Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 5, Cubs 2


Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 5, Cubs 2


CHICAGO What a lift the Giants could get from this guy down the stretch.

Xavier Nady? Well, sure. But Tim Lincecum, too.

Nadys first at-bat in a Giants uniform was one to remember a three-run double that gave the Giants a lead they would not relinquish in a 5-2 victory at Wrigley Field Saturday afternoon.

Lincecum has been so leaky so often this season, but he only paid for one mistake and otherwise looked refreshed and invigorated in cooler conditions while holding the Cubs to four hits in 6 13 innings.

The Giants improved to 4-1 with one game to go on their road trip to Houston and Chicago. Theyre grateful for that, and for the remnants of Hurricane Isaac for not disrupting play. The last thing they wanted was a doubleheader on Sunday, especially with more rain in the forecast plus a day game looming at AT&T Park on Monday, too.

Starting pitching report
Despite some early wobbles, including a two-seamer that David DeJesus crushed into the right field bleachers for a two-run homer in the third inning, Lincecum delivered one of his better starts of the season.

Lincecum (8-14) wasnt struggling to invent ways to retire hitters. He had many more weapons at his disposal as he threw several changeups and curveballs to escape big spots.

He threw a curveball that froze Alfonso Soriano to strand Anthony Rizzo at third base in the third inning. In fact, Rizzos double was the last hit that Lincecum allowed.

Lincecum held the Cubs to four hits, he walked three and struck out seven in 6 13 innings. He didnt have seven strikeouts in any of his five starts in August.

Bullpen report
Lincecum departed after a one-out walk to Wellington Castillo in the seventh, and the bullpen made sure to save his ERA. Jose Mijares and Guillermo Mota each recorded a called strikeout to end the inning.

Javier Lopez made it 22 consecutive scoreless outings by getting a double-play grounder to end the eighth before Sergio Romo took the mound for the ninth.

At the plate
The Giants four-run first inning started innocently enough with Pablo Sandovals two-out single. Buster Posey added another and Hunter Pence walked to load the bases for Hector Sanchez, who let a 2-2 pitch graze his jersey to drive in a run.

Then Nady, wearing No. 68, made an impact in his first at-bat in a Giants uniform.

Both Pence and Sanchez saw eight pitches, and Nady was paying attention. He laced a 1-0 sinker down the third base line and into the left field corner, clearing the bases to give the Giants a 4-0 lead.

It was the first time a Giants left fielder had a three-RBI game since Melky Cabrera on Aug. 12. Cabrera was suspended three days later for testing positive for testosterone.

The Giants added a run in the second inning after Angel Pagan tripled his 10th of the season, getting him within two of matching the San Francisco-era franchise record held by Willie Mays and Steve Finley. Marco Scutaros sacrifice fly brought him home.

In field
DeJesus was a two-way threat. In addition to his home run, he made a remarkable backhanded catch while sliding on the dirt near the right field foul line on Posey in the fifth inning. Replays showed the ball wouldve landed fair for what wouldve been Poseys sixth hit in his first six at-bats of the series.

The Giants received more subtle defensive contributions. Shortstop Brandon Crawford somehow was able to hang onto a throw as DeJesus immediately slid into his glove on a stolen-base attempt in the fifth. And Angel Pagan slid to a knee while making a running grab on Luis Valbuena in the sixth.

Hunter Pence made a sliding catch on a pop-up to shallow right field in the ninth inning.

Gregor Blanco replaced Nady in left field in the sixth inning. Prior to that, Nady did just fine while cutting off one ball in the gap to prevent a double.

It was kegs and eggs at Wrigley Field with the 12:05 p.m. CDT start. The Cubs announced 32,477 paid.

Up next
The Giant complete their three-game series at Wrigley Field on Sunday. Matt Cain (13-5, 2.82) opposes left-hander Travis Wood (4-11, 4.71).

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


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. 

Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers


Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — When the Giants gathered for spring training in February, team officials thought they had put together a rotation with four 200-inning arms. The starters didn’t come close to hitting that lofty goal, but one Giant got to the 200-inning mark Friday night. 

Jeff Samardzija hit 200 innings in the third inning Friday night at Dodger Stadium, reaching the standard for the fifth consecutive season. Samardzija also became the first Giant this year to reach 200 strikeouts when he struck out Curtis Granderson to open the second inning. The right-hander will be the only member of the rotation to reach either milestone, with Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto limited by injuries and Matt Moore having a down year. 

“These guys like Jeff that are able to handle that workload that he does and log 200 innings and have durability, that’s invaluable,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You look at what it does for the ‘pen but also the quality of innings he gives you. His record should be different with how he has thrown the ball — he can’t control that. But the workload itself is important.”

Samardzija became the first Giants right-hander to strike out 200 in a season since Tim Lincecum (220) in 2011. Samardzija joined Carlos Martinez as the only National League pitchers who have thrown 200 innings this year, and Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Robbie Ray, Martinez and Zack Greinke in the league’s 200-strikeout club.