Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 10, Padres 1

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 10, Padres 1

BOX SCORE

SAN DIEGO The relentless approach, the hard contact, the smart baserunning, the consistency

Were not describing those qualities that the Giants will miss most from Melky Cabrera. Were describing what his former teammates did without him Friday night.

They worked San Diego Padres right-hander Ross Ohendorf down to a nub in an eight-run third inning, putting up one tenacious at-bat after another to provide ample support for Matt Cain in a 10-1 victory at Petco Park.

Combined with the Dodgers extra-inning loss at Atlanta, the Giants nudged back into first place, a half-game ahead of their archrivals.

Marco Scutaro hit a home run in the first inning, Brandon Crawford doubled to touch off the clubs biggest single-inning feast of the season and Cain took a no-hitter into the fifth inning as the Giants played nearly flawless baseball to start their six-game road trip.

Starting pitching report
Nobody is better than Cain at stabilizing a troubled situation. His outing was a seismic retrofit for a rotation that simply must step up its game down the stretch.

Cain (12-5) held the Padres to a run on four hits and one walk in eight innings. He threw 74 of 108 pitches for strikes and he did it in typical fashion, brushing his hard, exploding fastball on the periphery while flipping in enough offspeed stuff to keep the Padres off balance.

Cain retired the first nine hitters before the Giants gave him a big lead, just as they did when he threw his perfect game against Houston on June 13. But Logan Forsythe got hit by a pitch in the fourth and Yonder Alonso made the no-hitter go away in the fifth. Everth Cabreras two-out single scored Alonso the only earned run Cain has allowed in his last two starts (spanning 15 innings) at Petco Park.

Cain improved to 6-0 in eight starts that follow Giants losses.

Bullpen report
George Kontos pitched the ninth. Miles Mikolas pitched for the Padres earlier in the game. Perhaps they celebrated their Greek heritage together over some baklava and flaming cheese.

At the plate
The Giants sent 13 men to the plate in their eight-run third inning, which began with Crawfords double and a rare failure when Cain popped up a sacrifice bunt.

Angel Pagan, who entered with a .308 average and .403 on-base percentage in 13 games since moving back to the leadoff spot, followed with a triple and Scutaro used a solid approach to bang an RBI single up the middle.

The good at-bats continued. Pablo Sandoval fouled off a series of tough, two-strike pitches. Then he took one, allowing Scutaro to steal second base and move to third when catcher Yasmani Grandals throw clipped him on the shoulder. Sandoval followed by smoking an RBI single through the right side.

The Giants werent satisfied with a three-run rally. After Buster Posey walked, Hunter Pence yanked an RBI double down the left field line. Then Brandon Belt had perhaps the best plate appearance of the night, working a 12-pitch walk. Gregor Blanco, Matt Cain and Pagan would contribute three more RBI hits with Crawford scoring his second run of the inning before Scutaro finally grounded into a fielders choice to strand two.

Pagan led the club with three hits and seven different Giants crossed the plate in one of their most satisfying performances of the season.

In field
Angel Pagan covered plenty of ground in center field to keep Cains no-hitter intact into the fifth. But Padres second baseman Logan Forsythe made the play of the game, diving to snare Pences ground ball up the middle and quickly recovering to throw him out to end the fourth.

Attendance
The Padres announced 38,755 paid on Orange Friday at Petco Park.

Up next
The Giants continue their series at AT&T Park South, otherwise known as Petco Park, on Saturday with a 5:35 p.m. (PDT) first pitch. Barry Zito (9-8, 4.29) takes the mound against left-hander Eric Stults (3-2, 2.45), who was marvelous in his cameo in Pulp Fiction.

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

SAN FRANCISCO — The momentum generated by Christian Arroyo and Michael Morse late Wednesday night lasted just a few hours. By the end of this four-game series, the Giants were left with a harsh reality: Even with two injections of new blood, they are not hitting. 

Arroyo drove in another run Thursday, but that was it for a lineup that couldn’t support Matt Moore’s effort. The bullpen, which had kept Bruce Bochy’s guys in close games all series, finally broke in the 10th. The Dodgers walked away with a 5-1 win and a split of a series that was rather uninspiring for both sides. 

After scoring 10 runs on the last road trip, the Giants scored just eight during the four games against the Dodgers. Three of those RBI came from Arroyo, called up Monday. A fourth came from Morse, called up Wednesday.

“We’ve got to get this offense going,” Bochy said. “It’s a better offense than what we’re doing right now. You need to find a way to put a few runs on the board. We had our chances, we just couldn’t find ways to get the big hit.”

With Denard Span out for at least another week, Bochy moved Hunter Pence to the top of the lineup. His temporary No. 3 hitter against lefties, Eduardo Nuñez, has one hit in his last 20 at-bats. Buster Posey, the cleanup hitter, is batting .357, but he has driven in just three runs this month. With two on and one out in the eighth, he bounced into a double play. The production closer to the bottom of the order has been nonexistent, leading to constant shuffling that has moved Nuñez and Belt to left at times. Bochy said the staff will continue to search of a lineup that works. 

“You talk about it and do thing to adjust, and it will get better, but right now we’ve got some guys who aren’t swinging the bat well, to be honest,” he said. “You look at the order and we don’t have a lot of guys swinging well.”

The list does not include Arroyo, the rookie who will eventually have to deal with adjustments from pitchers. It doesn’t appear that’ll be a problem. Arroyo has been making adjustments from at-bat to at-bat. He did so against Sergio Romo for his first career homer and said he learned about the depth of Julio Urias’ curveball during their first two battles Thursday. In the sixth, the 21-year-old Arroyo drove in the game-tying run against the 20-year-old Urias. The lefty had walked Posey to face Arroyo, who singled up the middle. 

“He handles himself so well,” Bochy said. “They walked Buster and he smokes the ball. This kid has shown he’s not in awe. The upper deck, the bright lights, he comes to play.”

Arroyo’s effort briefly backed Moore, who was sharp in seven innings. Moore struck out eight, six of them looking, but he didn’t get much help and the bullpen fell apart in the 10th with a series of walks.

Bochy challenged his starters on Saturday at Coors Field and they responded with a strong series back home. The bullpen was tested during the first week but — Thursday’s result aside — it has settled down. The Giants are not as worried about their pitching as they were as they flew back from Denver. They know, however, that this team is going nowhere if two runs per game continues to be the nightly output. 

“We’ll tweak it again,” Bochy said of his lineup. “We'll see if we can get this thing right.”

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Quietly over the past couple of weeks, Bruce Bochy’s bullpen had started to settle. Bochy praised the group before Thursday’s game, noting that roles were being defined by pitchers who entered the series finale with the Dodgers with a 0.94 collective ERA this season. That changed in the 10th inning Thursday.

Three relievers combined to give up four runs on four walks and three singles. The implosion ended with a 5-1 loss to the Dodgers and a split of this four-game series. 

For most of the game, this was a day when youth shined. Corey Seager celebrated his 23rd birthday with a solo homer in the first on a two-strike pitch from Matt Moore that caught the heart of the plate. The Giants will be dealing with Seager for years, and if all goes according to plan, there will be years of Julio Urias vs. Christian Arroyo battles, too. 

The 21-year-old third baseman won the first matchup, lining a single to center. Arroyo flew out in his second at-bat against the 20-year-old Urias, but they faced off a third time in a big spot. Brandon Belt drew a one-out walk in the sixth and went to third when a pickoff throw skipped down the line. After an intentional walk of Buster Posey, Arroyo lined another one back up the middle. Urias stuck his glove up but it ticked off and into center for a game-tying single. 

Arroyo ended the young lefty’s day. Moore was done after seven sparkling innings. He struck out eight, six of them looking. 

The game went to extras, and Cory Gearrin walked pinch-hitter Adrian Gonzalez to lead off the 10th. Chase Utley was called up to bunt but he couldn’t get it down. Instead, he hit an infield single off Steven Okert that stayed true to the third-base line. After a walk of Yasmani Grandal, the third straight pinch-hitter, Andrew Toles lined a single to center to give the Dodgers a lead and the wheels soon came off. 

Utley alertly tagged up and scored on a pop-up to foul territory. Justin Turner’s single extended the lead to three and Hunter Strickland’s four-pitch walk of Chris Taylor pushed another across. 

Starting pitching report: Moore gave up 19 hits and 11 earned runs in his two previous starts, but the Dodgers had just two hits, the Seager homer and a Chris Taylor single. Taylor reached third with one out, but Moore got Scott Van Slyke and Cody Bellinger to go down looking. 

Bullpen report: Mark Melancon came on in a non-save situation for a second straight day and pitched a scoreless ninth. 

At the plate: Buster Posey’s hitting streak ended at 12 games. He twice bounced into double plays.

In the field: Posey chased a high pop-up down the right field line in the fourth, but he was going to come up short. Kelby Tomlinson came out of nowhere with the helping hand, making a running catch near the visiting bullpen. Posey smiled and shook his head as Tomlinson whipped the ball back to the infield. 

Attendance: The Giants said they sold out a 500th consecutive game.

Up next: The Giants have a three-city road trip coming up, so it’s time to take advantage of a weekend at home against the Padres. Jeff Samardzija and Luis Perdomo get the opener.