Giants tie it in 9th, but Cubs walk-off to win 2-1

493689.jpg

Giants tie it in 9th, but Cubs walk-off to win 2-1

June 29, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
CHICAGO (AP) Ryan Dempster wanted to stay in the game. He had only thrown 83 pitches, given up three hits, was ahead 1-0 in the ninth inning and had retired 20 straight hitters at one point.Dempster was pitching his best game of the season while winning a duel with two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants.Cubs manager Mike Quade still made the move for closer Carlos Marmol in the top of the ninth after Dempster gave up a leadoff double to pinch-hitter Pat Burrell.Marmol yielded a game-tying single to Emmanuel Burriss but then pitched out of a bases-loaded jam.The Cubs scored in the bottom half of the ninth on Aramis Ramirez's pinch-hit single for a 2-1 victory Wednesday night that ended the Giants' seven-game winning streak.
Giants Insider gallery: Dempster quiets Giants' bats
"We won the game. That's the most important thing," Dempster said. "A nice win after losing a doubleheader yesterday, to come back and go out there and win a game against a tough pitcher like that."Quade said he wanted Dempster to get the win and go the distance, if possible."I wanted to give him a shot. A walk or an extra-base hit in that situation, and I think I got to get Marmol in the game. A single? Maybe you let him try to pitch through it, at least another hitter," Quade said, adding he knew Dempster wanted to finish."I don't blame him, short of fighting me. It's a whole different animal if the pitch count is higher. He wants to finish the thing, and I want to bring a guy in that situation who is there regularly. Deep down, I don't want him losing that game, in spite of the pitch count. He didn't get a win. That's not going to take away from the performance."In the bottom of the ninth, Sergio Romo (3-1) gave up an infield single to leadoff batter Tony Campana, who moved to second on Reed Johnson's sacrifice. After a groundout moved him to third, Ramirez hit an 0-2 pitch to left to win it.After Burrell led off the ninth against Dempster with a double, Marmol relieved and struck out Andres Torres, but Burriss singled to center to score pinch-runner Bill Hall with Burriss taking second.URBAN: Second base not a pressing need for Giants
Pablo Sandoval was walked intentionally before Aubrey Huff blooped a ball to center that Campana couldn't catch and it fell for a single. Waiting to see if the ball would be caught, Burriss held and had to stop at third, loading the bases. Cody Ross then grounded into an inning-ending double play.Marmol got the win despite his fifth blown save in 21 chances.After Carlos Pena doubled in the seventh, Blake DeWitt hit an RBI single to put the Cubs ahead against Lincecum, who gave up five hits in seven innings."I felt pretty good. I missed with a couple pitches - changeup up to Pena, fastball over the plate, up to DeWitt, but other than that I felt like I carried a good rhythm through the game," Lincecum said."Fell behind too many guys 2-0 and had to battle back, but I felt like I settled down by the fourth inning."Dempster gave up a double to Sandoval in the first and another to Nate Schierholtz in the second. He then kept the Giants off base until Burrell doubled."It was fun competing like that," Dempster said. "Wasn't much room for error for sure. Going against him and you just try to keep executing pitches."Lincecum walked two and struck out nine. Dempster had no walks with six strikeouts."He established strikes every inning by throwing a lot of them, getting them out quick and keeping the ball down in the zone, throwing good strikes when he had to," Lincecum said of Dempster."That's what we get out of him every time we see him. He's a tough guy to face and showed it again tonight. That's what I've come to expect when I see him pitch."Notes: GM Jim Hendry says the Cubs won't be holding a fire sale at the trading deadline despite the team's dismal performance. Some of the team's younger talent, he said, isn't going anywhere. "Everybody thinks there is this automatic you have to be a buyer or a seller. ... We're certainly going to hold on to the people that we feel will be major contributors down the road." Acknowledging how disappointed everyone in the organization is by the Cubs' poor performance, Hendry vowed the team would not cash it in over the final three months. "We're not going to roll over and we're not going to pretend like it's, Oh poor us and wait until next year.' We're going to get after it and play good baseball the last 90 games." ... Game-time temperature was 65 and with a wind blowing in from right at 10 mph the ball didn't carry. ... The Giants were still undecided on their starting pitchers for Saturday and Sunday in interleague games at Detroit. Madison Bumgarner will start Friday. ... The division-leading Giants finished the halfway point of the season 46-35. A year ago, when they went on to win the World Series, they were 41-40 and in fourth place in the NL West, 7 12 games out of first.

Giants Notes: Blach shows resiliency; Another option in center?

blach_cubs.jpg
USATSI

Giants Notes: Blach shows resiliency; Another option in center?

CHICAGO — John Lackey's night started with a leadoff homer. Ty Blach's night started with a 13-pitch battle. Neither one is a positive for a pitcher, but Blach didn't view it that way. He actually appreciated Ben Zobrist stretching him out.

"It's good to have a battle like that and get you locked in," Blach said. "It gets you focused and you'll be like, I can execute and get guys out. It's good. It's a good battle."

There, in a nutshell, is so much of what Bruce Bochy loves about his young left-hander. The Giants have found Blach's arm and resolve to be remarkably resilient. He wasn't bothered when they moved him to the bullpen and he didn't get too high when they moved him back to the rotation. He is the same after seven shutout innings or three poor ones. Bochy smiled when asked about the Zobrist at-bat, which ended in a strikeout looking. 

"How 'bout that?" the manager said. "He won that at-bat. It seems like the advantage goes to the hitter, seeing all those pitches. He kept his focus and got a called strikeout and here he is pitching in the eighth inning."

After needing 13 pitches for one out, Blach got the next 23 on 81 pitches. Bochy thought Blach tired a bit in the eighth, but the deep effort allowed Bochy to mix and match in the bullpen, and ultimately he found the right mix. Hunter Strickland and Mark Melancon closed it out and got Blach his second win.

--- From last night, Joe Panik's huge night helped give Blach an early lead. With the help of Ron Wotus and his shift charts, he also put on a show defensively.

--- We're trying something new right after the final pitch: Here are five quick takeaways from the 6-4 win.

--- The options game sent Kelby Tomlinson back to Triple-A on Wednesday when the Giants activated Melancon, but his latest stint in Sacramento comes with a twist. Tomlinson started his third consecutive game in center field on Monday. The Giants are getting a bit more serious about their longtime plan to make Tomlinson a super-utility player. 

“Tommy is a valuable guy in the majors and if we can give him some experience in the outfield, it gives you more flexibility and versatility,” manager Bruce Bochy said. 

This is not Tomlinson’s first foray into the outfield. He did work there in the offseason after the 2015 season and he has played 25 big league innings in left field the last two seasons. This is Tomlinson’s first real experience with center field, and while in the past he has said that the transition isn’t as easy as some might think, Bochy is confident Tomlinson can figure it out. He certainly has the speed to be a semi-regular in the outfield, and the Giants aren’t exactly brimming with quality center field options behind Denard Span, who is dealing with his second injury of the season. 

“It’s a little different now,” Bochy said when asked about Tomlinson’s past experiences in the outfield. “He’s in Sacramento doing it, and knowing there’s a possibility we could need help in the outfield.”

If the switch doesn’t come in handy this season, it could in 2018. Bochy compared Tomlinson’s infield-outfield ability to Eduardo Nuñez, who has found regular playing time in left but is a free agent after the year. 

--- Hunter Pence did some light running in the outfield before Monday’s game. Bochy said Pence is still about a week away from being an option.

--- Bochy has said it a few times now when asked about the standings, so it’s officially a new motto for a team that got off to a brutal start: “We’ve put ourselves in a great situation for a great story.”

--- They're starting to get a little grumpy around here with their team hovering around .500. Perhaps the Cubs thought they could fool a few on the way out of Wrigley.

This is the NBA Finals that will define the Warriors forever

This is the NBA Finals that will define the Warriors forever

There are no more ways to extol the virtues of the Golden State Warriors without redundancy. They have owned three consecutive regular seasons and three consecutive Western Conference playoffs, and just finished savaging the last one faster than any team since the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers, who didn’t have to play as many games as these Warriors did.

But now the season begins, and in the pass-fail world of the NBA Finals, this is the one that will define the Warriors for the ages.

After mugging the San Antonio Spurs, 129-115, to close out the West final in the minimum number of sanctioned events, the Warriors now wait for the resolution of Cleveland-Boston to begin the final assault on their destiny.

They did so without giving in to their occasional predilection for easing up on the throttle. They took an early lead, widened it slowly and carefully and made damned sure the Spurs never felt like they could do as the Celtics had done the night before in Cleveland. The Warriors were coldly efficient (well, okay, those 17 turnovers were bothersome but not ultimately an issue) at both ends of the floor and all points inbetween, and the result and its margin were both fair representations of the difference between the two teams.

In dispatching the Spurs, they became the first team ever to put 120 points on a Gregg Popovich-coached team three consecutive times; indeed the only time Popovich ever had one of his teams allow 120 in back-to-back games was when the 2005 team that eventually won the NBA title beat the Los Angeles Clippers and Warriors, both in overtime.

And while this series will be remembered as the one in which the Spurs had the least amount of weaponry, it will also be the one in which the Warriors will be remembered for wasting only one of the eight halves they played. It is difficult, in other words, to make the case that San Antonio would have won the series even with Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker. We do know it would still be going on, but the outcome seems only slightly more in doubt in such a case.

But as this affects the Warriors, this next series will dictate all of it. Win, and they can claim a mini-dynasty. Lose, and they will damned in the court of public opinion in ways that make last year’s 3-1 memes seem downright charitable.

It is the price they pay for being very good already and then adding Kevin Durant without giving up anything of real substance. It’s the price they pay for wanting it all and then doubling down for more.

People and teams who did that are not treated kindly unless they win everything that can be won, and the Warriors are now that team – like the Yankees of lore and Patriots of today, they are the standard of both excellence and excess, and marrying the two without danger is not possible, as they learned a year ago.

But that was then, Draymond Green’s wayward hand and five minutes of 0-for-everything shooting is just history. They can adapt and avenge if not eradicate the hard lesson of 2016 and be thought of as the team they all believe themselves to be.

All they have to do is take the Celtics or Cavaliers and ender them inert. They don’t have to do it in four games; chasing numbers is a fool’s errand as they discovered last year chasing the now-meaningless 73.

They just have to do it four times, and if they play as they have, winning 12 consecutive games by an average margin of 16 points and change  against three other quality teams, they will succeed at the hardest level basketball can create. And whatever people may say of them good or ill, they will have achieved what was demanded of them by both supporter and detractor alike.

And that, to paraphrase Kevin Durant, is what they came to do. Win the thing, and not worry about the numbers -- especially not the style points.