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.

Giants lineup: Posey, Arroyo out against Braves

Giants lineup: Posey, Arroyo out against Braves

Mired in a big slump, rookie Christian Arroyo is getting a night off, while Nick Hundley is catching in place of Buster Posey Saturday.

Atlanta Braves:
1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Tyler Flowers (R) C
7. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
8. Danny Santana (S) 3B
9. Mike Foltynewicz (R) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
3. Joe Panik (L) 2B
4. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Aaron Hill (R) 3B
7. Nick Hundley (R) C
8. Mac Williamson (R) RF
9. Ty Blach (R) P


Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

SAN FRANCISCO — Over in Cleveland earlier Friday, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer for the visiting team and five other players chipped in a pair of hits. The Royals had six runs, which meant that when Jim Johnson closed the Giants out a few hours later, what has seemed true all season became officially true. The Giants have the lowest-scoring lineup in the majors.

At 3.32 runs per game, they have dipped below the equally-disappointing Royals (3.38). They are capable at the moment of making any pitching staff look dominant. A 2-0 shutout was the first of the year for the Braves, who previously had just two games this season where they allowed fewer than two runs. 

“Six runs in (the last) four games … I thought we would come home and get some rips in tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Bruce Bochy said. 

The manager’s frustration showed late in this one. After the only rally of the game — a two-run single by opposing pitcher Jaime Garcia — Bochy took his cap off and rubbed his forehead. He dipped his head and briefly stood as if he was going to fall asleep on the rail. The bats were equally still. 

The Giants had just four hits, all of them singles against Garcia, who is a nice pitcher but hardly one of the league’s best. One was an infield single by Eduardo Nuñez, another a single through Garcia’s five-hole, and a third a generous ruling by the official scorekeeper. 

“It comes down to, you’ve got to get some hits and create opportunities, and we’re not doing it very often,” Bochy said. “It’s just a matter of guys getting somewhat hot. We did, we had some success, and we won some games. The thing you like to see is some good cuts and I didn’t think we got enough of those tonight.”

That run, which spanned the last homestand and small parts of two road trips, has come to a screeching halt. The Giants have lost five of six. It seems silly to scoreboard-watch in May, especially when a team is playing like this, but it’s worth noting that the teams the Giants eventually need to catch keep winning. They fell 12 games back of the Rockies and 11 back of the streaking Diamondbacks. They are 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who might be the best team in the whole league. 

Matt Cain did his part to allow the Giants to keep pace. He got beat just once in seven sharp innings. The Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, who bounced a single into left. Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw was short and hit the runner. A second run scored. 

“That’s tough,” Cain said. “(Garcia) was throwing the ball really good and that’s what it comes down to, you’re looking for that one hit and he did it. He’s a good hitter. We’ve seen it in St. Louis. But it definitely is tough when the pitcher does that … it just stinks on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher.”