Giants walk eight Pirates, fall 9-2 to lose series

508628.jpg

Giants walk eight Pirates, fall 9-2 to lose series

Aug. 10, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Pirates showed up in San Francisco mired in a 10-game losing streak with little going right. In two weeks, they'd fallen from first place to 10 games out.Winning two from the reigning World Series champion Giants did a lot as Pittsburgh heads off to face NL Central-leading Milwaukee in an important matchup of division rivals.Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer, Jeff Karstens bounced back from his worst start of the season and the Pirates won their first series in three weeks with a 9-2 victory over the struggling Giants on Wednesday.
RELATED: Giants Insider gallery -- Wild Sanchez extends slump
Pittsburgh is off Thursday before opening a weekend series with the Brewers, who have won all five previous meetings."We'll find out after the Friday night game, but we're going in with some confidence," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We were able to put a foot down and win a series on the road."Garrett Jones added an RBI single to continue his torrid August and help back Karstens (9-6), whose career-high nine strikeouts matched a season high for the team. Karstens, who ended a four-start winless stretch, gave up a season-high nine runs and nine hits in a 15-5 loss at San Diego last Friday."It's good for us, especially heading into Milwaukee," Karstens said.Pablo Sandoval homered for the Giants, who began the day with a half-game lead over Arizona in the NL West. The Diamondbacks host Houston in a night game. San Francisco has led the division since June 25.Jonathan Sanchez (4-7) walked McCutchen on four pitches and threw five straight balls to start the game. Sandoval came in from third and catcher Eli Whiteside hustled to the mound to chat with the left-hander, who was roughed up again in his second start since coming off the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Sanchez was done after 4 1-3 innings and hasn't won since June 2 at St. Louis.McCutchen went 1 for 1 with three walks and a hit by pitch. He stole two bases and scored four runs - most by a Pirate in a game this year. His 16th clout of the year put Pittsburgh ahead 3-1 in the third. The Pirates have homered in four of their last five games and eight of 12.McCutchen was hit by a pitch leading off the seventh. Brandon Wood drove in a run that inning and Matt Diaz hit two run-scoring singles. Pittsburgh's Nos. 1-5 hitters went a combined 7 for 17 with six RBIs, eight runs scored, seven walks and a hit batter. Jones is batting .389 (14 for 36) with five doubles, three homers and seven RBIs this month.With a power show on offense of late, Bucs pitchers also have allowed 18 homers over the last nine games. Sandoval connected in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1.
URBAN: Giants 'gripping' without Beltran
The Giants have hit 19 straight solo home runs, matching the 1914 Phillies' major league mark. Their last homer to score more than one run was a two-run drive by Nate Schierholtz on July 6 against San Diego.San Francisco finished up a disappointing 3-7 homestand with its 10th loss in 13 games. The Giants have dropped three straight series at AT&T Park for the first time since losing six consecutive home series from May 12-June 18, 2008."We've got a lot of baseball left," outfielder Cody Ross said. "We've got to go out and play like champions. We're not doing it. We're kind of all in a rut and it seems like we can't dig ourselves out. We've got to do something."Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the front office would discuss whether to stick with Sanchez. Lefty Barry Zito had been unimpressive in the fifth starter role and went back on the disabled list Aug. 1, but he could come off when San Francisco needs that pitcher again Aug. 16 in Atlanta."It has me a little concerned," Bochy said of the No. 5 spot. "We need that guy to help us win a ballgame, too. We haven't had a good start there in I don't know how many now."Pirates first baseman Derrek Lee was a late scratch from the lineup with a recurring left hand injury. Hurdle said Lee's hand was very sore after he played the two previous nights following a four-game absence with the bruised hand. Lee was hit with a pitch from Chicago's Carlos Marmol last Wednesday.Lee is batting .278 with two home runs and three RBIs in four games since joining the Pirates in a trade from Baltimore.NOTES: Giants RF Carlos Beltran missed his third straight game nursing a strained right hand and wrist. Schierholtz was held out with a right hip flexor. ... Zito will make another rehab outing Saturday for Triple-A Fresno then fly out to join the Giants on the road. ... San Francisco INF Miguel Tejada (lower abdominal strain) isn't quite ready to begin a rehab outing in the minors, Bochy said. Tejada will travel on the road trip. ... Pirates RHP Kevin Hart had arthroscopic cleanup surgery Tuesday performed by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. The team hopes to have Hart ready by spring training. ... Pirates LHP Paul Maholm (6-12, 3.54 ERA) starts Friday trying to end a string of three straight losing decisions. He is 1-5 on the road and is coming off a 13-2 loss Saturday at San Diego. ... All-Star RHP Matt Cain goes for the Giants on Friday at Florida, trying to improve to 4-1 for his career vs. the Marlins. He lost to Florida on May 24.

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

quakes-win-us.jpg
USATSI

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Danny Hoesen scored his second goal of the season and assisted on Marco Urena's second goal, lifting the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

Hoesen opened the scoring in the 13th minute, off a long cross from Nick Lima. After touching the ball down, Hoesen gathered it off a defender's foot, stepped inside and unleashed a left footer into the top corner from just off the penalty spot.

Hoesen's long through ball down the right side sent Urena free and from a tight angle he rolled the ball past Nick Rimando in the 68th minute.

San Jose (6-6-5), which has battled injuries and call-ups to score just 16 goals in 16 games, won for just the second time in its last seven games.

Lima picked up two yellow cards in the second half and the Quakes played a man down from the 71st minute.

David Bingham made only one save in each half but was denied his seventh shutout when Jose Hernandez scored his second goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Salt Lake (5-11-2).

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.

The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24. 

Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."

Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.

With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.

Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1. 

In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four. 

Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0-for-4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided. 

Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months. 

“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”