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).

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

CHICAGO — Had a half-dozen other things gone differently Wednesday night, the Giants might have spent the hour after the game shrugging off a blowout loss or celebrating one of the best at-bats of the year. 

Three innings after the game was nearly lost for good, Mac Williamson saw 12 pitches from Wade Davis, who entered with a perfect ERA in 19 appearances, fouling eight of them off before slamming a two-run homer to right. The play came with some comedic value, as Williamson nearly passed Eduardo Nuñez on the bases. It also came with some historic value, as it snapped a streak of 19 consecutive solo shots that was two shy of the MLB record. 

The homer was not, however, the talking point after the game. A few minutes after Williamson went deep, Joe Panik was tossing his bat into the grass in frustration over a called third strike that ended the game and clinched a 5-4 win for the Cubs. Ten minutes after that, Bruce Bochy watched the highlight and tossed his phone onto his desk. 

“It’s a shame to end on that call, it really is,” Bochy said. “We had him on fumes and that’s not a strike. But they got the call and that’s it.”

The Giants were left with their third loss in four games, a run that has halted their momentum. They again are 11 games back in the National League West, with so many nights like this one: A comeback seemed real, but the mistakes were too much to overcome. 

Williamson, in talking about his homer, pivoted and pointed to a blunder of his own. In a tied game in the fifth, Miguel Montero hit a single to right with Addison Russell on first. The speedy shortstop watched Williamson as the ball rolled into the outfield, and when Williamson didn’t charge as hard as he otherwise might, Russell took off for third. The throw was perfect, but late. Russell scored on a fly ball. 

“The home run is really cool but it would have been a lot cooler if I hadn’t have made the mistake earlier in the game and given them the extra run,” Williamson said, explaining that he has tried to focus on being smooth to the ball and not rushing on fast outfields. In the past, rushing has led to bobbles and extra bases. 

Another costly sequence came in the eighth. After the Giants left the bases loaded in the top of the inning, Steven Okert gave up a triple to Jason Heyward, who scored on a sacrifice fly. Okert, so good when he was first called up, has been less effective of late. 

“We’ve got to get our lefties going,” Bochy said. “We gave them a run there and that put it at three and that’s just enough to cover it for them.”

Truth be told, the Giants were probably lucky to even have worries at that point. The wind blew a three-run Heyward homer inches foul in the sixth, and while the Giants grumbled about the final call of the game, an earlier call on Heyward for running inside the base path took a Cubs run off the board and killed a rally. It was correct by the letter of the law, but one you rarely see. The Giants escaped, but they wouldn’t come all the way back, despite Williamson’s late push. 

The young outfielder has been looking to make an impact since coming back up on the last homestand. He knew how tough Davis has been. 

“He’s been the best in the game this year and the numbers speak for themselves,” Williamson said. “He has phenomenal stuff. You get in the box and figure you’ve got nothing to lose, battle as tough as you can.”

Williamson fouled off good strikes and tantalizing balls. When he lofted a 2-2 pitch toward right, he took off out of the box. The ball carried just over the wall, and Williamson didn’t look up until he rounded third. That’s when Phil Nevin started yelling at him to slow down. Nuñez, who had a tight hamstring, turned and told Williamson to slow down.

“I kinda blacked out for a second there,” Williamson said. 

“I was like, ‘Bro, it’s a homer — just jog,’” Nunez said.

The moment temporarily sent a rush through the dugout. Minutes later, the Giants were left livid over a game that probably shouldn’t have been so close, but nonetheless was right there for them to steal. 

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — The Giants will need a win on getaway day to clinch their first winning road trip.

Wednesday's comeback attempt fell just short, as the Giants scored two in the ninth but lost to the Cubs 5-4. Since taking the first two games in St. Louis, they have dropped three of four, falling 11 games back of the Rockies in the division.

Here are five things to know from the coldest Giants game of the year … 

— Mac Williamson fouled off eight pitches before going the opposite way against Wade Davis, who entered with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances. The two-run homer ended a run of 19 consecutive solo shots by the Giants, two short of their own MLB record. It was the first homer off Davis in two years. 

— The sixth inning was one of the stranger escapes we’ve seen from a pitcher this season. With two on and one out, Jason Heyward blasted a Matt Moore pitch right down the line and it looked like it would give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. The wind blew the ball a couple of feet foul. Heyward then topped one down the line and Moore’s throw bounced away from first, allowing a run to score. But the umpires called — correctly — Heyward out for running inside the line. It’s a call you rarely see. Moore then struck out Addison Russell to keep what could have easily been a 6-2 or 4-2 game at 3-2. 

— Before the first game of this series, a Giant asked in the dugout, “I wonder what some of the Cubs’ numbers would look like at our place?” Anthony Rizzo is a .159 hitter with no homers in 18 career games at AT&T Park, but he had no issues on a night when conditions were worse than they are most nights in San Francisco. Rizzo homered off Moore in his first two at-bats. 

— Rizzo will occasionally put a bunt down to beat the shift — he had an accidental bunt in his third at-bat — which the Giants have long wanted Brandon Belt to do. Belt pushed one away from the shift in the sixth, and even though it was too close to pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the throw was off and Belt reached second. One of those a week would open up a few more holes. 

— This lineup has made a habit of making mediocre and downright bad pitchers look good, and the actual good ones are taking advantage, too. A night after Jon Lester recorded his first complete game of the year, Hendricks threw seven innings for the first time.