Giants seek support for Bumgarner vs. D'backs

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Giants seek support for Bumgarner vs. D'backs

June 15, 2011

GIANTS (38-29) vs.
ARIZONA (37-31)

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

ARIZONA (AP) -- After showing some offensive life to win the opener of a key road series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Francisco Giants hope to provide Madison Bumgarner with some rare support in their next contest.

Bumgarner looks to avoid a third straight losing start and help the NL West-leading Giants beat the Diamondbacks for a fifth consecutive time Wednesday night.

San Francisco (38-29) had scored more than five runs only once in its previous 10 games, but won 6-5 at Arizona on Tuesday to increase its lead to 1 12 games over the Diamondbacks (37-31). The Giants improved to 6-1 in the season series, and have won each of the last four meetings by one run.

REWIND: Giants hold off D-Backs, preserve win for Cain

"Doesn't matter the team, we usually play tight games," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We don't have too many games that get out of hand either way."

San Francisco has scored at least five runs in each of its games this season at Chase Field, where it has gone 3-1 this year and has won nine of 11.

The Giants hope to give similar support to Bumgarner (2-8, 3.23 ERA), who has gotten either one run or none from the offense in seven of his starts. The right-hander limited Cincinnati to one run over seven innings Thursday, but wound up on the losing end of a 3-0 score.

RELATED: Madison Bumgarner 2011 game logs

It was the third time this season the Giants got shut out with Bumgarner on the mound

"He knows he (does) all he can do to win a ballgame," Bochy said. "We just have to get this figured out. It's gone on longer than even I thought it would."

Bumgarner has received an average 5.88 runs of support while going 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four career starts versus Arizona. His worst of those outings came April 17, when he allowed four runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-5, 12-inning loss at Chase Field.

Cody Ross had a two-run double and scored on a double steal as the Giants took a 5-0 lead Tuesday, then needed to hold on late. Ross is 5 for 15 with three RBIs in four games against the Diamondbacks this season.

Teammate Pablo Sandoval was 1 for 4 with an RBI in his first game after missing 1 12 months with a broken hand. Sandoval is batting .366 with 19 RBIs in 24 career games at Arizona.

URBAN: Sandoval, Giants pumped on Panda

Joe Saunders (3-6, 4.56) takes the ball for the Diamondbacks looking to bounce back after he allowed five runs on three homers in six innings of a 6-4 loss at Florida on Friday.

The left-hander had been 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

"He made some mistakes, they pounded him, it's going to happen from time to time," manager Kirk Gibson said.

Saunders was not much better in his only career appearance against San Francisco on April 16, giving up five runs and 12 hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-3 home loss.

Catcher Miguel Montero hit a three-run homer Tuesday for the Diamondbacks, who have still won four of six. Montero is 9 for 22 with two home runs, five doubles and nine RBIs in his last five games, but is 0 for 7 lifetime versus Bumgarner.

Giants Notes: Marrero hopes to be back; Posey faces Romo

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Giants Notes: Marrero hopes to be back; Posey faces Romo

SAN FRANCISCO — About 45 minutes after the Giants announced that Chris Marrero had been designated for assignment, the left fielder walked up to the locker of one of the newcomers. Marrero patted Christian Arroyo on the back and shook his hand, congratulating him for his first call-up to the big leagues. 

“That’s my boy,” he said later. “I was really happy for him.”

The Arroyo promotion and the addition of Drew Stubbs signaled the end of Marrero’s April run in the lineup. He was cut and Aaron Hill was put on the disabled list, clearing two roster spots. Just as Arroyo forced his way up with three huge weeks in Triple-A, Marrero forced his way onto the opening day roster with a monster spring that included eight homers. He had just five hits in 38 at-bats before Monday’s moves.

“The team is struggling and we’ve got to make some moves,” Marrero said. “I believe in myself and I’ll go down and get back to how I felt in spring training. This is what I’ve worked for my whole life. I lost the feel that I had in the spring. Things were a little rushed. I came in and worked hard every day to try and find it. I’m going to keep working. I haven’t lost confidence in myself.”

Marrero was put in a bit of a tough spot. He played just about every day in Scottsdale because he was trying to win a job, and when he finally did make it, some Giants coaches felt he was a bit worn down. The team’s brutal start to the season put a glaring spotlight on left field, and this move became obvious over time.

Marrero said he likes it here, and that if he isn’t claimed, he will go to Triple-A Sacramento and try to find that spring swing and get back up here. Count Bruce Bochy among those hoping it goes down that way. 

“We thought a lot of him and still do,” Bochy said. “He’s a good hitter.”

--- Arroyo had a 4.4 GPA in high school, so the Giants knew he was smart. He’s savvy, too. There’s nothing like picking up the longest-tenured player on the team, literally. After snagging a ricochet in the fourth inning last night, Arroyo kept running and lifted Cain off the grass. They then chest-bumped. 

“That just kind of happened,” Arroyo said. “He hit it, I looked at Cain going down and saw the ball, went running and got it, instincts took over. I made a throw and got the guy. It was a fun play. In that moment, I was just pumped up. It’s one of those plays you get excited over.”

Arroyo said he heard Cain yelling and he thought he was hurt, so that’s why he ran over. Cain did have an X-ray on the foot that got hit but it came back negative. 

“Christian did a great job handling himself,” Cain said. “He picked me up big-time.”

The best part of the play came hours after it was made. As Cain talked to reporters, Brandon Crawford — who was in position to scoop the grounder in the fourth — was standing at his locker, a few feet away.

“Let it go through next time,” he said softly.

--- Denard Span was out on the field Monday afternoon, but he’ll miss another two to four days with that right shoulder injury. This will truly be a day-to-day situation. If at any point the Giants feel they need coverage, Span can be put on the 10-day DL. 

--- Hill apparently felt discomfort after playing long toss on the road trip. He can swing a bat but he was going to be kept from throwing for three to four days, so he was put on the DL.

--- This spring, Posey was asked about facing Sergio Romo. Here was his long tendencies-filled answer. Posey faced Romo in the eighth and flied out. 

"It was a little weird, I'm not going to lie," he said. "I caught him for so long. It's definitely interesting being in the batter's box instead of being the plate."

Was there a nod or "hey what's up" look between the two?

"I've caught him long enough to know you don't look at him," Posey said, smiling. 

--- If you missed it, the standing ovation for Romo was a very, very cool moment. Also, here's my story on Madison Bumgarner, who spoke for the first time since his injury. And here's the first story on Arroyo, with a fun anecdote about his mom. She'll be in the stands Tuesday. And finally, my game story from last night. 

Four takeaways from Warriors' first-round sweep of Blazers

Four takeaways from Warriors' first-round sweep of Blazers

PORTLAND -- Four games, four quarters to each and the Warriors are on to the next round of the postseason.

Here are four things we learned about these Warriors in the wake of their four-game sweep of the Trail Blazers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

IT’S A TEAM THING: The Warriors lost All-Star forward Kevin Durant in Game 1, came back and won Game 2. They lost head coach Steve Kerr before Game 3, went out and fashioned one of the biggest comebacks in franchise postseason history. They are constructed in such a way that the collective is strong enough to overcome the loss of one man. They won this series in a walk despite being shorthanded for the last three games and without their head coach for the last two. This team and this staff are bigger than any individual.

JAVALE McGEE MATTERS: By last Sept. 16 the summer was all but gone and every coveted player NBA player had been accounted for. That’s when the Warriors signed McGee with the hope that he could provide some length and athleticism on the block, if only for a few minutes a night -- and, surely, some nights not at all. McGee was the last man to make the team, and here he was dominating a Trail Blazers team that, to be fair, lacked a healthy center. He was special in this series, and what he provides will be needed as the Warriors move forward.

DRAYMOND’S VALUE IS BEYOND MEASURE: There were so many examples during the regular season that illustrated Draymond Green’s significance to the Warriors. He topped them all in this series. He defended, at some point, every member of the Portland team. He rebounded. He made 3-pointers. He blocked 17 shots. The Blazers tried him early but quickly become discouraged at attacking whenever he was on the court. He disrupted their offense in more ways than they could have imagined. As a bonus, he avoided notable run-ins with officials.

SPLASHING NOT NEEDED: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were fabulous in the second half of Game 3 and Curry stood out in Game 4. But by the time the Splash Brothers found their offensive groove, the Warriors were up 2-0 in the series and rallying behind their defense en route to taking Game 3. The battle of the backcourts, logically deemed a critical factor in this series, was a virtual statistical standoff. Curry/Thompson combined for 192 points, while Damian Lillard 111 and CJ McCollum totaled 201. If it’s the numbers are that close, the Warriors will win every series, and probably sweep.