Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 3, Dodgers 0


Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 3, Dodgers 0

SAN FRANCISCO For 59 days in the desert, Tim Lincecum wandered and wondered.Could he be a dominant presence again? Could he perform the way his teammates, coaches and fans expected? Could he be Timmy?Under a clear blue sky in China Basin on Wednesday, the Seattle native made it rain again. He threw filth, attacked the zone, blocked the plate and kept a firm grip on the Los Angeles Dodgers, ending his 10-start winless streak with seven shutout innings in the Giants 3-0 victory that forged a tie atop the NL West.Lincecum didnt just end his personal misery. He made franchise history.Combined with starts from Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong, Lincecum capped a three-shutout sweep of their archrivals something thats never been done in all-time franchise history.In fact, the Giants hadnt shut out an opponent while sweeping a series of at least three games since April 24-25, 1954, when Marv Grissom, Sal Maglie and Johnny Antonelli pitched them to 1-0, 3-0 and 5-0 victories over the Philadelphia Phillies at the Polo Grounds.This was just the third time the Giants had thrown three consecutive shutouts in the clubs San Francisco era, and the first time since July 5-8, 1988. Terry Mulholland and Rick Reuschel started shutouts against the Cubs and Mike LaCoss blanked the Cardinals.The other streak of three consecutive shutouts in the San Francisco era came May 11-13, 1960, when Sam Jones and Jack Sanford pitched the Giants over the Phillies and Mike McCormick followed by outdueling the Dodgers Don Drysdale.In case youre wondering the Giants have never thrown four consecutive shutouts in franchise history.Starting pitching reportLincecum (3-8) showed fight and mettle while winning for the first time since April 28. He held the Dodgers to four hits in seven innings, walked two and struck out eight.He got the first-inning escape he needed following a one-out single and a walk when Juan Rivera hit a grounder to third base and Pablo Sandoval expertly fielded it to start a double play.Lincecum pumped his fist, showing plenty of emotion. He showed even more in the third inning, after pitcher Chad Billingsley doubled and took third on a wild pitch.Lincecum threw another bouncer in the dirt that got past catcher Hector Sanchez, but the little right-hander immediately sprinted home and didnt hesitate to throw his left knee in front of the plate while receiving the throw.In the rare pitcher-pitcher confrontation, Lincecum won. He let a shock of celebration run through his body after umpire Fieldin Culbreath called Billingsley out.Lincecum only appeared to grow in stature from there, and Sanchez matched his intensity with a body-sacrificing play in the fourth inning. The catcher, who was working for the second consecutive time with Lincecum, made a diving catch on Elian Herreras popped-up bunt in foul ground, landing hard on the dirt but getting up and firing to second base. Sanchez winced in pain and was checked by trainers but remained in the game.All of it seemed to fuel Lincecum, who retired nine of 10 batters beginning with Herreras foul pop. The lone exception was when Juan Uribe struck out but reached on a wild pitch in the fifth.Lincecum kept plugging the dreaded big inning before it could happen, but he had one more situation to escape after Juan Rivera led off the seventh with an infield hit and A.J. Ellis drew a one-out walk. Giants manager Bruce Bochy went out to check on Lincecum, and he mustve gotten the look and the answer that he wanted. Allowed to finish the inning, Lincecum got Tony Gwynn Jr. to fly out and then struck out Uribe, his former World Series teammate, to end his resounding afternoon.Linecum beat the Dodgers for the first time since July 30, 2010. Hed been 0-4 in six starts since then, mostly getting shaded by Clayton Kershaw despite pitching brilliantly.Bullpen reportJavier Lopez and Sergio Romo combined for the final two shutout innings, keeping a historic, shutout thumping of their rivals in order.At the plateLincecum did it all. He singled to start the two-run rally in the third inning against Billingsley (4-7). Ryan Theriot and Melky Cabrera collected one-out hits. Lincecum scored when left fielder Bobby Abreu trapped Cabreras sinking line drive, then pretended that he made a clean catch. The umpires werent fooled.Angel Pagan drew a bases-loaded walk in the third and contributed an RBI single in the fifth.Brandon Crawford broke out of his slump perhaps gaining some motivation from his new walk-up music courtesy of Kelly Clarkson and had three hits, including a triple.In fieldSanchezs play amazing.AttendanceThe Giants announced 42,245 paid. A Happy Lincecum Day was had by all.Up nextThe Giants take on another first place team, but this time they enter the series as one, too. Fresh off sweeping the Dodgers, the Giants welcome Dusty Baker and the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds for a four-game series. Theyll face the Reds best pitcher in Thursdays opener, as right-hander Johnny Cueto (9-3. 2.21) will tangle with left-hander Madison Bumgarner (9-4, 3.10). Right-handers Mike Leake, Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo, who is coming off a near no-hitter, are scheduled to face Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong.

As Samardzija ages, it isn't as easy to lose the weight gained in offseason

As Samardzija ages, it isn't as easy to lose the weight gained in offseason

Jeff Samardzija is entering Year 2 of the five-year contract he signed with the Giants following the 2015 season.

With spring training underway, what is the hardest part about getting his body and mind prepared for the upcoming campaign?

"The pitching aspects of things, the older I get, the more they kind of just fall right in line with feeling my mechanics out," Samardzija explained on KNBR 680 on Wednesday morning. "For me, it's probably the cardio (laughter). The older I get, the more I realize that you put more weight on in the offseason, then it's a little harder to get off.

"You hear about it, right? You hear about it all the time when you're younger ... and my offseasons, I like to have offseasons. I don't watch my calories. I don't watch my intake (I don't really watch any of that anyways). But the offseason -- I have fun, I relax ... then you get working out again and usually those first five or six poles, two-mile runs, camelback hikes -- they're always pretty interesting the first couple times."

The former college wide receiver is listed at 225 pounds.

Samardzija turned 32 years old in January and is entering his 10th big-league season.

He went 12-11 with a 3.81 ERA over 32 starts last year.

Over his final 10 starts, he went 3-3 with a 2.45 ERA.

"The splitter came back for me there toward the end of the year," Samardzija said. "I kind of brought the curveball in to not replace, but kind of take up some of the space of the splitter that wasn't there.

"And then come September, the splitter showed up and then we had the curveball and we ran with it from there."

Key Giants lefty reliever Smith sidelined by elbow inflammation

Key Giants lefty reliever Smith sidelined by elbow inflammation

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For years, the Giants would give Sergio Romo time off during spring training to make sure his tender elbow would be ready for opening day. Romo is now a Dodger, but one of the men tasked with replacing those eighth-inning outs has been shut down. 

Will Smith won't throw for about a week because of inflammation in his left elbow. Manager Bruce Bochy said an MRI came back clean, but Smith won't pitch in a game for two to three weeks. The Giants are confident, however, that Smith will be ready for opening day. Because of the long spring, the staff has mapped out a schedule where Smith can return and make six spring appearances before the regular season. 

Any setbacks would strike a big blow to the bullpen. Smith, 27, is supposed to be a key part of the revamped group. The Giants acquired him at the deadline last season hoping he turns into the next Jeremy Affeldt, a lefty capable of facing left- and right-handed hitters.

After a slow start in San Francisco last August, Smith ended the regular season with 18 consecutive scoreless appearances. The Giants entered camp with Smith set to share the eighth-inning role with right-handers Derek Law and Hunter Strickland.