Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 5, Angels 3

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 5, Angels 3

BOX SCORE
ANAHEIM Matt Cain was far from perfect Monday night.He allowed the leadoff batter to reach base in each of his five innings. He struggled to locate while lobbing 100 pitches. If he forgot how to work out of the stretch after going 27 up and 27 down in his history-making outing last Wednesday, the Los Angeles Angels gave him plenty of practice.But Cain found a way to make pitches amid a freeway interchange of traffic while surviving just long enough to earn the decision. He became the first Giant since Rick Reuschel in 1989 to win eight consecutive starts as the Giants held on for a 5-3 victory at Angel Stadium.Cain wasnt perfect, but the Giants bullpen was. Shane Loux, Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla combined to retire all 12 batters they faced.Former Giant Jerome Williams, who was chased in the fourth inning, was taken to a hospital during the game because of breathing problems, Angels officials confirmed. His condition wasnt immediately known, but the hospitalization was believed to be a precaution.Starting pitching reportFor the first time all season, Cain (9-2) didnt complete six innings. But he certainly put in a full days labor while stranding seven baserunners.Any thoughts of another no-hitter vanished with the first batter, as ultra-talented rookie Mike Trout whistled a single to end Cains streak at 32 consecutive batters retired. Cain never got close to matching the NL record of 41, set by the Giants Jim Barr in 1972.Trout stole second base, advanced on a deep fly out and scored when right fielder Gregor Blanco made an impressive, running grab of Albert Pujols sacrifice fly.Cain served up a solo homer to Mike Trumbo leading off the second inning but pitched out of a one-out, runners-at-the-corners jam when he got Bobby Wilson to ground sharply into a double play to shortstop Brandon Crawford.Cain faced the same situation in the third after hitting Pujols on the hand with a first-pitch fastball, but he struck out Kendry Morales and got Trumbo to fly out. He couldnt pitch his way completely out of the fourth inning, after the Angels loaded the bases with no outs on a single, a walk and a masterful bunt by Manny Aybar. Wilsons sacrifice fly to the warning track got the Angels within 4-3.But Cain did not surrender the lead. He blocked Trouts hard comebacker with his midsection and recovered to throw to the plate, where Posey made a swipe tag on Maicer Izturis. A walk to Torii Hunter loaded the bases for Pujols, who entered 8 for 14 with two homers against Cain.It was the confrontation of the game. The right-hander missed with two slow, outside sliders, but threw a tighter version of the pitch on the hands and Pujols fouled it into the Angels dugout. Then Cain came back with another drop-in curveball and Pujols grounded into a fielders choice to end the inning.The question was no longer when Cain would give up a hit but whether he would last long enough to win. He issued a leadoff walk in the fifth as Loux warmed up behind him in the bullpen. Then the longest-tenured Giant dug deep, as he usually does. He retired the next three hitters, two on strikeouts, to get his team back in the dugout and qualify for the victory.Bullpen reportLoux worked the Giants first perfect inning of the game, retiring all three hitters in the sixth inning. Romo did the same in the seventh, getting Pujols to ground out while going through the middle of the Angels lineup.After Romo retired Trumbo on a pop fly to start the eighth, Affeldt took care of the next two hitters and Casilla recorded his 19th save in 20 opportunities.At the plateWilliams had good stuff but couldnt always harness it, and the Giants put up a series of smart at-bats to drive him from the game in the fourth inning.Crawfords two-run triple followed walks to Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt in the second inning. After Trumbos solo shot off Cain tied the score, the Giants moved back in front in the third on consecutive singles by Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey and Angel Pagan. Cabrera raced home on an aggressive send by third-base coach Tim Flannery, aware that center fielder Torii Hunters arm isnt what it used to be.The Giants manufactured a run in the fourth when Joaquin Arias singled, stole a base, moved up on Gregor Blancos ground out and scored on Ryan Theriots single.Theriot added another RBI hit in the sixth after Arias doubled and advanced on Blancos sacrifice (which replays showed he beat out).Cabrera ended up with his ninth three-hit game of the season to give him a major league high 98 hits; Theriot also finished with three singles. Belt reached base four times on a double, a hard single and two walks. His on-base percentage is up to .379.In fieldBlancos grab on Pujols in the first inning set the tone for the night. Belt made two nice stabs at first base and Arias played flawlessly while handling several between-hops chances at third.Pujols made the play of the night, when he stretched to snag Blancos liner in the eighth.AttendanceThe Angels announced 41,234 paid. Although the Giants were well represented, stuffed monkeys outnumbered pandas and giraffes by at least a 6-to-1 margin.Up nextThe Giants continue their series at Angel Stadium Tuesday night with a battle of offbeat left-handers. Barry Zito (5-4, 3.61) will face the Angels C.J. Wilson (7-4, 2.30).

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

Editor's Note: The above video was recorded following Matt Cain's perfect game in 2012.

Gregor Blanco's bid to make the Arizona Diamondbacks' Opening Day roster is over.

The former Giants outfielder was released on Monday, Arizona announced.

Blanco had been dealing with an oblique injury and had played since March 21.

In 14 Cactus League games, Blanco went 9-for-40 (.225) with one double and three triples.

Blanco spent five years with the Giants and was part of the World Series winning teams in 2012 and 2014. During his time in San Francisco, the 33-year-old hit .259/.338/.360 with 78 doubles, 24 triples and 157 RBI in 649 games.

The D'backs signed Blanco to a minor league deal in January.

Giants spring training Day 43: A big game for veteran trying to lock up OF job

Giants spring training Day 43: A big game for veteran trying to lock up OF job

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For the first time, Gorkys Hernandez did not go back to Venezuela in the offseason to play winter ball. He's hoping that leads to another first. 

Hernandez has never made an opening day roster, but after breaking into the Giants’ outfield rotation last season, he entered the winter in a decent shot. To bolster his case, Hernandez stayed in Scottsdale over the offseason to work out at the minor league facility. The added strength didn’t lead to any notable results over the first month of games, but Hernandez broke through Monday with three doubles in the final home game of the spring.

“Sometimes (slumps) happen and sometimes you’re late (on pitches) and you don’t feel comfortable at the plate, but now I feel different. I feel better,” Hernandez said. “I’m recognizing pitches and trying to keep it simple and not do too much.”

The coaching staff has asked several players to head down to the minor league facility late in the spring and get additional at-bats, and Hernandez took Bruce Bochy up on the offer. He twice played in minor league games, and on Sunday he rotated into different games so he could get six at-bats. Hernandez said that helped him find his timing. 

“Without question, it helped his timing,” Bochy said. “He was off. He was getting out front, his timing was off. I think the at-bats he got paid off.”

The three-double day was perfectly timed. Hernandez entered with a .159 average and Justin Ruggiano, the other option as a backup center fielder, had started to put together better at-bats. Monday’s game was a reminder in more ways than one. Hernandez showed off the type of speed the Giants won’t have on the bench if Kelby Tomlinson is optioned, and he played all three outfield positions, switching from left to right to center. 

The role in play is one Gregor Blanco had for five seasons. The Giants would like Hernandez to be their defensive whiz at every outfield spot, and they’re light on true center fielders. If the Giants put Hernandez on the roster this week as expected, he’ll be ready to try and be the new Blanco. 

“If they give me that role, I’ll try to do the same thing,” he said. “Or better.”

THE ACE: Madison Bumgarner is going to Madison Bumgarner. He threw seven sharp innings Monday, lowering his spring ERA to 2.52. In 25 innings, he has allowed just 17 hits and struck out 23. Bochy appreciated Bumgarner’s intensity Monday against a Reds team that was filled with minor leaguers. 

“That’s what makes him so good,” Bochy said. “He takes every outing seriously. His preparation doesn’t waver.”

Bumgarner even added a single, and he liked that it came on a breaking ball. He’s worked on getting better at hitting those pitches, which he’s seeing more and more. 

“I feel I’m as ready as I can be to start the season,” Bumgarner said. 

His next pitch will be thrown Sunday at Chase Field. 

GAME RECAP: The Giants blasted poor Reds starter Cody Reed, hanging 10 runs on his line in 3 2/3 innings. Denard Span had two hits and Aaron Hill had three, driving in three runs. Bochy went with an interesting lineup, leading off with Span, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. He said he likes Crawford in that five-spot. He also plans to hit the pitcher eighth on occasion.

TRAINER’S ROOM: Joe Panik was drilled by a fastball in the lower back and he came out of the game as a precaution. Panik has a nasty welt, so he’s in for a night of ice, but there are no concerns. 

QUOTABLE: Posey turned 30 today. As he walked out to stretch, Bumgarner was asked if he was giving Posey a hard time. “No, he’s been 30 for the last seven years,” Bumgarner said.