Giants score on two errors and a balk to win 1-0

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Giants score on two errors and a balk to win 1-0

June 25, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Even for a team that regularly wins close games, the San Francisco Giants couldn't remember an inning like they had Saturday.Two errors. A slip on the bases. And a balk that happened so fast some didn't even see it.Tony Sipp balked home the only run with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, giving the Giants a 1-0 win over the error-prone Cleveland Indians on Saturday for their fourth straight victory."We've had some weird ways to win," said Giants bearded closer Brian Wilson, who pitched a scoreless ninth for his 23rd save in 25 chances. "That one's definitely up there."Sipp slightly flinched his left arm before even throwing a pitch to Emmanuel Burriss, allowing Miguel Tejada to score from third and gift-wrapping San Francisco's major league-leading 17th one-run victory at home. There also were two errors in the inning by second baseman Cord Phelps that spoiled a strong start by Justin Masterson (5-6).Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he completely missed the play in live action. Burriss knew immediately, stepping out of the batters box and signaling repeatedly. The Indians knew it and did not protest home plate umpire Bob Davidson's call."It was just a mental lapse," Sipp said. "Went up for the set, didn't see the sign that I had in mind. I was supposed to stay set until I actually got a sign that I liked but I started moving too early and paused. Put my hand up a little bit and was going to try to keep going with my hands and just step off, but by that time they had already caught it."The Indians didn't do much else all day.Matt Cain (7-4) pitched seven-plus innings of four-hit ball in another strong outing for San Francisco's right-hander. He struck out six and walked one to keep the offensively challenged Giants close."Those are the ones that are tough to lose," Cain said, "but great to win."A day that began with bad news for the Indians ended even worse.Cleveland right fielder Shin-Soo Choo said he will likely have surgery on his broken left thumb after it was hit a night earlier by a pitch from Jonathan Sanchez. Suddenly, the Indians, who began the day with a one-game lead over Detroit in the AL Central, are losing their grip.By no fault of Masterson, everything started to unravel in a wild seventh.Even the Giants almost blew it.Nate Schierholtz hit a ball into the left-center field gap to start the inning, hustling around second to try for a triple only to slip halfway between the bases. He was tagged out easily in a rundown.Then Tejada reached on a throwing error by Phelps that pulled first baseman Jack Hannahan off the bag. Two batters later, Cain hit a chopper up the middle that Phelps couldn't corral for his second error.Sipp entered and walked Andres Torres on eight pitches to load the bases. Before he even threw another pitch, Sipp flinched his left arm ever-so slightly on the rubber and was called for a balk to give the Giants a 1-0 lead."It's not frustrating," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "You shouldn't put yourself in that spot. We put ourselves in that spot by making the two errors and the walk."Making things even worse for the Indians, they squandered an opportunity to answer back with a baserunning gaff.Pinch-runner Adam Everett was tagged out in a rundown between third and home on a groundball with one out in the eighth. Michael Brantley, standing on second, didn't advance to third - and he might've scored on a passed ball later in the inning on a pitch by Javier Lopez.For most of the day, Cain was untouchable.After allowing leadoff singles to Brantley and Phelps in the first, Cain retired 14 straight batters with a dominating fastball that had pinpoint control. The streak ended with an inside pitch that hit Austin Kearns with two outs in the fifth, about the only time either starting pitcher lost his rhythm.Masterson exited after 5 2-3 innings, allowing the one unearned run on four hits. He struck out five and walked two, but his team gave him little support.The closest Cleveland came to getting a run off Cain came in the sixth, when Brantley doubled leading off. Cain induced two quick groundouts, walked Carlos Santana and then got Grady Sizemore to pop out to first.NOTES: Indians 1B Matt LaPorta (sprained right ankle) will join the team in Cincinnati on Friday and take batting practice. ... The Giants placed Sanchez on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his left biceps. LHP Barry Zito, who hasn't pitched in the majors since he sprained his right foot on April 16 fielding a bunt, was activated. ... The announced crowd of 42,130 was San Francisco 36th consecutive sellout to start the season.

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

MESA, Ariz. — Khris Davis enjoyed quite an offseason travel itinerary, checking out Toronto, taking in the beaches of Hawaii and dining on lobster in Belize.

However, it was the time spent in his adopted hometown of Oakland that most struck a chord with the A’s left fielder. After finishing his first season with the A’s, Davis followed through on his plan to make his offseason home in Oakland, and he was glad he did.

“I got to just feel the heart of the city,” he said upon arriving at camp Sunday. “That was basically the purpose of why I was there. … I wanted to feel Oakland. I love it, honestly. I love the city.”

He trained at Dogtown Athletic, a gym in West Oakland. He took part in the A’s holiday party for kids at the Oakland Zoo, joined by A’s Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who grew up in the city.

“Just to feel these kids’ happiness,” Davis said. “They didn’t look at me as a baseball player. They just looked at me as a role model kind of.”

It should be music to the ears of A’s fans that the team’s most dangerous hitter has a love affair with the city he plays in. If the A’s ever entertained the idea of trying to sign Davis to a multi-year extension, and that’s purely hypothetical here, it would help that Davis feels comfortable in his surroundings.

Even when he described Oakland in edgy terms, such as when he said it “has its dark side,” he seemed to find it endearing.

In return, Davis felt the love from the fan base in 2016, hitting a career-high 42 homers with a team-best 102 RBI. That was despite the awful start he got off to, hitting .143 and mustering just one RBI over his first 12 games.

Obviously, any chances the A’s have of improving last year’s American League-worst offense rely on the 29-year-old Davis having another big year. But over-analysis is one thing he tries to avoid.

“I don’t want to get caught up in last year — the slow start and the strong finish, whatever,” he said. “However it was, I’m just ready to do this year.”

Davis decided to back out of his plan to play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, saying his main priority was preparing for his A’s season.

“My main focus is to perform for the organization,” he said. “I feel like I want to get off on the right foot this year.”

NOTEWORTHY: Heavy showers continued to pelt Mesa on Sunday, spoiling the A’s first full-squad workout. The hitters were relegated to swinging in the cages and playing catch, while pitchers were scheduled for a day off from throwing on the mound anyway.

“If ever there was a day, at least for the pitchers, that you don’t need to (work out), it’s today,” manager Bob Melvin said. “But when you have everybody there on the first day, you wanna get out on the field and do everything. Hopefully we can incorporate everything tomorrow.”

The A’s have a whopping 70 players in camp, more than in any other spring Melvin can remember as a big league manager. He addressed the full team in a meeting Sunday morning.

His message?

“We’re gonna have to outwork, out-hustle everybody like we have in the past,” he said, “and get back to playing the game with the same tenacity that we did a couple years ago.”

FAMILIAR FACE: Longtime A’s second baseman Mark Ellis is back for the second year in a row as a spring infield instructor. The plan is for Ellis to spend a week with the team now, then another week later in camp.

“I’ll take Mark Ellis as many days as I can have him,” Melvin said.

LIGHTER SIDE: Nursing his broken right foot, starting pitcher Daniel Mengden has been making his way through the clubhouse on a knee scooter in order to keep pressure off his foot.

Apparently, it looks more fun than it really is.

“I contribute to society Friday, when I can start walking again,” Mengden quipped.

Giants spring training Day 7: Rule change should help Bochy

Giants spring training Day 7: Rule change should help Bochy

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — On one of the many nights last season when his bullpen imploded, Bruce Bochy nearly put a catcher on the mound. Trevor Brown ended up playing an inning of third base on June 28 as the Giants gave up eight runs over the final two innings in a brutal loss to the A’s, and he said this week that he was told he was the next man up on the mound. 

That night was an odd one, as a tired bullpen was waiting for Sergio Romo to get activated off a rehab assignment and trying to get by without long reliever Chris Stratton, who had thrown 57 pitches out of the ‘pen the night before. The bench was also short because Joe Panik was about to be put on the concussion DL.

Bochy hopes he doesn’t have to deal with such a situation this season, and not just because the bullpen should be much improved. The disabled list lasts 10 days now, not 15, and Bochy is thrilled with the new rule.

“The DL thing, I really like it,” he said. “You get caught in that gray area so often.” 

Bochy met with league officials on Saturday to go over some of the rule changes. DL stints can now be made retroactive just three days, but it’s still a vast improvement overall. 

“With (position) players and pitchers it’s going to make it easier to DL guys,” Bochy said. “If you’re looking at (starting) pitchers, they could miss just one start.”

The Giants have often played a man or more short, trying to get by day-by-day to give a position player or starter time to heal. Around camp, this could be called the Angel Pagan Rule, as the former Giants outfielder often missed a week or so before officially going on the DL. At times, Bochy has been patient with players like Buster Posey and Hunter Pence, knowing that even if they missed a week, keeping them off the DL could still earn the Giants seven or eight games with a big bat back in the lineup. If a future diagnosis is that a player will miss a week, it’ll be much easier to swallow putting him on the 10-day DL than it was for the 15-day. Likewise, the Giants will take advantage of the change if a pitcher will have to miss a start. 

Bochy has said often that he would like every reliever to go on the DL during the season to freshen up. That’ll make more sense now, and it should keep the Giants from having to play as many games where the bullpen is gassed and a backup catcher is preparing to pitch. For guys like Stratton — a versatile pitcher on the 40-man roster — it should also lead to increased trips up to the big leagues to fill gaps. 

INJURY UPDATE: Pence (side muscle) took 25 swings during a live BP session in the cage and Bochy said he’s doing much better. That was about the only significant activity Sunday. Once again, the workout was rained out. Bochy said the Giants have enough time to get guys ready for the Cactus League opener on Feb. 24, but they’ll likely hold some big-name pitchers out of the early games. Brandon Crawford and Posey will get plenty of early starts to prepare for the WBC. 

PROSPECT WATCH: If the early games are turned over to prospects, Dan Slania will be an interesting guy to watch. Slania is listed at 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, so he always had the look of an imposing reliever. But his greatest success last season came after a surprise move to the rotation. 

Slania, a 2013 fifth-round pick out of Notre Dame, got a call on his 24th birthday telling him to prepare to start because of an injury in Richmond’s rotation. He had not started a game since high school, but his four-pitch mix worked. He had a 5.32 ERA out of the bullpen but it dropped to 1.48 in 10 starts for the Flying Squirrels. In two Triple-A starts, he struck out 14 over 13 innings while allowing just eight hits and two runs. The Giants put him on their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. 

“He had a great year last year,” Bochy said. “He’s in camp for a reason. He’s got great stuff and a good makeup.”

RULE CHANGE: One more thing that came out of that rules meeting: Managers who are out of challenges now have to wait until the eighth inning to ask an umpire to look at a play.

QUOTABLE: “We know he’s better off taking some days. We talked about it (with him). He agrees that it’ll help him.” Bochy on Pence’s workload. The right fielder is coming off two injury-marred seasons, and the Giants have no intention of even trying to get him back to his Iron Man days.