th, win 5-2

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Cubs stun Giants in the 13th, win 5-2

June 30, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
CHICAGO (AP) Geovany Soto was waiting for a fastball as he stepped to the plate in the 13th inning. It never came, and it didn't matter.Soto delivered a pinch-hit, three-run homer that capped a four-run rally with two outs in the 13th inning and sent the Chicago Cubs to a wild 5-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.Soto's drive finished off an eventful day for the Cubs.Starter Carlos Zambrano left in the second inning because of soreness in his lower back, then Aramis Ramirez hit a tying home run in the ninth off San Francisco closer Brian Wilson.The Giants were leading 2-1 after a solo shot by Pablo Sandoval in the top of the 13th off John Grabow (1-0), but the Cubs struck back in the bottom half against Ramon Ramirez (2-1).Jeff Baker doubled with two outs and scored the tying run on a single by Darwin Barney, who had checked his swing on the previous pitch - an 0-2 slider. Ramirez then intentionally walked Starlin Castro, and Soto, batting for Grabow, launched a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left to give the Cubs the win and the series split."I was just trying to get a fastball. See it. Time it. He never threw one," Soto said after hitting the first game-ending homer of his career. "On 3-2, I just try to see the ball, see it up, breaking pitch up. I knew Pena was on deck and a lefty. He left it a little bit up, and I put good wood on it. It feels unbelievable."Chicago will take that after dropping a day-night doubleheader before pulling out a 2-1 win on Wednesday. The Cubs will try for their first three-game winning streak this season when they open a weekend series against the White Sox on Friday.The Giants managed just five hits and went 10 1-3 innings without one before Sandoval went deep, wasting another dominant start by Matt Cain."We've got to get these bats going," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We've got some guys who are scuffling. So, we'll have to make some changes here."Even so, they were in line to win this one. But they just couldn't close it out."You have to make the last three outs," Sandoval said. "Two outs. Two strikes. We lost the game."Ramirez, whose pinch-hit single in the ninth gave the Cubs their victory a day earlier, came up big again with his team trailing 1-0 in the ninth and Wilson going for his major league-leading 25th save. He drove a 3-1 pitch out to left for his 299th career homer and 10th this season."He's not only a great hitter, but a great clutch hitter," Cubs catcher Koyie Hill said. "The last two days, he's proven that."And Soto? Well, no one appreciated that homer more than Hill, who caught the entire game."We're pretty tight, but we're really tight today," Hill said. "That was nice. That was fun for him to hit that."The Giants loaded the bases against Grabow in the 12th on walks to Cody Ross and Nate Schierholtz to start the inning and an intentional pass to Miguel Tejada with one out. But they came away with nothing when pinch-hitter Aubrey Huff flied to shallow center and Aaron Rowand lined to right.Cain pitched four-hit ball over seven scoreless innings for his second straight start. He struck out six and walked one, just as he did in his previous outing against Cleveland.For the Cubs, it was an alarming sight to see Zambrano leaving early. He arrived at the ballpark in discomfort, and his day ended when he threw a ball to Eli Whiteside after an RBI single by Tejada.He started stretching his back, and trainer Mark O'Neal and pitching coach Mark Riggins rushed out with manager Mike Quade following. Marcos Mateo then relieved with the Giants leading 1-0. That was all for Zambrano, who got booed as he walked off the mound.Zambrano has struggled at times this season but had been pitching well of late, going at least seven innings in his previous two starts against the White Sox and Kansas City.Mateo tossed five scoreless innings in relief, striking out six without a walk. Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, James Russell each pitched one inning.Carlos Marmol worked the 10th and 11th, and Grabow escaped a bases-loaded jam in the 12th before giving up the home run in the 13th."God bless Mateo," Quade said. "Are you kidding me? The whole bullpen, obviously, was great, but he was better than great, to give us that length and that quality. Man, oh, man, what a great job by that kid. Saved us. Helped us win the game. Helped us for tomorrow. Just a huge effort."NOTES: Cubs reliever Kerry Wood, out with a blister on his right index finger, expects to come off the DL in time for this weekend's series against the White Sox. ... Cubs OF Marlon Byrd will likely rejoin the team Monday in Washington. He's been out since May 21 with facial fractures sustained when he was beaned by Boston's Alfredo Aceves. ... Bochy is leaning toward having Barry Zito start Saturday against Detroit. ... Wilson had gone 44 outings without allowing a homer, since serving one up against the Dodgers on Sept. 15, 2010.

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.”