Baggs' Instant Replay: Dodgers 5, Giants 1

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Dodgers 5, Giants 1

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LOS ANGELES The Giants cannot defend a World Series title when it doesnt belong to them. That was last years challenge, and they failed to meet it.As for these current Giants, they are weaker than those madcap misfits in some areas, clearly stronger in others. But there is one similarity: Two years ago, Bruce Bochys team clinched all three postseason series away from AT&T Park.
They are just as proficient in road grays now.Sure, they finished the regular season with a 5-1 loss on Wednesday and dropped two of three at Dodger Stadium. But heres the remarkable part: It was their first road series loss since July 6-8 at Pittsburgh. While streaking to the NL West title, the Giants posted a series record of 10-0-1 in the 11 previous times they dropped their luggage.RELATED: Game 1 Game 2
If the previous two nights at Chavez Ravine throbbed with a playoff pulse, the regular-season finale felt more like a split-squad at Camelback Ranch. Most of Bochys starters including Buster Posey, who officially won the NL batting crown with a .336 average -- were relieved of duties by the sixth inning, when right-hander Clay Hensley gave up a tiebreaking single to Adrian Gonzalez. The Dodgers broke it open in the eighth against Jean Machi.It was only truly tense in the first five innings, when Ryan Vogelsong competed with flared nostrils while holding the Dodgers to just an unearned run.The Giants finished the regular season with a 94-68 record their highest victory total since they won 100 in 2003.RELATED: MLB Standings
Starting pitching reportYou can make a reasonable argument that Vogelsong should go to the postseason bullpen. Hes the one starting pitcher who has substantial relief experience.But like Barry Zito a night earlier, Vogelsong is giving the coaching staff something to think about. Despite a very rough seven-start stretch in late August and September, Vogelsong finished strong and allowed just one earned run over his final three outings.BAGGARLY: Bochy offers Zito plaudits, but no playoff slot yet
His stuff was hard and sharp while he took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, and wouldve recorded the third out if second baseman Marco Scutaro hadnt dropped Luis Cruzs blooper in shallow right field for an error. Cruz scored when Tim Federowicz and pitcher Clayton Kershaw followed with singles; Federowicz was thrown out trying to go from first to third.And that was deemed enough for Vogelsong, who did not receive a decision after throwing 71 pitches over five innings. He finished with a 14-9 record and 3.37 ERA, coming up just short in a bid to join Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito in the 15-win club.It wouldve been the first time a major league team had four 15-game winners since the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals (Chris Carpenter, Jason Marquis, Matt Morris, Jeff Suppan). No Giants team has boasted four 15-game winners since the 1962 pennant winners (Juan Marichal, Billy O'Dell, Billy Pierce, Jack Sanford).Bullpen reportGeorge Kontos struck out one and allowed a hit in a scoreless inning, further improving his chances of making the NLDS roster. Hensley and Machi, already longshots, were much less impressive.At the plateSeveral Giants found it curious that Clayton Kershaw, who has been battling a sore hip that might require surgery, insisted upon taking the mound in the regular-season finale a day after his club was eliminated.Perhaps Kershaw wanted a third shot at outpitching Vogelsong, who shaded him in 2-1 and 2-0 Giants victories earlier this season. Or maybe the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner wanted to catch the Mets R.A. Dickey, who had him by nine strikeouts for the NL lead.Kershaw sure didnt hold anything back while extending himself to 111 pitches over eight innings.Like Vogelsong, he retired the first 10 hitters in order before Marco Scutaro singled in the fourth. Pablo Sandoval followed with a double and Buster Posey brought home Scutaro with a ground out the catchers 103rd RBI of the season.Thats the most RBIs by a Giant in a season since 2002, when Barry Bonds drove in 110 and Jeff Kent finished with 108 to lead the club to the World Series.Scutaros single accomplished something meaningful, too. It extended his hit streak to 20 games, matching Angel Pagan and Pablo Sandoval for the longest by a Giant this season. It also gave the Giants three players with 20-game streaks in a season for the first time in franchise history or, at least, in the 94 years for which data is available to check such things.The Giants became the first major league team in nine years to have three players with hitting streaks of at least 20 games. In 2003, the Pirates had Kenny Lofton (26), Jason Kendall (23) and Aramis Ramirez (22). Also that year, the Blue Jays had Mike Bordick, Reed Johnson and Vernon Wells (20 apiece).But they could not complete a comeback after the Dodgers took the lead in the sixth. They wasted Hector Sanchezs leadoff double in the seventh, by which time most of the starters had been relieved of duties.Kershaw held the Giants to three hits struck out eight, finishing one behind Dickeys total of 230. Kershaw did wrap up his second consecutive NL ERA title (2.53), though.In fieldScutaros defense is becoming a concern. In addition to his dropped blooper, he also let two throws glance off his glove on caught stealing attempts during this road trip.AttendanceThe Dodgers announced 34,014 paid. The pregame music included There's No Stopping Us Right Now. Well, actuallyUp nextThe Giants open their NL Division Series with the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday at AT&T Park. Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79 ERA) takes the mound against right-hander Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78). First pitch is scheduled for 6:37 p.m. PDT.

Giants lineup: After 10-3 loss, Bochy makes no changes; Pitcher recalled

Giants lineup: After 10-3 loss, Bochy makes no changes; Pitcher recalled

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Pirates-Giants coverage begins at 4pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming right here.

Despite mustering just three runs on Monday night, the Giants will trot out the same lineup on Tuesday night against the Pirates.

The Giants also made a roster move prior to Tuesday's game. Pitcher Chris Stratton was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento while infielder/outfielder Orlando Calixte was optioned to Sacramento.

Pittsburgh Pirates:
1. Starling Marte (R) LF
2. Josh Harrison (R) 2B
3. Andrew McCutchen (R) CF
4. David Freese (R) 3B
5. Josh Bell (S) 1B
6. Jose Osuna (R) RF
7. Francisco Cervelli (R) C
8. Jordy Mercer (R) SS
9. Jameson Taillon (R) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Hunter Pence (R) RF
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Madison Bumgarner (R) P

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

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

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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.