Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 3, Padres 1

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 3, Padres 1

BOX SCORE

SAN DIEGO Try telling Ryan Vogelsong that Friday nights game was meaningless. Try telling Buster Posey, who took a pitch flush to the Adams apple, refused to call it a day and then widened his lead in the NL batting race.And try telling the thousands of orange-clad folks who bought airline tickets from the Bay Area to San Diego weeks ago, in the hopes the Giants would clinch at Petco Park.The Rug Doctors scrubbed down the home clubhouse a week ago, but the Giants did not lack for motivation in a 3-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.Vogelsong put himself back in the conversation for a playoff start after holding down the Padres for the second time in a week. Posey tripled and doubled to raise his average to .334 and Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run double as the Giants improved to 92-65, matching their regular-season victory total from 2010, when they went on to win the first World Series in the franchises six-decade San Francisco era.In terms of playoff seeding, the Giants are three games behind the Reds and Nationals, who would enter the playoffs as the top two seeds if the regular season were to end today. (The Nats hold the tiebreaker with the Reds and would be the No.1 seed.)Because the Giants lost the season series to both the Nats and the Reds, they would have to finish with a better record to leap either of those clubs in postseason seeding.Starting pitching reportRemember when Vogelsong had a knack for escaping jams and pitching free of trouble?He found it over six innings while holding down a lineup that had just seen him a week earlier. The right-hander mixed stuff with toughness to get his team back into the dugout, and did his best work after errors were committed behind him.Vogelsong (14-9) might have gotten a bit lucky in the first inning, when Yonder Alonso lined out to shortstop Brandon Crawford with runners at the corners. But Vogelsong picked up Crawford in the fourth when he picked off Chris Denorfia after the Padres No.5 hitter reached on the shortstops throwing error.Vogelsong made his biggest escape in the sixth, after first baseman Brandon Belt bobbled a ground ball and then threw high to second base. The ball sailed into left field and the Padres had two runners in scoring position with no outs.Alonso hit an RBI single to put the tying runners at the corners, but Vogelsong struck out Denorfia and got Cameron Maybin to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.In his last two starts, Vogelsong has held the Padres to one earned run over 12 innings. He struck out four on Friday while issuing only one walk, and that one was strategic a free pass to No.8 hitter Andy Parrino with a base open in the second inning.Vogelsong is in line to pitch one more time in the regular season. Hed get the ball in Game No.162 Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.Bullpen reportThe Giants bullpen threw three scoreless innings, but there was plenty of intrigue because right-hander Sergio Romo never took off his gray sweatshirt.Left-handers Jose Mijares and Jeremy Affeldt each worked a 1-2-3 inning, and after Javier Lopez got his lefty hitter to start the ninth, manager Bruce Bochy turned to Santiago Casilla instead of Romo.Even after Casilla gave up two singles, Romo didnt do anything more strenuous than stretch as Guillermo Mota got loose on the mound. Casilla got a pop fly and ground out to record his 25th save in 31 chances, though.At the plateA triple and a squibbed single count the same in your batting average, but Buster Posey doesnt believe in half measures.Posey went all-out in the second inning after hitting a ball to the gap in right-center field, reaching for his first triple since 2010. He scored when Hunter Pence tapped an infield single.Xavier Nady caught triples fever, too. He led off the fourth by stretching his first since 2008. But Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford couldnt score him with the infield in.Some other kind of illness overcame Marco Scutaro, who was replaced by Ryan Theriot in the fourth inning because of what the Giants described as head and chest congestion. Before bowing out, Scutaro managed an infield hit to extend his streak to a career-best 16 games.Scutaros single in the third put runners at first and second for Pablo Sandoval, who plated them both with a double to left center that gave the Giants a 3-0 lead. Sandoval later hit a hard out to right field; he might be the one hitter who loves swinging the bat at Petco Park.Posey drew an intentional walk and struck out to finish 2 for 4 and end the day with a .334 average. (rounded up from .33397). Andrew McCutchen, part of a Pirates lineup that was no-hit by the Reds Homer Bailey, is at .33043.In fieldBelts error nearly blew up Vogelsongs victory in the sixth inning, but the first basman also made a diving stop of pitcher Andrew Werners hard grounder down the line in the fifth inning.The scariest moment happened in the second inning when one of Vogelsongs curveballs bounced in the dirt and struck Posey near his throat. The catcher appeared stunned and swallowed repeatedly, but after a consultation with manager Bruce Bochy and head trainer Dave Groeschner, he remained in the game. Three pitches later, Cabrera popped out to strand two runners in scoring position.AttendanceThe Padres announced 32,691 paid, including at least 100 Giants fans who were on the Virgin America Fear the Beard plane with me in the morning out of SFO.Up nextThe Giants continue their series at South China Basin on Saturday. Madison Bumgarner (16-10) makes his final regular-season start. Hell oppose left-hander Eric Stults (7-3, 2.81).

Obama celebrates World Series champion Chicago Cubs at White House

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AP

Obama celebrates World Series champion Chicago Cubs at White House

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is celebrating the World Series champion Chicago Cubs before he leaves office.

On what usually is a sleepy federal holiday at the White House, Cubs players filed into the White House East Room on Martin Luther King Day for Obama's final ceremony for a championship sports team. Even sweeter for Obama is that the Cubs hail from his hometown.

The president has a home in Chicago and is a White Sox fan. He rooted for the Cubs after the Sox failed to reach the playoffs.

Obama invited the Cubs hours after they won the series in November, asking on Twitter if the team wanted to visit before his term ends on Friday.

The Cubs won their first World Series title since 1908 by defeating the Cleveland Indians.

Giants avoid arbitration with Nunez, Smith, Kontos

Giants avoid arbitration with Nunez, Smith, Kontos

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants avoided arbitration with three more veterans on Friday, agreeing to one-year deals with third baseman Eduardo Nuñez, left-hander Will Smith and right-hander George Kontos.

Financial details were not immediately available. MLB Trade Rumors' projections put Nuñez at about $4.4 million, Smith at about $2.3 million, and Kontos at about $1.7 million. The Giants reached deals with all six arbitration eligible players this offseason. 

Nunez, acquired last summer, will enter camp as the starter at third base. He posted a .269/.327/.418 slash line and 12 stolen bases after coming over from the Twins.

Smith was also acquired before the trade deadline, and he had a 2.95 ERA in 26 appearances for the Giants. He is expected to play a pivotal role in setting up for new closer Mark Melancon. 

Kontos has long been Bruce Bochy's most reliable reliever in the middle innings and he could move to a higher-leverage role in a revamped bullpen. He had a 2.53 ERA in 2016, his fifth season with the Giants.

The Giants had previously reached one-year deals with Cory Gearrin, Ehire Adrianza and Conor Gillaspie. They have not gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when a deal could not be reached with A.J. Pierzynski.