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.

Giants spring training day 8: Melancon, Hundley go way back

Giants spring training day 8: Melancon, Hundley go way back

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A couple of days before he signed a four-year deal, Mark Melancon fired off a midnight text to Nick Hundley. 

“Call me,” Melancon wrote.

When Hundley called, he found out his college teammate had chosen the Giants, ending a free agency process the two spoke about often. Two months later, it was Hundley’s turn to reach out. 

“I asked him if he wanted to play together again,” Hundley said. “He said, ‘You better not be messing with me.’”

The Giants signed just two free agents who are guaranteed of being on the opening day roster. In an odd twist, the new closer and new backup catcher have known each other for over a decade. Hundley was a second-round pick in 2005 out of the University of Arizona. A year later, his college teammate Melancon was a ninth-round pick. The two have stayed close throughout the pro ball journey. They were groomsmen in each other’s weddings and their wives and children hang out together. 

“We always talked about playing together,” Hundley said, adding that the odds were long in a 30-team sport.

The friends have crossed off a good chunk of them. Melancon has played for the Yankees, Astros, Red Sox, Pirates and Nationals. Hundley has played for the Padres, Orioles and Rockies. Finally, the two have hooked on to the same team, and the Giants are excited to have them both. Hundley will be the veteran catcher the team has missed in recent years, and the Giants are hopeful that he’s a pinch-hit threat, too. Melancon, of course, was brought in to fix the glaring problem in the ninth. Hundley is confident he’ll do it.

“I’ve caught him since 2005,” he said smiling, “And he’s always been nasty.”

NEW FACE: It’s hard to take much away from drills, but Orlando Calixte certainly impressed. As the Giants worked out on the field for the first time in three days, I asked GM Bobby Evans what Calixte showed the team’s scouts. “Just his athleticism, his tools, they stand out,” Evans said. They certainly do. Calixte is smooth out there, and he showed quickness at short that might differentiate him from the pack of infield options. 

Calixte has also played second, third and the outfield in the minors, and while the Giants intend on keeping five outfielders, that versatility could come into play. The Giants plucked Calixte from Kansas City’s system and put him on the 40-man roster when it became apparent that other offers were out there. They thought he could provide more versatility than Ehire Adrianza, and it helps that he has an option remaining. Calixte has to beat out a bunch of guys to win a roster spot, but given his glove and his status on the 40-man, it would be a surprise if we don’t see him at some point this season. 

ICYMI: Bruce Bochy said he’ll call Johnny Cueto to talk about his preparation for the World Baseball Classic. 

POSITION BATTLE: Matt Cain, the clear frontrunner for the No. 5 spot, faced hitters on the main field. Bochy liked what he saw. “He’s gotten more time away from that surgery and he’s throwing the ball well,” Bochy said. “Buster said the same thing. It’s coming out good.”

NOTEWORTHY: The Giants are serious about making Trevor Brown a more versatile option. He fielded grounders at short today and also spent plenty of time at second. 

QUOTABLE: “Just a good day. We (the coaches) were talking about how it’s changed a little bit. We’re not even in March yet and guys are letting it go.” — Bochy on the first day of live BP sessions. The pitchers were certainly well ahead of the hitters today. 

Will Cueto be ready for the WBC? 'That’s the question we have to answer'

Will Cueto be ready for the WBC? 'That’s the question we have to answer'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Jeff Samardzija whirled and fired a strike to Eduardo Nuñez shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Monday. With that, the Giants took another step back toward actual baseball.

Monday was the first day of live batting practice sessions, but the most important one took place thousands of miles east of Scottsdale Stadium. Johnny Cueto faced teenage prospects at the club’s facility in Santo Domingo, and Bruce Bochy said he would call Cueto to check in on his progress. 

The Giants are not concerned that Cueto — who is tending to his ill father — is missing so much of spring training. They know him well enough by now to know that Cueto paces himself and takes care of his body. They are, however, starting to get a little concerned about Cueto missing so much camp and then going straight to the World Baseball Classic. 

“The spring started early so he’s got plenty of time to get ready for (opening day),” manager Bruce Bochy said. “The question will be will he be ready for the WBC. That’s the question we have to answer.”

Bochy said he would like to see Cueto in the 50-60 pitch range before he goes off to compete for the Dominican Republic. The Dominican team opens play March 9 at Marlins Park. 

“We’re going to talk about a lot of things,” Bochy said. “We’ll see where he’s at, see where he’s at mentally, and see how his father is doing.”

Bochy noted that Nolan Ryan used to show up to camp on March 1 and throw 80 mph, working his way up from there. The Giants view Cueto the same way, but at some point there will be a breaking point where the WBC participation becomes a real concern. At the very least, Bochy said, Cueto might be asked to join the DR team later in the tournament.