Giants

Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 6, Rockies 3

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 6, Rockies 3

BOX SCORE
SAN FRANCISCO Another sellout crowd rejoiced as the Giants continued to shrink their magic number Tuesday night.But the real magic number was zero. Thats what Tim Lincecum allowed in 6 13 mostly efficient, highly effective innings. Thats the kind of magic that can coax the Giants through three rounds of postseason play.Lincecum piloted through his share of distractions, he walked off the mound to his loudest ovation of the season and Jeremy Affeldt induced a double-play grounder with the bases loaded as the Giants claimed a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park.It was Lincecums first home victory since July 31 against the Mets, snapping a streak of four winless starts at Third and King.Wilin Rosarios two-run homer aside, the Rockies were willing participants. The Giants are 12-4 against Colorado with two games remaining in the season series. They were 13-5 against the Rockies last year, too. As Mike Krukow would say: ownage.With the Dodgers rained out at Washington, the Giants reduced their magic number to seven to clinch the NL West.Starting pitching reportLincecum (10-14) provided a blueprint for the kind of game the Giants coaching staff hoped he could pitch this season. He didnt throw a fastball harder than 91 mph and mostly operated in the 89-90 range, but he established the inside edge to both left-handers and right-handers while getting ground balls with his tighter, late-breaking slider.Lincecum pitched around a hit and a walk in the second inning while beginning a streak in which he retired 11 consecutive batters seven on ground outs, three on strikeouts and just one out in the air.When he made a mistake, like a hanging changeup to Chris Nelson in the fourth inning, shortstop Brandon Crawford was there to spear the one-hop smash.Lincecum offered the seventh quality start in his last 10 outings matching the number he was able to provide in his first 21 starts before the All-Star break. He also became the first Giants pitcher since Jason Schmidt to record double-digit victories in five consecutive seasons.It was just the third time all season that Lincecum did not allow a run. He reduced his ERA to 4.91 the first time its been below 5.00 all season.Even more impressive, Lincecum was able to keep a level head through some odd happenings. After Dexter Fowler reached on a walk to start the sixth, Charlie Blackmon rolled a potential double-play grounder. But Crawfords sidearm throw hit a sliding Fowler on the helmet and bounced all the way behind home plate.Catcher Hector Sanchez threw out Blackmon trying to steal, with second baseman Marco Scutaro making a deft tag.Replays showed the Giants might have gotten a break on the call, though. Lincecum escaped the inning anyway.It got even odder in the seventh. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval made a diving stop and throw to take a base hit away from Tyler Colvin, but plate umpire Angel Hernandez ruled that Colvins bat made contact with Sanchez. The runner was awarded first base on catchers interference.Nelson followed with an infield single on a ball that appeared to cross on the foul side of the bag, and then pinch hitter Josh Rutledge reached on a two-out, broken-bat hit to load the bases with one out.Bochy went to his bullpen and Affeldt got the ground ball he wanted from pinch hitter Jason Giambi. It was hit in a problematic spot up the middle, but the ball appeared to take a hard bounce up where Scutaro could handle it easily and shovel to Crawford to start the double play.Bullpen reportSantiago Casilla allowed a two-run home run to Wilin Rosario, whose 25 homers (in just 344 at-bats) matched Todd Helton for the most by a rookie in Rockies history.The Rockies tacked on a run in the ninth, after Sergio Romo allowed Guillermo Motas runner to score. But a happy handshake line wasnt long in the making.At the plateThe Giants did not add to their major league low 22 home runs at home. And Buster Posey didnt get many chances to add to his MVP application, as Rockies manager Jim Tracy dusted off his Bonds-era four-finger salute and waggled them twice for the cleanup hitter.Yet the Giants found ways to scratch runs in five of their eight innings against left-hander Jeff Francis and the Rockies well worked bullpen.--Sanchez doubled and Xavier Nady hit an RBI single in the second inning.--Scutaros single, Pablo Sandovals double and Poseys intentional walk preceded Hunter Pences sacrifice fly in the third.--The lower half of the order contributed again in the sixth after Pence drew a leadoff walk. Sanchez singled and Nady dumped another RBI single into center to give the Giants a 3-0 lead.--Then Scutaro started another rally in the seventh when he singled, advanced on a wild pitch, advanced on a ground out and scored on yet another wild pitch.--Finally, Gregor Blanco came off the bench as a defensive replacement and almost seemed to slap a double out of the catchers glove in the eighth. Angel Pagan followed with a triple after his line drive escaped the dive of Blackmon in left field and rolled to the wall, then scored on Scutaros third hit of the game.It was Pagans 14th triple of the season, extending his own San Francisco-era franchise record and giving the crowd an opportunity to deliver the ovation he wouldve received if he hadnt passed Willie Mays on the last road trip.Scutaros popularity continues to burgeon, too. He now has 71 hits in just 49 games as a Giant and 173 on the season, third most in the NL and just one away from matching his career high.Scutaro needs to average 1.9 hits per game over the final 14 games to reach 200 a tall order, especially with the Giants positioned to clinch early and pace their starters down the stretch.In fieldSandoval played one of his best games at third base and the Giants played error-free ball aside from the catchers interference call, which is scored as an E2.Pagan probably donated some of his paycheck in this victory, though. He flipped his bat after a called strikeout to end the sixth, and plate umpire Angel Hernandez signaled with his arm three times perhaps the number of equipment violations he would cite in his postgame report to the league office.AttendanceThe Giants announced 41,718 paid. And Angel Hernandez will not receive any extra cards this Christmas.Up nextThe Giants continue their four-game series against the Rockies on Wednesday night. Matt Cain (14-5, 2.93) takes the mound against right-hander Tyler Chatwood (4-4, 5.65).

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami

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AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The flight from Miami to San Francisco is one of the longest in the league. It will not be a happy one.

The Giants fell behind early and never recovered, losing 8-1 in the series finale with the Marlins. The Giants had won six of nine entering the road trip. They dropped a series in Washington D.C. and then lost two of three to the Marlins. 

You are here already, so here are five things to know … 

—- Matt Cain deserved better in the first, and it was kind of a stunning error that cost him. With two outs, Brandon Crawford dropped a liner that was hit right at him. The next batter, Tomas Telis, hit a two-run double. 

—- Cain was charged with five runs in four innings, but only two of them were earned. He struck out seven and walked just one, showing a good curveball throughout. Several times, he dropped down for a new look. Like I said, he deserved a bit better than that final line. 

—- Pablo Sandoval’s walk in the eighth was his first since returning to the Giants. His numbers, by the way, are right in line with his Boston numbers. 

—- Albert Suarez has seen his stuff take a tick up during this stint with the Giants, but it’s not leading to results. After giving up a walk-off grand slam on Sunday, he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings in relief of Cain. Suarez currently has a 7.43 ERA. 

—- Giancarlo Stanton was 2 for 4 with two singles. His run of six games with a homer came to an end. I suppose that’s a small victory for the Giants?

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

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USATI

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

Because we are too cool to allow the games to sustain us and because we all think the purpose of sports is actually not to be the best player but the general manager, the new item on the baseball menu is not the pennant races but “Where should Giancarlo Stanton go?”

The usual suspects are listed – the Yankees, the Giants, the Chunichi Dragons, Real Madrid – and the $295 million still on his contract is not considered an impediment.

But the logic behind the Marlins keeping him is just as clear and more pressing. Namely, Bruce Sherman, the incoming owner, and Derek Jeter, the designated face, did not buy this team and promptly try to make themselves detested by the few people who still care about it.

So far, we know that the monstrous thing in center field (no, not Christian Yelich) is likely to be torn down, and that Stanton is don’t-go-to-the-bathroom-during-his-half-inning entertainment. Beyond that, we know only that the Marlins draw when they win a lot and barely at all the rest of the time. They are clearly a distant third in a four-team race with the Dolphins and Heat for people’s hearts, and now that hating Jeffrey Loria’s living guts are off the table for the fans, there really is no there, there.

So what’s the up-side of moving Stanton (and before we go any further, the Giants don’t have nearly enough assets to make that work, so calm the hell down) for the Marlins? Prospects, the dark hole that makes a three-year plan a six-year plan.

And the down-side? Sherman may as well move the team for the level of fun he’ll get from it, and the only reason to buy a team looking at a $60 million loss is for the fun. Besides, onlky a very few owners have ever made the full turn from villain to hero – the first impression almost always lasts forever.

So while Stanton may create immediate wallet relief for this aggressively average team (their current record of 57-61 is the 12th best in their 25-year history, and they’ve only had eight winning seasons ever), they also have nothing to sell the fans that they have to live with every day. And if they don’t have enough fans . . . well, I hear San Jose is always hot for a mediocre franchise that lurches between spending money and hoarding it.