Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 15, Cardinals 0

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 15, Cardinals 0

BOX SCORE

ST. LOUIS Reputations can be made in a flash. It takes a little longer to unmake them.

Ryan Vogelsong might forever pitch with a chip on his shoulder, aware that, in his own words, nobody takes (him) seriously. And the Giants offense has been negligible for so long, GM Brian Sabean probably hears screams of get a bat in his REM cycles.

But the league will have to pay attention to reality at some point.

Vogelsong, an All-Star snub and the NLs ERA leader, certainly held the St. Louis Cardinals spellbound while limiting one of baseballs most productive lineups to three hits in seven shutout innings Wednesday night.

As for the Giants offense? Well, they practically shouted a 15-0 victory inside library-quiet Busch Stadium.

Buster Posey extended his hitting streak to 11 games, Melky Cabrera continued to add to his major league leading hits and runs totals and Hunter Pence had a pair of run-scoring hits.

That was mere prelude to some serious stat padding in the final four innings. Marco Scutaro hit a two-run double in the eighth and a grand slam in the ninth to complete a seven-RBI game the most by a Giant since Jeff Kent knocked in seven runs May 1, 2001, at Pittsburgh.

Hard to believe, but the Giants are the highest scoring road team in the major leagues, with 5.18 runs per game.

And while were on the subject of shedding reputations, shortstop Brandon Crawford made an acrobatic, run-saving play in the hole to end the fourth inning. After committing 12 errors and causing much consternation in his first 61 games, the gifted shortstop has made just one in his last 39.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Giants achieved their largest margin of victory in a shutout at St. Louis. It bested an 11-0 victory on June 27, 1894. Thats when the Cardinals were called the St. Louis Browns, and Adolphus Buschs fledgling brewery was just getting started.

Starting pitching report

Vogelsong (10-5) just keeps on grinding out quality starts.

He has tossed at least 6.0 innings in each of his 21 starts this season the longest streak by a Giant since Bill Swift compiled 24 consecutive in 1993. The San Francisco-era record is 29, set by Juan Marichal in 1968.

The right-hander only struck out three, but he found a way to keep the ball off the barrel. Hes done that so well all season while compiling a 2.27 ERA second only to the Angels Jered Weaver (2.13) among qualified major league starters.

Vogelsong matched Washingtons Jordan Zimmermann for the NL lead with his 19th quality start.

Bullpen report

Well, the Giants did better than the Cardinals bullpen.

Jose Mijares made his Giants debut in the most low-pressure spot imaginable. He pitched around a single and a walk in the ninth inning. He did not receive credit for a save.

At the plate

Cabrera recorded his 51st multi-hit game and bumped his major league leading hits total to 154. With the help of Pence, Cabrera also boosted his NL-best runs total to 80.

Pences seeing-eye single in the first inning scored Cabrera to put the Giants on the board. It marked the seventh consecutive road game in which the Giants scored in the first inning; the last team with a longer streak was the 2006 Mets, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Cabreras double kick-started a five-run rally in the sixth inning that broke open a 2-0 game. Buster Posey, whod already extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning single, drew a pitch-around walk. Pence followed up by doing exactly what the Giants hoped he could, ripping an RBI single that scored Cabrera.

After Brandon Belt singled to load the bases, Ryan Theriot hit a grounder to second base that got past Tyler Greene for an error that allowed two runs to score. Angel Pagan tacked on a sacrifice fly to complete the rally.

The Giants batted around again in the eighth, with Scutaros double driving in two of the four runs. Scutaros third career grand slam in the ninth was the foie gras on top of the 20-ounce steak. He smashed his previous high for RBIs, which was four.

In field

Remember when Crawford committed 12 errors in his first 61 games? Well, thats not a topic any longer. The gifted shortstop has committed just one error over his last 39 games, and he made a run-saving stop in the fourth inning.

With runners at the corners and two outs, Crawford made a diving stop of David Freeses hard ground ball. From the lip of the outfield grass, he sprang to his feet and made a strong throw to first base to end the inning.

The Cardinals made their biggest flub on Greenes error in the sixth, but pitcher Joe Kelly also threw away a pickoff throw in the third inning that allowed Pagan to advance two bases. He scored on Scutaros single.

Attendance

The Cardinals announced 36,906 paid. Were guessing Buschs heirs were able to pocket some coppers from the thirsty crowd.

Up next

The Giants try to make it three out of four in St. Louis and a banner, 6-1 trip when they conclude their series against the Cardinals Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium. Left-hander Madison Bumgarner (12-6, 3.03) opposes right-hander Adam Wainwright. (9-10, 4.03).

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

MESA, Ariz. — The Giants went 0-62 last season when trailing after eight innings. Chris Marrero wasn’t around for any of that, but it’s a stat that could help Marrero as he tries to lock up a bench spot. 

The first baseman/left fielder crushed a three-run shot in the ninth inning Tuesday, wiping out a two-run deficit against the Cubs. Marrero also has two walk-off homers this spring. 

“This kid, you see it when he goes up there. He’s got great focus,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s intensity and determination. From day one, you could see it in his at-bats. Late in the game, he seems very comfortable. He wants to go up there.”

Tuesday’s homer, which shot out to right-center, was the eighth of the spring for Marrero. That ties him with a guy named Bryce Harper for the MLB lead, and the vast majority of Marrero’s bombs were no-doubters. 

“It’s been a great spring for him,” Bochy said. “The last game here, it seems fitting that he would do something like that. He’s already done it a couple of times. This kid has done all he can. I love his swing and the work that he’s put in.”

With Michael Morse down, Marrero is the best remaining option as a power right-handed bat off the bench, a glaring need a year ago. Justin Ruggiano, another one in the mix, followed Marrero’s shot with one of his own. The homer was Ruggiano’s second of the spring. 

Ruggiano is a better fit defensively in the outfield, but Marrero has been solid at first and Bochy said he’s fine with what he’s seen in left field. “He’s still working on it,” Bochy said, noting that Marrero will play left field during the Bay Bridge Series. 

LEADING OFF: Denard Span saw a wild pitch bounce off the bricks behind home plate, and he never slowed down. Span sped around third in the second inning and slid in ahead of the throw. The notable part of the play wasn’t that a quirky bounce allowed Span to take 180 feet on a wild pitch. It was that his legs did. The 33-year-old has been a different guy in his second spring with the Giants. Last year, Span was coming off hip surgery. This spring, his old game has returned.

“I’ve just been able to do the things I’ve always been able to do,” Span said. “I have more control of my body. I’m stronger. I had a full offseason and a full spring training to get my legs up under me. The last couple of weeks, I’ve felt much better and more confident.”

A healthy and spry Span would be a big boost to a lineup that often looked flat in the second half last season Span showed off every aspect of his game Tuesday. He blasted a leadoff homer on Jake Arrieta’s second pitch, and during their second matchup, he put a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. Span stole second easily before his race home. 

“He’s playing terrific baseball and he’s been a real inspiration, being our leadoff hitter,” Bochy said. “That’s what we needed — energy at the top of the order.”

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez (shoulder) is feeling much better, and Bochy said he’ll play third base during the games at AT&T Park before getting four or five innings at shortstop on Saturday. Joe Panik (drilled in the back on Monday) said he’s feeling fine. 

POSITION BATTLES: Here’s the latest on Matt Cain, and here’s an update on Aaron Hill and Jimmy Rollins. 

ICYMI: Big news today from NBC Bay Area. Matt Williams, Javier Lopez and Cody Ross have joined out pre- and post-game shows. You can find stories about those guys on our homepage here. Those shows will also now be an hour long on both ends of the game, adding an extra hour of Giants coverage to your day. Which is good. 

That’s all on the way during the regular season. If you missed any of our spring coverage, you can find a bunch of features here, and podcasts here (spring pods included Mike Morse, Matt Cain, Mac Williamson, Jimmy Rollins and others, with one more coming this week). And in case you’re new to our coverage, the Twitter account is here and the Facebook page is here. Next stop, San Francisco … 

 

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

MESA, Ariz. -- Aaron Hill didn't play in the final Cactus League game, but he didn't need to. By simply being on the flight to San Francisco on Tuesday, Hill got good news. 

The veteran infielder was due a $100,000 bonus on Tuesday, and while the Giants haven't formally announced their roster, you don't pay a man that much money to come play three exhibition games against the A's. Hill appears to have made this club as a second backup infielder, along with Conor Gillaspie. Another veteran, Jimmy Rollins, got the news that the Giants are headed in a different direction. 

Team officials spoke with Rollins this week about their future plans. He was not on the travel roster Tuesday and did not attend the game against the Cubs. 

"We're waiting to hear back from him," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He knows the scenario and the situation. We're waiting to hear back."

Rollins, 38, showed the Giants that he can still handle shortstop defensively, and he was a quick learner when he moved to second. But he hit just .119, falling behind Hill, Kelby Tomlinson and others in the mix for bench spots. It would seem unlikely that Rollins would want to get additional at-bats in Triple-A, but that feeling hadn't been fully conveyed to team officials Tuesday. There was a hope that Rollins, an East Bay native, might join the team for the Bay Bridge Series, which finishes Saturday in Oakland. Rollins grew up an A's fan.

Rollins and Hill were part of a crowded infield group at the start of camp. Gordon Beckham also had a retention bonus and he asked to be released when he was told he wouldn't make the opening day roster. David Hernandez, the third player due a bonus, also was released. He promptly signed with the Atlanta Braves.