Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 2, Cubs 1


Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 2, Cubs 1


SAN FRANCISCO If Matt Cain looked any more appropriately temporal in his 1912 throwback uniform on Saturday, he wouldve stepped out of a cornfield before taking the bullpen mound.He had the stern face and the ringed socks and the wide belt. All he needed was a nickname like the Woonsocket Winger.And by the end of the Giants 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs, Cain had something else: A .500 record.It only seems like a century since Cain had as many wins as losses. Pitching with a dead-ball ration of run support most nights, he hadnt enjoyed an even ledger since he was a 22-year-old with a 17-17 record in May, 2007.Now, after charging the hill like a doughboy to beat the Cubs, he is 6-2 on the season and 75-75 for his career.He got there by doing what hes done throughout his tenure as a Giant. He pumped strikes, he did not shrink with runners on base and cutting through lineups like he was working on the stockyard floor.The Giants used some spit and polish to score two runs in the sixth inning. It involved three singles, a bases-loaded walk and an RBI ground out.The Giants own one home run in their last 17 home games. So the dead-ball era is alive and well. Good thing Cain is suited to win in any century.
Starting pitching reportCain held the Cubs to a run on five hits in eight-plus innings to win his fifth consecutive start.He faced the minimum over the first three innings, helped in part by Steve Clevengers lineout that third baseman Joaquin Arias turned into a double play.David DeJesus hit a 400-foot home run in the fourth but Cain struck out Alfonso Soriano to strand a runner at second base. The Cubs threatened again in the sixth when Tony Campana hit an infield single, stole second base and DeJesus drew a two-out walk. The Cubs executed a double-steal to put more pressure on Cain, who fell behind Soriano 3-0. But the right-hander ran the count full and got Soriano to pop out to end the inning.After the Giants went ahead in the bottom of the sixth, Cain pitched an emphatic shutdown inning. He needed just seven pitches to dispatch the Cubs in the seventh, giving him an opportunity to try to go the distance.Cain dusted off Campana with a slider to end the eighth and he took the mound in the ninth to a standing ovation with 110 pitches under his belt. He was lifted after walking Starlin Castro to start the inning and walked off shaking his head amid another outpouring.Bullpen reportJavier Lopez got two outs on two pitches. Then Sergio Romos knee looked just fine as he threw three sliders to Soriano to record his fourth career save.At the plateMatt Garza, who is expected to be a prized commodity on the trade market, didnt provide the Giants many scoring opportunities after Angel Pagan struck out to strand two in the first inning.But Ryan Theriot and Melky Cabrera led off the sixth with singles, and after Buster Posey lined out, Pagan hit an end-of-the-bat dribbler for an infield hit to load the bases.It was the 26th consecutive home game with a hit for Pagan, moving him into a tie with Mike Donlin for the all-time franchise record. (The Elias Sports Bureau determined that Donlin hit in 26 consecutive home games in 1905-06.)Garza roared in protest as Aubrey Huff drew a walk on a close, 3-2 pitch inside at the knees, resulting in his fifth RBI of the season and his first since April 16. Then Joaquin Arias followed with a chopper to shortstop that probably wasnt hit hard enough for the Cubs to turn two even if Tinker, Evers and Chance were on their infield.Huff made sure, taking out Darwin Barney with a hard slide as Cabrera scored the tiebreaking run.In fieldThe Giants made a tremendous play on two ends in the fourth inning, when third baseman Arias turned in a barehand pickup of Tony Campanas bunt and fist baseman Huff scooped a throw in the dirt.Everyone liked it but first base umpire Mark Carlson, who was no Bill Klem. Carlson called Campana safe even though the throw beat him by a full step.Posey made a perfect throw from behind the plate and Theriot snapped a tag to catch Campana trying to steal second base. And wouldnt you know it? Second base umpire Cory Blaser got the call right.Arias just keeps getting better at third base. Despite playing on the grass to defense against the bunt, he made a clean pickup of David DeJesus hard grounder and threw on target to second base to start a huge double play in the ninth.AttendanceThe Giants announced 41,239 paid. And yes, those beers were sold at 2012 prices.Up nextThe Giants and Cubs continue their four-game series with the third installment on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. PDT. Left-hander Barry Zito (4-2, 3.41) will take on left-hander Travis Wood (0-1, 5.94). Sleek, modern uniforms will be worn by both teams.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami


SAN FRANCISCO — The flight from Miami to San Francisco is one of the longest in the league. It will not be a happy one.

The Giants fell behind early and never recovered, losing 8-1 in the series finale with the Marlins. The Giants had won six of nine entering the road trip. They dropped a series in Washington D.C. and then lost two of three to the Marlins. 

You are here already, so here are five things to know … 

—- Matt Cain deserved better in the first, and it was kind of a stunning error that cost him. With two outs, Brandon Crawford dropped a liner that was hit right at him. The next batter, Tomas Telis, hit a two-run double. 

—- Cain was charged with five runs in four innings, but only two of them were earned. He struck out seven and walked just one, showing a good curveball throughout. Several times, he dropped down for a new look. Like I said, he deserved a bit better than that final line. 

—- Pablo Sandoval’s walk in the eighth was his first since returning to the Giants. His numbers, by the way, are right in line with his Boston numbers. 

—- Albert Suarez has seen his stuff take a tick up during this stint with the Giants, but it’s not leading to results. After giving up a walk-off grand slam on Sunday, he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings in relief of Cain. Suarez currently has a 7.43 ERA. 

—- Giancarlo Stanton was 2 for 4 with two singles. His run of six games with a homer came to an end. I suppose that’s a small victory for the Giants?

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective


Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

Because we are too cool to allow the games to sustain us and because we all think the purpose of sports is actually not to be the best player but the general manager, the new item on the baseball menu is not the pennant races but “Where should Giancarlo Stanton go?”

The usual suspects are listed – the Yankees, the Giants, the Chunichi Dragons, Real Madrid – and the $295 million still on his contract is not considered an impediment.

But the logic behind the Marlins keeping him is just as clear and more pressing. Namely, Bruce Sherman, the incoming owner, and Derek Jeter, the designated face, did not buy this team and promptly try to make themselves detested by the few people who still care about it.

So far, we know that the monstrous thing in center field (no, not Christian Yelich) is likely to be torn down, and that Stanton is don’t-go-to-the-bathroom-during-his-half-inning entertainment. Beyond that, we know only that the Marlins draw when they win a lot and barely at all the rest of the time. They are clearly a distant third in a four-team race with the Dolphins and Heat for people’s hearts, and now that hating Jeffrey Loria’s living guts are off the table for the fans, there really is no there, there.

So what’s the up-side of moving Stanton (and before we go any further, the Giants don’t have nearly enough assets to make that work, so calm the hell down) for the Marlins? Prospects, the dark hole that makes a three-year plan a six-year plan.

And the down-side? Sherman may as well move the team for the level of fun he’ll get from it, and the only reason to buy a team looking at a $60 million loss is for the fun. Besides, onlky a very few owners have ever made the full turn from villain to hero – the first impression almost always lasts forever.

So while Stanton may create immediate wallet relief for this aggressively average team (their current record of 57-61 is the 12th best in their 25-year history, and they’ve only had eight winning seasons ever), they also have nothing to sell the fans that they have to live with every day. And if they don’t have enough fans . . . well, I hear San Jose is always hot for a mediocre franchise that lurches between spending money and hoarding it.