Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 5, Rangers 2


Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 5, Rangers 2


SAN FRANCISCO The Giants have Pablo Sandoval back in the fold. Now theyre missing Melky Cabrera, who has a tender hamstring.

Once again, theyre finding a way to pick up the slack.

Sandoval showed some spirit in his first game off the disabled list Saturday, coming back from nearly getting hit on the hand to line an RBI single in the seventh inning. And Nate Schierholtz, who replaced Cabrera in the lineup for the second consecutive day, rediscovered his extra-base swing.

Ryan Vogelsong showed the most fight of anyone, holding baseballs most potent lineup to three hits while taking a shutout into the eighth inning as the Giants beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 at AT&T Park.

Schierholtz hit a 400-foot triple and a ground-rule double to help pad a lead that the Giants created with small ball and smarts.

The Giants must play the small game effectively at AT&T Park, since the home runs still arent coming.

They played their 15th consecutive home game without a home run, matching the longest streak in franchise history (Sept. 4 to Oct. 3, 1980). They have gone 477 at-bats and 127 innings at home without going deep.

They have just one home run in their last 20 home games, too.

Starting pitching report
Only Vogelsong could hold baseballs best offensive team to one run on three hits in 7 23 innings and still look absolutely ticked to exit the game with a four-run lead.

Vogelsong (5-2) scowled as he walked off the mound to a thunderous ovation after another of his typically brilliant starts. He completed seven innings for the seventh time in his last outings; he still hasnt pitched fewer than six innings in a start this season.

Vogelsong needed to pitch out of two early jams. He got grounders to third base from Michael Young in the first inning and Ian Kinsler in the second to strand two runners each time.

Then he settled into a groove and the Giants defense kept making plays behind him. Vogelsong didnt allow another runner into scoring position until Mitch Moreland hit a booming, pinch-hit homer into McCovey Cove leading off the eighth inning.

He retired the next two hitters before reluctantly handing over the baseball. Vogelsong lowered his ERA to 2.26 fourth best among all major league starters.

Vogelsong has won five consecutive decisions; he hasnt lost since May 4.

Bullpen report
Javier Lopez surrendered a double to Josh Hamilton in the eighth, but Sergio Romo got Adrian Beltre to ground out to end the inning.

Clay Hensley served up a solo homer in the ninth to Mike Napoli in the ninth, setting up a save situation for Santiago Casilla. He converted it for his 16th in 17 opportunities.

At the plate
The top of the lineup keeps creating opportunities, but it was Vogelsongs first hit of the season that started a scoring rally in the third inning.

Vogelsong was 0 for 20 with 18 strikeouts and had taken plenty of ribbing for it before he lined a single up the middle with one out. (Vogelsongs early-season back issues probably had something to do with his swing. Hes a former college shortstop whos proud of his hitting.)

Vogelsong advanced on a balk and the Giants had runners at the corners after Gregor Blanco singled. When Theriot hit a potential double-play grounder to second baseman Ian Kinsler, Blanco noted that shortstop Elvis Andrus wasnt rushing to cover the bag and so he stopped dead in his tracks rather than run into a tag. Kinsler, clearly flummoxed, overthrew first base. Vogelsong scored and the Rangers didnt record an out.

The Giants scored another run in the fifth after left fielder Hamilton let Brandon Crawfords pop fly tick off his glove for a two-base error. Right-hander Scott Feldman struck out the next two hitters, but Theriot remained reliable with two outs. He rifled a single to right field and Crawford scored without a play to make it 2-0.

Schierholtz tripled home Angel Pagan in the sixth inning his first extra-base hit since April 23 at New York. It was a 400-foot shot off the bricks and it came off tough left-hander Robbie Ross, who had allowed just one other extra-base hit in 44 at-bats to left-handed hitters this season.

Sandoval, one pitch after he was nearly hit on the hand by an inside offering from Koji Uehara, lined an RBI single and Pagan hit an RBI double as the Giants padded their lead in the seventh.

In field
Blanco didnt only show his smarts on the basepaths. He nearly created an out in the second inning when he sprinted from left field to sneak behind Napoli and cover third base on a sacrifice bunt. Theriot threw across the diamond and the Giants nearly caught Napoli napping.

There were plenty of other defensive gems. Pagan is getting as comfortable with center field at AT&T Park as he is at the plate here. He made a sprinting, tumbling, dust-cloud forming catch on Beltre in the third inning.

Brandon Belt speared a line drive at first base in the fourth and Schierholtz, despite plenty of time in the bench in recent weeks, showed no lack of familiarity with right field while making two running catches in the fifth.

Crawford had a quietly solid game at shortstop, charging one tough grounder and making a deft stop on Beltres one-hop smash to end the eighth.

Sandoval looked perfectly adequate at third base as well, even turning the pivot well on a forceout at second base in the first inning when the infielders were shifted against Hamilton.

The Giants announced 41,704 paid, including a smattering of Texas Rangers fans.

Up next
The Giants and Rangers finish their three-game series with a Sunday afternoon game at AT&T Park. Tim Lincecum (2-6, 5.83) will try to pitch the Giants to a victory for the first time since April 28. Hell face right-hander Alexi Ogando (1-0, 2.27), who replaces lefty Derek Holland in the Texas rotation. Lincecum has never faced the Rangers in the regular season; he was 2-0 against them in the 2010 World Series.

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — In a quiet moment in the dugout Friday, manager Bruce Bochy tried to figure out a nickname for his new budding star. During a week where Christian Arroyo has made the game look so easy, this has turned out to be the most difficult part. 

Bochy briefly settled on “Yo” before that was scuttled because the team’s video coordinator is Yo Miyamoto. Joe Panik said some players have tried C.A. or YoYo, but admitted that neither is all that good. The team’s Twitter account spent a few days trying to make Boss Baby a thing, but Arroyo wasn’t thrilled with that one and the experiment appears to be over. In a back room of the clubhouse, there’s a printout showing Arroyo and Buzz from “Home Alone,” but that comparison is much better made with Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman. 

Perhaps the answer is as simple as the path Arroyo’s bat takes to a fastball. As he watched Arroyo field grounders during batting practice, Dick Tidrow was asked about the 21-year-old. Tidrow, the team’s senior VP of player personnel, has seen and worked with Arroyo since he was drafted. 

“We always just called him The Kid,” Tidrow said. “He would turn around when I called him Kid.”

The Kid is growing up quickly. Arroyo’s second homer of the week was the game-winner Friday, an eighth-inning blast that put a lead in Mark Melancon’s hands. The new closer made sure the new third baseman’s homer didn’t go to waste, clinching a 4-3 win that got the Giants out of the National League West’s cellar. 

The homer might have surprised Arroyo as much as anyone. He came here with a reputation as a mature and talented hitter, but power is not his calling card. 

“I’m not trying to hit a homer there,” he said. “Get the head out, see a pitch over the plate, barrel something, just keep the line moving. I got a good pitch, elevated it, and fortunately it went out.”

Arroyo already speaks like a hitting coach, but he is not afraid to admit that there are things he doesn’t know. It’s easy to get film on opposing starters, but there’s little a rookie can do to prepare for late-inning pitching changes. Arroyo consulted Buster Posey and Conor Gillaspie before facing Ryan Buchter, who has been in the division for two years. Gillaspie told him Buchter’s fastball has some late life and gets on a hitter. 

“I wanted to see it and the first pitch was a little low so I got a good read on them,” Arroyo said. 

The second one was right at the belt and Arroyo pulled it down the line for his second big league homer. He had just three last year in Double-A, but the Giants felt the 36 doubles showed that power was on the way. 

“He’s got pop,” Bochy said. “He’s not a guy trying to hit homers. He tries to put a good swing on it. But he drives balls and you saw it tonight. We see him more as a gap guy, but he’ll get more power as he gets older. We’re not asking him to hit homers, trust me, but it’s good to see him letting it go.”

The homer secured a win on a night when a lot went right. Jeff Samardzija was sharp, paying for one pitch to Ryan Schimpf that left the park but otherwise pitching seven strong. Panik and Brandon Belt ignited the offense early and Michael Morse came through with a game-tying sacrifice fly in the fifth. Derek Law and Mark Melancon closed it out, with Melancon getting help from Panik, who made a spectacular tumbling catch on a flare to shallow right-center. It was a big first out given that Melancon was pitching for the third straight day. 

“It was going to be in no man’s land,” Panik said. “You give it everything you’ve got. Fortunately the ball stayed in the glove.”

When it was over, the youngest Giant was in for another round of interviews to cap a hectic week. On Monday he made his debut and on Tuesday he picked up his first hit. Wednesday brought the first homer and Thursday was the first multi-hit game. What will the weekend include? Maybe a real nickname? 

For now, the Giants are fine with leaning on The Kid, because many of them didn’t even know how young the star of the week was until he was a couple of days into his big league career.

“I was thinking he was 23 or 24,” Samardzija said. “This has been really impressive.”

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres


SAN FRANCISCO — On Monday, Christian Arroyo made his MLB debut. Tuesday brought his first hit and on Wednesday it was the first homer. Thursday’s game was his first multi-hit game as a big leaguer. What was in store Friday? The best swing yet.

Arroyo hit a go-ahead shot to left while leading off the eighth, giving the Giants a 4-3 win in their series opener with the Padres. The player coaches simply call “The Kid” has two homers in his first five games, and both have come in huge spots. Friday’s sent another jolt through AT&T Park and got a lead to Mark Melancon, who closed out the Padres. 

For four innings, a long-haired right-hander was no-hitting the Padres. Jeff Samardzija was sharp early and he got a nice cushion in the first. Joe Panik and Brandon Belt led off with singles and Panik scored on Erick Aybar’s two-out error. A Conor Gillaspie knock made it 2-0. 

The first hit allowed by Samardzija was a painful one. He plunked Yangervis Solarte to open the fifth and Ryan Schimpf hit a long dinger to dead center to tie the game. Cory Spangenberg followed with a single to left that skipped under Belt’s glove. Spangenberg went to third on the play and scored on a bloop. 

Belt made up for the play in the bottom of the inning, beating the outfield shift with a double and scoring on Mike Morse’s sacrifice fly to right two batters later. Samardzija ran into trouble in the seventh, but with two in scoring position and one out, he got a strikeout and a grounder to third. The Giants put the go-ahead run on second in their half, but Hunter Pence and Morse struck out. 

Starting pitching report: Samardzija has allowed six homers. He’s tied for fourth in the NL with a handful of players, including Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore. 

Bullpen report: Melancon has five straight saves since blowing his first opportunity as a Giant. 

At the plate: Belt reached base four times. His on-base percentage is sitting at a cool .390. 

In the field: Panik made a brilliant diving catch in center for the first out of the ninth. 

Attendance: The Giants announced a sellout crowd. One of the fans looked just like Samardzija, possibly on purpose. 

Up next: Matt Cain has a 2.42 ERA but he left his last start with a tight hamstring. He’ll face Jhoulys Chacin (2-3, 5.90).