Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 7. Phillies 2

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 7. Phillies 2

BOX SCORE

PHILADELPHIA At one point, Tim Lincecum absent-mindedly walked back to the dugout with two outs. A bit later, he balked in a run when he fell down in mid-delivery.

And yes, these might have been scenes from his best start of the season while pitching the Giants to a 7-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on a surprisingly misty Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Lincecum pitched feisty but carefully while avoiding the big inning something he hadnt been able to do throughout this disappointing season of his. But after Brandon Crawford hit another bonanza, a grand slam in the sixth inning, Lincecum went into pound-the-strike-zone mode.

Hes had better linescores than the seven-inning, five-hit, two-run, six-strikeout effort that will show up in the box score. But he might have done his best job mixing stuff, smarts and mound poise while winning for just the second time since April 28.

Wouldnt you know it? After losing nine consecutive Lincecum starts, the Giants have now taken four of their last six Happy Timmy Days. Perhaps its no coincidence theyre 6-1 since the All-Star break and gaining a foothold in the NL West.

Starting pitching report
Lincecum (4-10) didnt have to worry about heat exhaustion. The cold and misty weather suited him well and he showed it by allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings.

Even he was unaccustomed to getting so many quick outs early in the game. The sellout crowd whooped it up when he began walking to the dugout after fielding pitcher Vance Worleys comebacker for the second out in the third inning.

The Phillies made some good adjustments the second time through the order, when Shane Victorino and Chase Utley began the fourth inning with singles to put runners at the corners.

Thats when Lincecum slipped while trying to make a pitch to Ryan Howard, falling down midway through his delivery for a balk that scored a run.

But Lincecum did not lose his composure. He retired Howard and Carlos Ruiz on contact outs, then showed a bit of Vogelsong while refusing to give in against Hunter Pence and Juan Pierre. He missed on close pitches while issuing walks to load the bases.

This was the Moment of Truth, and unlike so many times earlier this season, Lincecum met it. He got ahead with two nasty, called breaking pitches to Placido Polanco and then got him to roll over an inside fastball to third baseman Pablo Sandoval for the easy forceout. (Though the pitch might not have been as far in as Lincecum wanted it. So maybe Timmys luck changed a bit, too.)

After Crawford put the Giants ahead, Lincecum did exactly what a good pitcher should do: He switched to strike-pumping mode, and wasnt fazed after Howard took him deep to center field for a solo shot in the sixth.

Lincecum retired the next six hitters to end his night.

The turning point was that jam he escaped in the fourth, though. Lincecum entered having allowed a .313 average with runners in scoring position; it was just .200 last year.

Bullpen report
Jeremy Affeldt tossed the eighth inning and hasnt allowed a run while looking crisp in four outings since the All-Star break. George Kontos handled the duties in the ninth.

At the plate
If Crawford were a holdem player, hed only take kill pots. Of his six career home runs, two are grand slams and two are three-run blasts. Hes got one of each on this road trip, and as a result, the Giants already are assured no worse of a split in this six-game jaunt to Atlanta and Philadelphia.

It didnt start out so chip-happy for the Giants against Worley (5-6), who struck out the last five batters in the order the first time through the lineup. The Giants definitely were playing with a light deck with Eli Whiteside in the lineup.

The Phillies certainly didnt show Whiteside much respect in the fifth when they pitched to the No.8 hitter with first base open and two outs. Whiteside made them pay with a short-stroked double over right fielder Hunter Pences head that tied the game.

Ryan Theriot and Melky Cabrera set up the big, five-run sixth inning with a pair of singles, and Buster Posey walked to load em up. Pablo Sandoval hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly, and after Nate Schierholtz walked, Crawford hammered an 0-1 fastball into the right field seats.

Crawford later added a run-scoring single to give him a career-high five RBIs.

In field
Crawford continued to dazzle on defense. He made a full-extension dive and throw to retire Polanco in the seventh inning, although replays appeared to show the umpire blew the call.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel looked to be telling fishing stories more than arguing, judging by the bemused expression on umpire Mike Everitts face.

Attendance
The Phillies announced 44,205 paid on a rare, blustery night in late July. There were wolf whistles for Lincecum, but only a few.

Up next
Money cant buy love, but there will be stacks and stacks of it on the mound when Matt Cain (10-3, 2.56 ERA) opposes Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels (11-4, 3.07) on Saturday. Cains six-year, 127.5 million extension is being used as a baseline in current talks between the Phillies and Hamels, their former World Series MVP.

After another loss, Bochy challenges staff to 'tighten it up here'

After another loss, Bochy challenges staff to 'tighten it up here'

DENVER — For the second straight start, Matt Moore watched an outfielder chase down a rocket, slam into the wall, and immediately leave the game with a hurt shoulder. 

“You’ve got to feel a little responsible,” he said Saturday night, shaking his head. 

That’s not entirely fair. The Jarrett Parker and Denard Span injuries have been flukes, but there is a different kind of responsibility for the starting staff. Bobby Evans built this team on the starting five, and through three weeks, the group has been a letdown. 

Madison Bumgarner was hurt during an off-field incident. Johnny Cueto has an uncharacteristic 5.25 ERA and 1.38 WHIP through four starts. Moore gave up six runs in four innings Saturday, raising his own ERA to 5.87. On the other side, a rookie — Antonio Senzatela — held the Giants to four hits, leading the Rockies to a 12-3 win.

“He just made mistakes. You saw them,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Moore. “They caught too much of the plate and they were up and they took advantage of them. This can be a tough park but they pitched well tonight with a young kid. You’ve got to make your pitches. Keep concentrating and don’t give in. That’s the way it works and we’re not doing a very good job of that.

“Obviously our staff, we’re a much better staff than what’s happened. We’ve got to tighten it up here and wake up. We’re not a team that goes out and pounds it with you. We’ve got to pitch.”

The starting staff, even without Bumgarner, is more important than it first seemed. That's because the rest of the Giants are dropping, too. Span went out in the third when he slammed into the wall while making a catch, and while the initial read is positive, he was going for X-rays Saturday night. At the very least, a right shoulder sprain will keep him out a couple of days. 

That means Bochy, 18 games in, is dealing with one of his Bomb Squad situations. Buster Posey will play first on Sunday after a couple of long days in the squat, and it’s possible Brandon Belt will get a day in left. Gorkys Hernandez, hitting just .088, is the man in center while Span is out. Hunter Pence (knee bruise) is expected to return to right field Sunday, but the outfield is hanging by a string. The Giants have even talked about putting Eduardo Nuñez in left, and on Saturday he played several innings in right because of the Span injury. 

Bochy challenged his starters, but the regulars behind them will need to be better, too. The bats didn’t get going until the eighth inning at Coors Field, and even then, a rally was cut short and the Giants promptly gave up six more runs. Nuñez was late getting over on a pop-up that clanked off Joe Panik’s glove and extended the inning. 

“You’re going to deal with that,” Bochy said. “He’s going to feel discombobulated.”

Bochy had just one positive to point to, and he lit up when asked about Chris Stratton, who threw three hitless innings to keep the Giants within shouting distance. 

“Boy, that kid did a nice job," he said. 

Stratton isn’t far down the depth chart if there are further injuries in the rotation, and with a fastball that touched 95, he looked better than he has in years. The Giants hope they don’t need to test him. They’re banged-up, but at the moment, they still have four of their projected starting pitcher, along with Ty Blach. Without Bumgarner, the group will have to be better, and Bochy let them know it Saturday. 

Instant Replay: Rockies crush Moore, Giants lose Span in third straight loss

Instant Replay: Rockies crush Moore, Giants lose Span in third straight loss

BOX SCORE

DENVER — Near the end of last season’s collapse, the Giants spent a couple of days sitting eight games out of first place. Less than three weeks into this season, they’re already six out, and there are no signs that this is going to get better anytime soon.

The Giants managed just four hits against rookie Antonio Senzatela and went on to lose 12-3 at Coors Field. They also lost another starter to injury. 

A week to the day after Jarrett Parker broke his clavicle, Denard Span was removed after a similar collision with an outfield wall. Span has a mild right shoulder sprain and will go for X-rays. Throw in Hunter Pence’s left knee bruise and the Giants played most of this game without all three of their projected starting outfielders. 

To hang in a game like this one, the Giants needed a one-man show on the mound. Matt Moore wasn’t up to it. The lefty gave up six runs in four innings, including three homers. Mark Reynolds hit a deep blast in a three-run first and Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon went deep in a three-run fourth. 

The Giants threatened in the eighth, getting two runs back and sending the tying run to the plate. That rally seemed a lifetime away by the top of the ninth. The Rockies scored six runs off Neil Ramirez in their half of the eighth. 

Starting pitching report: No pitcher likes this place, but Moore has a real beef. In three career starts at Coors Field he has thrown just 11 2/3 innings and allowed 16 earned runs. 

Bullpen report: Chris Stratton, called up for the Madison Bumgarner roster spot, made his season debut in the fifth. He was outstanding. Stratton allowed just a walk in three innings and he topped out at 95 mph, a significant tick up from where he was last year. Stratton struck out three and broke Nolan Arenado’s bat on a grounder. 

At the plate: Joe Panik went deep in the sixth for his first homer of the year. 

In the field: Eduardo Nuñez made a great stop in the second and threw Stephen Cardullo out as he rolled over. An inning later, he was in right field. The Span injury forced Nuñez to right for just the seventh time in his career. He wasn't tested until the eighth, when he was late getting over to a deep pop-up that Panik dropped. 

Attendance: The Rockies announced a crowd of 39,239 human beings. They’re excited about this team, and for good reason. 

Up next: Save them, Jeff.