Giants

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).

Giants lineup: Span back in center, batting third vs Dodgers

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AP

Giants lineup: Span back in center, batting third vs Dodgers

Even with the Giants facing a left-handed pitcher Saturday night vs. the Dodgers, Bruce Bochy is going with Denard Span as his three-hitter.

San Francisco Giants (60-94)

1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Denard Span (L) CF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 3B
8. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
9. Madison Bumgarner (R) P

Los Angeles Dodgers (98-56)

1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Enrique Hernandez (R) LF
4. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
5. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
6. Austin Barnes (R) C
7. Kyle Farmer (R) 1B
8. Charlie Culberson (R) 2B
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu (R) P

As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

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USATSI

As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

LOS ANGELES — The Giants left their dugout quickly after Friday’s loss, escaping a celebration on the mound and a fireworks show in the sky. As Dodger Stadium shook with cheers, Bruce Bochy sat in the visiting clubhouse and smiled. He nodded at his laptop, which earlier had been used to pull up highlights of Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani. 

“He’s good,” Bochy said, laughing. “I absolutely would play him every day.”

Earlier in the week, when it became known that Bobby Evans and Jeremy Shelley were headed to Japan to scout Otani, Bochy said he couldn’t imagine a player pitching and then moving to the outfield between starts. What changed? 

Perhaps it was the tape Bochy saw. Otani throws 100 mph and hits homers with ease. Or perhaps it was the game he watched Friday. The Giants lost for the 94th time, with the big blow coming from a 22-year-old Dodgers star. Cody Bellinger’s blast was the difference in a 4-2 win, and the Giants don’t have a Bellinger, or anything close. Otani, 23, is a long shot for a team that very well could finish with the worst record in baseball. Still, he’s the kind of talent that could help pull the Giants closer in a hurry. He’s the  kind of talent they haven’t developed in years, and Bochy certainly sounded a bit wistful as he talked of the power Bellinger has put on display. 

“You call up a guy and he does that — that just doesn’t happen,” he said. “It’s a rare deal.”

The ninth inning of the Dodgers’ clincher reinforced that point for the Giants. They got a homer from Pablo Sandoval, but he’s playing only because Christian Arroyo — the Giants’ best prospect bet this year — is hurt. Ryder Jones, their 23-year-old prospect, struck out to end the night, dropping his average to .180. 

That set off a celebration for Bellinger and the Dodgers. They have won five straight NL West titles, with three of the last four clinched against the Giants. 

“Congrats to them,” Bochy said. “They’ve had a tremendous year across the board, and they’ve played great baseball. They brought some guys up that really did a great job for them. It’s well deserved.”

Bochy said it was not difficult to watch this one. The division has been wrapped up for months, with only a September slide keeping the Dodgers from clinching earlier. 

“We knew what we were facing here,” Bochy said. 

The Giants have two more against the Dodgers and then six more before a long winter. The Dodgers, on the other hand, will host an NLDS series here at Dodger Stadium. Both Bochy and starter Jeff Samardzija made the same observation, that the Dodgers will have a hard time cutting their deep roster down to 25 postseason players. 

That’s a nice problem to have. It’s a foreign one right now for the Giants, who have a serious talent gap and no clear solutions internally. It’s no wonder, then, that Bochy has all of a sudden become so intrigued by a wondrous talent overseas.