Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 11, Rockies 6

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 11, Rockies 6

BOX SCORE

DENVER Sometimes a team just needs to outhit its mistakes. Good thing the Giants are facing the Colorado Rockies woeful collection of arms.

The Giants didnt always look pretty Saturday night, especially the right-handed portion of their bullpen. But Buster Posey homered for the third consecutive game, Angel Pagan had another huge night and the Giants just kept swinging in an 11-6 victory at Coors Field.

Pagan had a four-hit performance that included a home run and three RBIs; he has reached base nine times in two games as the newly-reinstalled leadoff man. Prior to coming to Coors Field, Pagan hadnt reached base four times in a game since May 18.

The Giants have scored 27 runs in two games at Coors Field; they had scored a total of 29 runs on their most recent homestand, in which they lost seven of 10.

In fact, the Giants are now the highest scoring N.L. team in road games, with an average of 5.02 runs scored.

It always helps when you go 16-for-35 with runners in scoring position, as the Giants have done in two victories here.

Starting pitching report

Madison Bumgarner had life on his pitches while posting his fifth consecutive quality start, holding the Rockies to a run on five hits in six innings.

Josh Rutledge hit a home run in the sixth inning off Bumgarner, who has allowed a total of six homers over his last three road starts. But he didnt serve up any big flies with runners on base.

Bumgarner (12-6) did well to pitch out of a jam in the fifth that third baseman Marco Scutaro helped to create with a fielding error. Matt McBride followed with a single for his first big league hit, but Bumgarner induced a double-play grounder from Jonathan Herrera to keep the Rockies off the board.

Bumgarner struck out seven to continue a trend; over his last four starts, he has 33 strikeouts spanning 26 innings.

Bullpen report

Is there a right-hander in the bullpen that Bruce Bochy can trust these days?

Brad Penny has ranged from mildly effective to flat-out awful, and his outing Saturday night was one from the latter column. The big right-hander just doesnt miss bats anymore. The bottom of the Rockies order went double-double-single to score twice off him and shrink a 6-1 deficit.

Clay Hensley wasnt any better. He inherited a 10-3 lead in the eighth and walked the leadoff hitter. Sergio Romo promptly gave up a long double to Ramon Hernandez that cashed in both of Hensleys runs.

Santiago Casilla was needed to bail out Javier Lopez in the ninth, and managers never like to burn their frontline guys in a blowout game.

In short: The Giant miss Guillermo Mota.

At the plate

Posey picked up the baton from a night earlier, quickly getting the Giants on the board with a booming, two-run home run in the first inning off left-hander Jeff Francis.

It was the first time in his career that Posey has homered in three consecutive games. The blast also gave him 24 RBIs since the All-Star break, the most among N.L. players.

Melky Cabrera, who walked ahead of Poseys homer, added his own shot with a solo homer in the third that ventured into Andres Galarraga territory near the top of the left field bleachers.

Posey entered the game hitting .416 against left-handed pitching, while Cabrera was hitting .403 against southpaws -- ranking them second and third in the majors. No wonder the Giants are 23-11 against left-handed starters this season.

But this is Coors Field, where extra runs are not insurance but a necessity. The Giants made it a 6-0 lead while collecting five singles in a three-run fourth inning; Francis last act was to issue a bases-loaded walk to Cabrera.

After the Rockies cut the deficit to 6-3, the Giants responded with four more in the eighth. Brandon Belt, who entered on a double switch, turned on an inside fastball for a leadoff double, and although he got a bad read on Angel Pagans single, the Rockies bungled the relay to the plate. Pagan alertly took second base and then stole third when Wilin Rosario, a catcher playing out of position at third base, was too quick with his swipe tag and ended up sweeping the dirt ahead of the runners arrival. Theriot doubled home Pagan, Posey hit an RBI single and Gregor Blanco added a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.

In contrast to their lack of clutch hitting that has plagued them most of this season, the Giants were 7-for-15 with runners in scoring position; a night earlier, they were 9-for-20 -- their most in a game since June 5, 2006, at Florida.

In field

The Giants nearly had another big inning in the seventh, but Rockies second baseman Jonathan Herrera made a leaping grab of Joaquin Arias line drive and flipped to double Hunter Pence off second base.

The most entertaining play afield came in the first inning, when Eric Young Jr. stole second base but got picked off by Bumgarner. Third baseman Marco Scutaro dropped the ball as he was about to apply a tag, and Young refused to go down easy. The final scoring on the hilarious rundown: 1-5-6-4-5-3-1. Bumgarner made the tag as Young tried to slide around it. The Rockies gave Young a standing ovation for his effort.

Attendance

The Rockies announced 35,242 paid. The winner of the 5050 raffle gets a spot in the Colorado bullpen.

Up next

The Giants conclude their series at Coors Field on Sunday afternoon. Tim Lincecum (5-11, 5.62), who endured the shortest outing of his career when he last appeared here in April, will oppose young right-hander Tyler Chatwood (1-1. 7.62). The pitching-poor Rockies scratched Chatwood from his start at Double-A to take the place of left-hander Christian Friedrich, who is out for the year because of a stress fracture in his back.

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Before the right hooks and haymakers, there was the helmet toss.

A very bad helmet toss.

As he made his way to the mound after getting hit by a pitch on Monday afternoon, Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper attempted to throw his helmet at Giants reliever Hunter Strickland. He missed by a wide margin.

Observers took notice, including Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner.

"What was worse, Harper's helmet throw or 50 Cents first pitch? Heads up in the #McCoveyCove," Turner tweeted shortly after the brawl between the Giants and Nationals.

Turner is referring to a ceremonial first pitch thrown by rapper 50 Cent prior to a Mets game in 2014.

Harper mentioned the helmet when addressing the situation after the game.

"I was trying to go after him, with the helmet or with myself, just doing what I needed to do keep it going, I guess," Harper told reporters.

 

Fight Notes: Harper thought this was over; Giants collide; Posey avoids it

Fight Notes: Harper thought this was over; Giants collide; Posey avoids it

SAN FRANCISCO — When the Nationals visited AT&T Park for the first time after the 2014 postseason series, Bryce Harper took to Instagram to compliment the city. “Nothing like SF! #BayArea” he wrote underneath a photo of the Bay Bridge. 

Harper, a Las Vegas kid, has always seemed to enjoy facing the Giants. He hasn’t hit well at AT&T Park, but he was a star in their 2014 matchup and he praised Brandon Crawford on Twitter during this year’s WBC. The greeting Monday was not a friendly one. 

Harper was retired three times by Matt Moore. The first pitch he saw from Hunter Strickland left a dent on his hip and set off a wild brawl. 

Strickland denied any intent. Harper seemed confused by the timing of the payback pitch. 

“It’s so in the past, it’s not even relevant anymore,” he said of their 2014 series, according to Dan Kolko of MASN. “They won the World Series that year. I don’t think he should even be thinking about what happened in the first round. He should be thinking about wearing that ring home every single night. I don’t know why he did it or what he did it for, but I guess it happens.”

The Giants were not surprised when Harper reacted the way he did. Now they’ll wait for Strickland to get hit with a suspension, and Harper is looking at a layoff, too. 

“You never want to get suspended or anything like that, but sometimes you’ve got to go and get him,” Harper said. “You can’t hesitate. You either go to first base or you go after him. And I decided to go after him.”

Strickland, about an hour after the fight, said he’s not sure what will happen in terms of discipline. 

“That’s their decision and obviously I’ll take whatever consequences come with it and we’ll go from there,” he said. 

Any action by the league is unlikely to impact this series. Even if suspensions are handed down swiftly, players can appeal. Harper and Strickland may not be alone. Several players jumped into the fray aggressively and at least one non-active Giant — Hunter Pence — was right in the middle of the scrum. At the very least, he could be facing a fine for trying to help his teammate. 

“It doesn't look good when a guy gets hit but also on their side, the guy throws his helmet,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Strickland’s got to stand his ground. There’s no choice there. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen (with suspensions).”

One player who won’t face discipline: Madison Bumgarner, who is also on the DL but wisely stayed away from this one, even if it probably killed him to do so. 

--- The biggest hit didn’t come from Strickland or Harper. It was Jeff Samardzija and Michael Morse coming together in the middle of the field. Both players said they were fine. 

"I was just trying to get in there to break everything up," Morse said. "We lost the game, that's what's most important."

Ahhh, yes, the Giants lost 3-0. Bochy seemed particularly peeved that Strickland chose the eighth inning of a 2-0 game to exact revenge, and you can bet some teammates weren't thrilled. We'll see if there's anything more to this Tuesday. There was a lot of adrenaline flowing, but some of these guys might not be feeling so spry when they wake up in the morning. Bochy said he had not heard any reports of players getting injured, but he also admitted that he didn't see most of the collisions and had no idea what happened with Morse and Samardzija, who had a world-class reaction, by the way.  

--- As with the incident with the Dodgers a couple weeks ago, Buster Posey stayed out of this one. Smartly. 

"After it happened I saw Harper point and the next thing you know he's going out after them," Posey said. "Those are some big guys tumbling on the ground. You see Michael Morse, as big as he is, and he's getting knocked around like a pinball."

Posey is not alone in staying away from these scrums where 250-pound dudes are flying at knees and ankles. Brandon Crawford can often be found on the outside, as well. It's smart, but I think something else was at play here today. Posey understands that the Giants are fighting for every scrap at this point. Every loss digs the hole that much deeper, and this happened with two outs in the eighth inning of a 2-0 game, against a team with a poor bullpen. I'd imagine there was some serious annoyance there. 

--- How angry was Strickland? It took three guys, three big guys, to drag him into the dugout: Pence, Mac Williamson, and George Kontos. 

"I was pretty fired up to be honest with you, but that’s just adrenaline," he said. 

--- Baseball fights are rather silly, but at least you get some phenomenal photos.