Giants need runs in Game 2 against Pirates

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Giants need runs in Game 2 against Pirates

Aug. 9, 2011

PITTSBURGH (55-59) vs.
GIANTS (63-53)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates' once-solid pitching staff fell apart during a 10-game losing skid, but they finally found a lineup they could handle in their opener against the San Francisco Giants.

Madison Bumgarner knows all too well about his team's offensive struggles.

Support has been hard to come by for Bumgarner, who tries to continue a stretch of solid pitching at home while hoping for some help Tuesday night as the Giants and Pirates continue this three-game set.

The sixth-best ERA in the majors (3.32) had Pittsburgh (55-59) in the thick of the NL Central race through July 28, but a staff that seemed to be maximizing its talent bottomed out over the next 10 days. The Pirates gave up 82 runs - 20 more than any other MLB team - during a 10-game skid that dropped them from 1 12 games out of first place to 10 back.

Pittsburgh got back to what had it in contention to begin with Monday night. Charlie Morton pitched eight strong innings and the Pirates went 5 for 13 with runners in scoring position in a 5-0 win.

"All in all, it was one of the better games we've had the last couple weeks," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's a good start. It's all we could do tonight to go play a complete ballgame."

The Giants (63-53) couldn't get a hit in 10 tries with runners on second or third - they're 4 for 40 in their last five games - though their lineup was hardly intimidating. Carlos Beltran sat out because of a strained right hand and wrist, an injury that isn't believed to be serious but prompted a precautionary MRI.

"As soon as I feel I can swing the bat, I'll be out there," Beltran said. "There are injuries where you can go out there and be under control. Swinging the bat is a huge part of the game. Throwing the ball is a huge part of the game."

He received treatment for the inflammation all day Monday and plans to test the hand with some simulation exercises Tuesday, but it's unclear whether he'll be able to return.

San Francisco certainly could use his help. The club still leads Arizona by one-half game in the NL West, but it has averaged 2.0 runs during a 2-9 stretch.

"This has been going on for a while and we need to do something about it," manager Bruce Bochy said of the Giants' offensive struggles. "It's not going to happen until we do come through with some clutch hitting."

A lack of support is nothing new to Bumgarner (6-11, 3.71 ERA), who's been given 2.73 runs per nine innings - third-worst in the majors.

The Giants have scored one run or fewer in 11 of his 23 starts, and they didn't give him any help Thursday. The left-hander held Philadelphia to two solo homers over eight innings - striking out nine - but lost 3-0, falling to 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA in three home outings since the All-Star break.

"Eight innings of great work by Bum," Bochy told the Giants' official website. "He should feel good about that outing."

Bumgarner fared well in his lone career start against the Pirates, holding them to one run over six innings at PNC Park on April 27. But again, San Francisco failed to score in a 2-0 loss.

James McDonald (7-5, 4.23) was the winner that day, limiting the Giants to four hits over six innings.

He gave up four hits Thursday against the Cubs as well, but they inflicted much more damage. Three left the park, and the right-hander ended up without a decision in Pittsburgh's 7-6 loss.

McDonald's road ERA (5.53) is nearly 2.5 runs higher than at home (3.08).

Giants release veteran infielder Gordon Beckham upon his request

Giants release veteran infielder Gordon Beckham upon his request

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants released veteran infielder Gordon Beckham on Thursday. Beckham had requested his release after being told he would not make the Opening Day roster.

The veteran infielder was in camp in hopes of winning a backup infield job, but in a crowded field, he was not headed for a spot. The Giants like Beckham's glove and love his presence in the clubhouse, but they're looking for bigger bats on their bench. Aaron Hill and Jae-gyun Hwang are among the newcomers who were ahead of Beckham on the depth chart.

"As is his right, he requested and was granted his release so he could look for other opportunities," general manager Bobby Evans said. "We were up against the clock. We needed to let him know where things stood. There are a number of (other) options here."

Beckham hit .217 with the Braves last season before being acquired by the Giants in the final week of the season. He would have been due a $100,000 bonus on March 28. The Giants were preparing to release him before that date.

Kyle Shanahan attends Stanford pro day, while John Lynch scouts QBs

Kyle Shanahan attends Stanford pro day, while John Lynch scouts QBs

STANFORD – Coach Kyle Shanahan remained in the Bay Area while a contingent of 49ers hit the road this week to scout quarterbacks Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer.

On Thursday, general manager John Lynch, personnel executives Adam Peters and Martin Mayhew, and quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello watched Notre Dame’s pro day, Shanahan remained close to home to watch Stanford prospects.

“We live right next door, so it’s easy to drive over and see it and I can go right back to the office,” Shanahan said. “They went out three days ago. So they have a whole week on the road and it’s been better for me to stay in the office with the film and get our coaching staff ready. In two weeks our players get here, so we got a lot to do.”

The 49ers’ offseason program can begin on April 3, but Shanahan has opted to spend another week preparing for the arrival of his veteran players.

Among the veterans who will be reporting for the offseason program are quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. The 49ers have not shown any interest in re-signing Colin Kaepernick.

“We’re pretty comfortable right now with the options that we’ve had and are available, but we never stop looking,” Shanahan said. “Every day something could pop up and you never know, so I’ll never tell you guys that we’re fully done because you never are.”

Lynch led the 49ers’ scouting effort this week to North Carolina, Clemson and Notre Dame. Shanahan, who will likely determine the direction the 49ers take at quarterback in the draft, said he will have plenty of time to evaluate the prospects up close.

“We haven’t mapped them all yet, but I’m sure I’ll do a couple private workouts, whether it’s me or our quarterbacks coach,” Shanahan said. “But one of us will do it – kind of spread us out a little bit.

“Most of the pro days, we get most of those videos anyway, so there are a few guys will have private workouts for, not just quarterbacks but other positions, too. Some guys you don’t have to do it with.”

The two headliners at Stanford’s pro day were defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and running back Christian McCaffrey. Thomas appears to be a strong candidate for the 49ers if they hold onto the No. 2 overall pick.