Giants turn to Sanchez in series opener vs. Tribe

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Giants turn to Sanchez in series opener vs. Tribe

June 24, 2011

GIANTS (41-34) vs.
CLEVELAND (40-33)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Travis Hafner has provided a big boost to the Cleveland Indians' lineup since returning from the disabled list a week ago. For the next nine games, however, the designated hitter won't be making nearly the same impact.

A visit with the San Francisco Giants begins a nine-game trip to NL parks for the Indians, who could be hurting offensively as Hafner is limited to pinch-hitting duties.

Cleveland (40-33) scored an AL-low 85 runs in the 28 games Hafner missed from mid-May to mid-June and hit a major league-worst .220 - 51 points lower than when the slugger was healthy.

RELATED: Travis Haffner 2011 game logs

The Indians have averaged nearly five runs a game since he returned, and Hafner has driven in seven runs in just 17 at-bats. His lone hit Wednesday against Colorado wound up making the difference, a two-run sixth-inning homer that propelled Cleveland to a 4-3 win.

"He's at his peak right now," manager Manny Acta said. "He's so locked in at the plate. It's just sad we are not going to be able to see him out there for nine days. Very sad."

Hafner hasn't played the field since 2007, and the Indians' interleague road struggles have been rather evident ever since he's been a full-time DH. They're 6-21 in NL parks since 2008, hitting .231 and averaging 3.81 runs. At home, where they're 17-19 in interleague in that stretch, they're batting .259 and averaging 4.95 runs.

Hafner's power, however, may be a bit wasted at AT&T Park anyway. Just 27 homers have been hit in the Giants' home - 11 fewer than any other venue in baseball.

San Francisco (41-34) has had one bad inning at home in interleague play - Monday's first inning in which Minnesota scored eight runs and chased Madison Bumgarner.

REWIND: Bumgarner historically bad, Giants fall to Twins

In the Giants' other 56 interleague home innings, they've surrendered eight runs. Ryan Vogelsong pitched seven strong innings in Tuesday's 5-1 win, then Tim Lincecum struck out 12 in a 2-1 victory Wednesday.

REWIND: Lincecum strikes out 12 in Giants' win
San Francisco has needed stellar pitching to have a chance. Wednesday was the 31st time the Giants have scored two runs or fewer - including six of their last seven games - but manager Bruce Bochy says it's not for a lack of effort.

"They've been out there the last two days at 3 o'clock trying to get things working," Bochy told the team's official website. "As long as you do that, you'll get better."

San Francisco could be in for more trouble against Carlos Carrasco (7-3, 3.87 ERA), who's given up one run in his last three starts. That came Saturday against Pittsburgh, when he held the Pirates to four hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-1 victory, his third straight.

"He looks very good right now," Acta said. "He looks like he can throw any pitch in any count and he's mixing them appropriately."

Opposing Carrasco, who is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA in two interleague starts, is Jonathan Sanchez (4-5, 3.71).

RELATED: Jonathan Sanchez 2011 game logs

The left-hander has won once in his last seven starts, and he's again having problems finding the plate. Sanchez gave up six hits, three walks - bringing his total to a major league-high 53 - and four runs over 4 2-3 innings Saturday in a 4-2 loss at Oakland.

Sanchez held the Indians to a run over 7 2-3 innings - walking two - in a 3-2 win in Cleveland on June 24, 2008. He'll want to pitch carefully to Orlando Cabrera, who is 5 for 9 with four doubles in their matchups.

The Indians swept their only previous trip to San Francisco in 2005.

Listless Giants roughed up by Pirates in ejection-filled series opener

Listless Giants roughed up by Pirates in ejection-filled series opener

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Pittsburgh Pirates kept clearing the fences, and the San Francisco Giants were left arguing plate umpire Chris Conroy's tough strike zone.

Even Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle understood the beef.

Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run homer and had four RBIs, Gerrit Cole won for the fifth time in six starts, and the Pirates beat San Francisco 10-3 on Monday night.

"I think there was some frustration really all night," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who watched most of the game from his office after an ejection in the second. "I don't think he had a real good night, to be honest, as far as consistency, but that really had nothing to do with what happened tonight. We gave up three-run homers."

Jordy Mercer added a three-run shot of his own in the eighth to further back Cole (8-7), 5-1 in his last eight starts. That lone defeat came June 30 as San Francisco swept the Pirates at Pittsburgh from June 30-July 2 - the Giants' first in the series since 2009.

This time, Pittsburgh immediately jumped on San Francisco starter Matt Cain (3-9), who matched the longest losing streak of his career at eight games - also done from July 28, 2015-May 10, 2016.

Bochy was tossed by Conroy for arguing balls and strikes in support of Cain moments after McCutchen connected, the skipper's second time being tossed this year. San Francisco pitching coach Dave Righetti then got tossed in the ninth.

"It was a tough zone," Hurdle said. "They lost two people on their side thrown out of the game."

Cole allowed two runs on six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked four.

He improved to 4-1 in six career starts against San Francisco. The Pirates won their seventh straight game at AT&T Park and ninth in 10, including sweeps both last year and in 2015.

Buster Posey hit a pair of RBI singles in San Francisco's fourth loss in five games.

McCutchen hit his 18th homer as the Pirates cleared the fences in San Francisco for a sixth straight game. His RBI groundout in the first started things off for a Pittsburgh club that had lost back-to-back games on the heels of a season-best, six-game winning streak, including a 13-3 flop in the finale against the Rockies on Sunday at Coors Field.

Josh Bell and Starling Marte each doubled home a run and Josh Harrison added an RBI single.

"This offense is good, we've shown that," McCutchen said.

Cain matched his second-shortest outing of the year at four innings and is winless in his last 11 starts, the longest by a Giants pitcher since the right-hander went 15 outings without a victory during his previous eight-game skid.

CHEERS TO THE HOME RUN KING:
Former slugger Barry Bonds, who played for both teams, received a greeting on the scoreboard for his 53rd birthday but the career home run king wasn't in the stands.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Pirates: OF Gregory Polanco, who strained his left hamstring Friday at Colorado and landed on the 10-day disabled list, tested his leg with some straightaway running and was going to do some riding on the stationary bike with the hopes he can hit in the cage soon. Hurdle said he did witness Polanco scurry across a street to avoid being hit by a car, then acknowledged it wasn't that close a call. ... With an off day Thursday at San Diego, the starters will get an extra day of rest.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto played catch and said the trouble spots on three of his pitching fingers are greatly improved. He said they aren't true blisters. The plan is for him to play catch again Tuesday and perhaps throw off the mound Wednesday if all continues to go well. ... Closer Mark Melancon had the day off as he recovers from a second DL stint with a strained forearm. He will throw a bullpen session Tuesday, Bochy said, and face hitters this weekend in Los Angeles if ready.

UP NEXT:
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (6-3, 3.08 ERA) is 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA in seven starts since returning from the DL on June 12, just more than a month after surgery for testicular cancer. He seeks his first decision against the Giants in two starts.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 3.57) tries again for his first victory of 2017 in his third outing back from missing nearly three months following a dirt bike accident April 20 in Colorado.

Bruce Bochy ejected in second inning vs Pirates after arguing with umpire

Bruce Bochy ejected in second inning vs Pirates after arguing with umpire

Bruce Bochy's night didn't last very long.

The Giants manager was ejected in the top of the second inning Monday after arguing with the home plate umpire.

The argument came after a three-run homer by Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Bochy appeared to be voicing frustrating with the strike zone.

Bochy came out to argue with Chris Conroy and the home plate umpire threw him out almost immediately.

McCutchen's home run put the Pirates up 6-0 in the second inning.