Giants

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).

Johnny Cueto slowed Hunter Pence down, but the Rockies couldn't

Johnny Cueto slowed Hunter Pence down, but the Rockies couldn't

SAN FRANCISCO — Hunter Pence walked into the dugout 30 minutes before Tuesday’s game, slid his bat into the rack, and smiled. 

“I’m hitting leadoff tonight,” he said, noting that it’s a spot for speedsters. 

On this night, it was a spot that was slowed down. Pence kept the bat steady on a couple of big swings that led the Giants to a 4-3 win. He accompanied that with a home run jog that was one of the comedic highlights in a season sorely lacking them. 

Pence’s fifth-inning blast to dead center was the go-ahead shot at the time, and Pence made his usual quick trip around first and second. When he approached third, he was confronted by a strange sight. Johnny Cueto, who had singled, turned and held his hand up. The two hit the bag a few feet apart, and Cueto practically walked home. He took 13 seconds to go the final 90 feet, and Pence — once nicknamed Full Throttle by his manager — had no choice but to follow in a power-walk of his own. 

“I was like, ‘I’m not the starting pitcher.’ They expend a lot of energy — every pitch is like a sprint,” Pence said. “You’ve got to take it easy if they tell you to take it easy.”

Pence has 218 career homers. He said this was the slowest jog of his career, and that’s exactly what Cueto wanted. 

“Obviously I was very happy when he hit the home run, and I just kept telling him to go ahead and slow down and enjoy the homer, because you're always running so fast,” Cueto said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. 

The home run power-walk was a funny moment, but it was also instructive. Pence brings the same energy and enjoyable attitude every day. In Cueto, his neighbor in the clubhouse, he has found a similar player. He said he’s hopeful that Cueto returns next season — as is expected — and noted that it’s a positive trait to have fun in this kind of season. 

“That’s imperative and it’s extremely important to keep that passion,” Pence said. “It’s not just about the standings. We love competing.”

Cueto showed his own fire by getting a lead into the seventh despite a soaring early pitch count. When Hunter Strickland coughed it up in the eighth, the Giants bounced right back. Pence ended the night with a sacrifice fly to center with the bases loaded. That capped a big night for him, one that left him smiling from start to finish. 

“It’s always a good time when you’re hitting a homer,” he said. 

Perhaps that’s why Cueto forced him to soak it all in.

Giants lineup: Two righties back in for opener against Rockies

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USATSI

Giants lineup: Two righties back in for opener against Rockies

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Rockies-Giants coverage begins at 6pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming right here.

After dealing with back spasms over the weekend, Hunter Pence is back in the lineup Tuesday against the Rockies.

Colorado Rockies:
1. Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
2. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
3. Carlos Gonzalez (L) RF
4. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
5. Gerardo Parra (L) LF
6. Trevor Story (R) SS
7. Ian Desmond (R) 1B
8. Jonathan Lucroy (R) C
9. German Marquez (R) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Denard Span (L) CF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
7. Pablo Sandoval (S) 1B
8. Ryder Jones (L) 3B
9. Johnny Cueto (R) RHP