Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 16, Rockies 4

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 16, Rockies 4

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO Giants manager Bruce Bochy laid into his club during a pregame meeting, challenging them to get mentally tough and compete at the plate instead of fixating on personal stats.

His players responded by competing well and then padding those stats.

Buster Posey hit a three-run home run, Angel Pagan took out his frustrations on the baseball while reaching four times in his first start at leadoff since May and the Giants scored a season-high in runs while throttling Jonathan Sanchez and the Colorado Rockies 16-4 Friday night at Coors Field.

The Giants opened up a 3-0 game when they scored four runs in the seventh inning, six in the eighth and three more in the ninth. It was their biggest output since Aug. 25, 2010 vs. Cincinnati.

No need to worry about that run differential, which had slipped to minus-3 for the season entering Fridays game.
Starting pitching report

Ryan Vogelsong (9-5) was pitching as brilliantly as any point this season when he carried a one-hit shutout into the seventh inning.

The right-hander faced the minimum in five of his first six innings and got a bases-loaded double-play grounder to escape his only threat in the fourth. He entered the seventh as the major league leader with a 2.12 ERA.

He was cruising toward history, too. He was well on his way to a 17th consecutive quality start (at least six innings, no more than three earned runs), which would match the San Francisco-era franchise record established by Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry in 1967-68.

But the Giants bullpen hasnt been so reliable lately, so you could understand Bochys desire to squeeze another inning out of Vogelsong. The right-hander couldnt deliver, retiring only one of five batters. Dexter Fowler tripled, Jordan Pacheco and Todd Helton hit consecutive doubles and power-hitting catcher Wilin Rosario followed with a two-run blast as the Rockies trimmed the Giants lead to 7-4.

Just like that, Vogelsongs ERA rose to 2.38 and his streak of quality starts ended. Hes now second in the N.L. in ERA behind the Nationals Jordan Zimmermann.

At least his decision stayed intact.

Bullpen report

George Kontos brought the tourniquet in the seventh inning, Jeremy Affeldt threw a scoreless eighth and Santiago Casilla was able to regain some confidence in a 1-2-3 ninth.

At the plate

The Rockies are trying to survive with a four-man rotation and limit each member to 75 pitches per outing. To which we say good luck with that, especially with Sanchez as a part of the puzzle.

In a sight all too familiar to Giants fans, Sanchez threw 36 pitches in a two-run first inning while walking two and slinging one offering to the backstop. It didnt help when shortstop Josh Rutledge let Melky Cabreras ground ball tick off his glove for an error.

The Giants started the rally when Pagan, leading off for the first time since May 23, laced a double and Ryan Theriot singled him in. Hunter Pence hit into a bases-loaded fielders choice that scored Theriot, but the Giants couldnt break the game open. After Brett Pill walked to load the bases again, Joaquin Arias flied out.

With Arias fly out, the Giants fell to a staggering 1-for-39 with two outs and the bases loaded this season. Their only hit in those situations was a two-run single by Gregor Blanco back in May.

The Giants added a run in the fourth when Pill, who started because the Giants faced a left-hander, belted a home run to greet (wouldnt you know it?) right-hander Adam Ottavino.

But they sustained a rally in the seventh that Vogelsong started with a double for his first extra-base hit of the season. Pagan followed with an RBI triple, marking the first time since July 5 that he reached base three times in a game.

After Theriot walked, Cabrera -- who was acquired for Sanchez from Kansas City -- continued to leave no doubt that the Giants pulled the trade of the offseason. He hit a two-run double for his major league-leading 146th hit of the season as the Giants gave themselves some breathing room.

They got plenty more in a six-run eighth inning, as Buster Posey fouled off a 3-0 pitch before clubbing the next one for a three-run home run.

Pagan contributed an infield single, marking the first occasion since May 18 -- 62 games ago -- that he reached base four times in a game via hit or walk.

In field

The Giants didnt make any tough plays, but they ran the bases well. Pagan aggressively scored on a wild pitch and Theriot showed a good motor while scoring from first base on a double.

There was a bit of late-inning extracurriculars when the Rockies Carlos Torres buzzed Posey with an up-and-in pitch in the ninth. Did we mention he swung 3-0 with a six-run lead in the eighth.

Attendance

The Rockies announced 30,176 paid, and fans cheered loudest when the Rockies showed highlights of Coloradoan Missy Franklin swimming the backstroke to a gold medal. Hey, maybe Franklin would fit in the Rockies rotation. They both go backwards in a hurry.

Up next

The Giants continue their series at Coors Field against the pitching paupers of the N.L. West. Madison Bumgarner (11-6, 3.09) takes the mound against Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis (3-3, 5.43).

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

BELT RIVER FIELDS, Ariz. — Earlier this spring, Brandon Belt moved his schedule around so he could get additional at-bats. That led to some random trips across the desert, but there was never any doubt Belt would be in Friday’s road lineup.

Belt demolishes the ball at Salt River Fields, spring home of the Rockies and Diamondbacks. After coming out of Friday’s win, he shook his head in mock disgust when talking about the day’s stats.

“One for four, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” Belt said. “That’s terrible.”

That one happened to be a homer, a three-run shot off Jon Gray, the likely opening day starter for the Rockies. Belt thought he crushed the ball but it ended up pretty high, so it simply dropped onto the berm in right. 

“It squeaked out,” Belt said. “Good mojo, I guess.”

The mojo kept his remarkable run going at Salt River. His updated career stats here: 22 for 35, with eight homers, four doubles, one triple and 18 RBI. Belt said he’s not quite sure why he turns into the flames emoji every time he steps onto this field. 

“I don’t know what it is, but I like hitting here,” he said. “Maybe it’s the batter’s eye?”

Salt River has a dark green batter’s eye with no distractions on either side, and the Giants certainly saw the ball well Friday. They had seven straight hits in the third before Gray was pulled with a sore foot. Belt hit second, and manager Bruce Bochy said that wasn’t simply because Joe Panik had the day off. Bochy will look at several different lineup permutations over the next week, and a Span/Belt/Pence/Posey/Crawford one-through-five is one option. 

“I like (that spot) a lot,” Belt said. “I feel good getting started and knowing I’ll get to bat in the first inning. It’s a good spot. I don’t think my approach changes that much: Get a pitch to hit and try to hit it hard.”

GAME RECAP: Jeff Samardzija was sharp in four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three. He threw about 45 pitches on the field and then went down to the bullpen for 45 more. Samardzija certainly benefited from having Buster Posey back in the lineup. He said Posey noticed during warmups that Samardzija’s delivery was a little flat and his arm was dragging too low. 

“That doesn’t happen often,” Samardzija said of having a guy like Posey back there. “You have a lot of catchers who are afraid to say something.”

The rest of this one was a laugher until the ninth, when the Rockies rallied and brought the winning run to the plate. It hasn’t been a great spring for the bullpen.

STOCK WATCH: Chris Marrero hit a deep homer, his seventh of the spring. He also made a nice pick at first, where he looks much more comfortable. At this point, it appears it’s either Marrero or Kelby Tomlinson for that final bench spot.

TRAINER’S ROOM: The news on Will Smith was as expected. He will have Tommy John surgery next week. 

There is good news for Trevor Brown: The catcher, who has a sore ankle, took some swings and he’s feeling much better. Brown did not, as first reported, get hurt hiking on an off day. It happened during a game. Brown won’t be ready in time to return to Cactus League action, so he’ll likely stay here during the Bay Bridge Series and then travel home with Triple-A Sacramento. 

ICYMI: Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Mark Melancon are back in camp. Here’s a story on Posey’s WBC experience, with the catcher saying he’d like to play again in four years. Here’s Crawford on his month, which ended with him giving an NL West rival a slump-busting bat. 

ROSTER UPDATE: The Giants released David Hernandez, at his request. They have started to tell others that they’re not making the opening day roster, so there should be a series of minor transactions this weekend. (You know where to go.)

QUOTABLE: "I swung at a heater and a slider went right into my bat. I was happy to be able to track (pitches), and happy that the next time the bunt didn't go off my beautiful face." -- Samardzija, when asked about his double off the wall. 

Plenty of high-profile MLB players wearing new uniforms in 2017

Plenty of high-profile MLB players wearing new uniforms in 2017

Chris Sale traded socks (AP) -- or Sox - from white to red. Edwin Encarnacion took his big bat to Cleveland. Aroldis Chapman returned to the Bronx.

Plenty of All-Stars, Cy Young winners and MVPs are wearing new uniforms this season.

The biggest move occurred when the Boston Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox. The five-time All-Star left-hander left a team that hasn't reached the playoffs since 2008 for one that's won three World Series titles since 2004.

Encarnacion left Toronto for the team that beat the Blue Jays in last year's ALCS. He averaged 39 homers and 110 RBIs over the past five seasons in Toronto and gives the Indians a major boost.

Chapman is back in New York after spending the first half of last season with the Yankees before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs and helped them win the World Series.

Here's a 25-man roster of familiar faces in different places this season:

STARTING LINEUP

1. CF: Dexter Fowler. Jumped from World Series champion Cubs to rival St. Louis. Gives the Cardinals stability atop the batting order.

2. RF: Adam Eaton. Traded from White Sox to defending NL East champion Nationals. He'll play center field in Washington between Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper.

3. DH: Kendrys Morales. Joined Blue Jays to help fill Encarnacion's void after spending past two seasons with the Royals.

4. 1B: Encarnacion.

5. C: Brian McCann. Traded from Yankees to Astros, giving Houston's stacked lineup another slugger.

6. SS: Ian Desmond. Returns to NL to join Rockies after one season playing outfield in Texas. He'll play first base for Colorado, but he's back at shortstop on this squad.

7. LF: Matt Holliday. Signed with Yankees following 7 1/2 seasons in St. Louis. The seven-time All-Star will likely DH in New York though he'll see some action in left field.

8. 2B: Brandon Phillips. Waived no-trade clause to go to rebuilding Braves after 11 seasons with Reds.

9. 3B: Howie Kendrick. Comes east after spending his entire career in Los Angeles - nine seasons with Angels and last two with Dodgers. Kendrick is playing left field for Philadelphia but he starts at third to fill this lineup.

BENCH

1B: Chris Carter. Landed with Yankees after swatting 41 homers for Milwaukee last season to tie for NL lead.

INF: Jimmy Rollins. Former NL MVP is trying to land a roster spot with San Francisco as a utility man after playing all but one-third inning of his 17-year career at shortstop. Has bounced from Dodgers to White Sox to Giants after 15 seasons in Philadelphia.

OF: Michael Saunders. All-Star for Blue Jays last season and will start in right field for Phillies.

OF: Carlos Beltran. Returns to Houston after spending half the 2004 season with the Astros and hitting eight postseason homers for them.

C: Matt Wieters. Left Baltimore for Washington to replace All-Star Wilson Ramos, who joined Tampa Bay and is still recovering from knee surgery.

STARTING ROTATION

Sale.

Edinson Volquez. Goes from Royals to Marlins.

Jaime Garcia. Lefty joins Braves after eight seasons in St. Louis.

Jered Weaver. Stays in California, switching to Padres after 11 seasons with Angels.

R.A. Dickey. Knuckleballer returns to NL East after four seasons in Toronto. One of two 40-plus former Cy Young award winners signed by Braves.

LONG RELIEVER

Bartolo Colon. Other veteran Braves signed to bolster rotation. He'll be long man on this staff.

BULLPEN

Chapman.

Mark Melancon. Signed with Giants after finishing last season in Washington.

Sergio Romo. Went from San Francisco to rival Dodgers.

Wade Davis. Traded from Royals to Cubs to replace Chapman.

Santiago Casilla. Stays in Bay Area, going from Giants to A's.