Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 8, Dodgers 0

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 8, Dodgers 0

BOX SCORE
SAN FRANCISCO The Los Angeles Dodgers have been the pace car in the NL West all season.The Giants sideswiped them off the road Monday night.They battered the Dodgers in a spark shower of hits in the first two innings and Barry Zito did what he usually does when given a double-Chinet helping of run support. He held down the opposition for seven shutout innings and the Giants delivered a crowd-pleasing, 8-0 victory over their archrivals Monday night.Giants manager Bruce Bochy made one statement prior to the game, when he decided not to push Buster Posey and instead gave his cleanup-hitting catcher a day off. It was just a game in June, Bochy said, even though the Dodgers have led the NL West all season.RELATED: Bochy explains Posey's absence vs. Dodgers
The Giants made their own statement while getting within two games of L.A. the closest theyve been to first place in the NL West since April 7, when they were 0-2. Pablo Sandoval made a huge impact with a 3-for-3, three-RBI performance that included two doubles and a sacrifice fly.The sellout crowd proved a point: Even when its painfully obvious, its still fun to chant Beat LA.Starting pitching reportA familiar groan went through the ballpark when Zito walked leadoff hitter Dee Gordon in the first inning, and why not? Zito was coming off three consecutive losses and had his hat handed to him each time.But Zito (6-5) got Elian Herrera to ground into a double play, and once the Giants flooded him with run support, the left-hander got into a groove while throwing quality strikes.Zito didnt walk a batter after the second inning. In one of his best starts of the year, he held the Dodgers to three hits in seven shutout innings and walked off the mound to a standing ovation.It was the third time this season that Zito went at least seven innings without allowing a run. He also improved to 117-7 in his career when receiving at least four runs of support (32-3 as a Giant).And for good measure, Zito also drew a walk and scored a run for the first time since 2010. Hes scored seven runs over his 13-year major league career.Bullpen reportGeorge Kontos and Shane Loux each spun a scoreless inning to record the Giants seventh shutout victory of the season and their first since Matt Cains perfect game June 13.At the plateThe Giants battered young Nate Eovaldi for eight runs on 10 hits in five innings, and after a time, you began to wonder if Dodgers manager Don Mattingly forgot to pack any relievers on this road trip.The Giants four-run first inning included some good karma. After Ryan Theriot and Melky Cabrera singled, Angel Pagan hit a grounder that doinked off the first base bag and caromed into right field for an RBI double.Sandoval followed by roping a double down the right field line that scored a pair. Sandoval later doubled off the bricks as part of a three-hit, three-RBI night his first game with multiple extra-base hits since May 1, when he broke the hamate bone in his left hand.Sandoval also contributed a sacrifice fly as the Giants took a 7-0 lead in a three-run second inning. Zitos leadoff walk began that rally.In fieldZito got 11 outs in the air, and not all of them were routine. Pagan and Cabrera ran everything down with aplomb. Sandoval contributed a nice play at third base, too.There was a scary moment in the ninth when Sanchez took a foul ball to the side of the helmet that appeared to send small pieces of it flying. But he was checked by trainers and stayed in the game.Andre Ethier had his own close call in the sixth inning when he was struck on the shoulder by a Zito curveball. Ethier appeared to glare at the mound before taking his base; he was taken out as part of a double-switch in the sixth inning.AttendanceThe Giants announced 42,164 paid. And zero beach balls. What are the odds?Up nextThe Giants and Dodgers tangle for the second game in their three-game series Tuesday night. Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (6-3, 2.41) will try to outpitch left-hander Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 2.73) for the second time this season. Back on May 8 at Dodger Stadium, Vogelsong made Brett Pills two-run home run off Kershaw stand up in a 2-1 victory.

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

BELT RIVER FIELDS, Ariz. — Earlier this spring, Brandon Belt moved his schedule around so he could get additional at-bats. That led to some random trips across the desert, but there was never any doubt Belt would be in Friday’s road lineup.

Belt demolishes the ball at Salt River Fields, spring home of the Rockies and Diamondbacks. After coming out of Friday’s win, he shook his head in mock disgust when talking about the day’s stats.

“One for four, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” Belt said. “That’s terrible.”

That one happened to be a homer, a three-run shot off Jon Gray, the likely opening day starter for the Rockies. Belt thought he crushed the ball but it ended up pretty high, so it simply dropped onto the berm in right. 

“It squeaked out,” Belt said. “Good mojo, I guess.”

The mojo kept his remarkable run going at Salt River. His updated career stats here: 22 for 35, with eight homers, four doubles, one triple and 18 RBI. Belt said he’s not quite sure why he turns into the flames emoji every time he steps onto this field. 

“I don’t know what it is, but I like hitting here,” he said. “Maybe it’s the batter’s eye?”

Salt River has a dark green batter’s eye with no distractions on either side, and the Giants certainly saw the ball well Friday. They had seven straight hits in the third before Gray was pulled with a sore foot. Belt hit second, and manager Bruce Bochy said that wasn’t simply because Joe Panik had the day off. Bochy will look at several different lineup permutations over the next week, and a Span/Belt/Pence/Posey/Crawford one-through-five is one option. 

“I like (that spot) a lot,” Belt said. “I feel good getting started and knowing I’ll get to bat in the first inning. It’s a good spot. I don’t think my approach changes that much: Get a pitch to hit and try to hit it hard.”

GAME RECAP: Jeff Samardzija was sharp in four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three. He threw about 45 pitches on the field and then went down to the bullpen for 45 more. Samardzija certainly benefited from having Buster Posey back in the lineup. He said Posey noticed during warmups that Samardzija’s delivery was a little flat and his arm was dragging too low. 

“That doesn’t happen often,” Samardzija said of having a guy like Posey back there. “You have a lot of catchers who are afraid to say something.”

The rest of this one was a laugher until the ninth, when the Rockies rallied and brought the winning run to the plate. It hasn’t been a great spring for the bullpen.

STOCK WATCH: Chris Marrero hit a deep homer, his seventh of the spring. He also made a nice pick at first, where he looks much more comfortable. At this point, it appears it’s either Marrero or Kelby Tomlinson for that final bench spot.

TRAINER’S ROOM: The news on Will Smith was as expected. He will have Tommy John surgery next week. 

There is good news for Trevor Brown: The catcher, who has a sore ankle, took some swings and he’s feeling much better. Brown did not, as first reported, get hurt hiking on an off day. It happened during a game. Brown won’t be ready in time to return to Cactus League action, so he’ll likely stay here during the Bay Bridge Series and then travel home with Triple-A Sacramento. 

ICYMI: Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Mark Melancon are back in camp. Here’s a story on Posey’s WBC experience, with the catcher saying he’d like to play again in four years. Here’s Crawford on his month, which ended with him giving an NL West rival a slump-busting bat. 

ROSTER UPDATE: The Giants released David Hernandez, at his request. They have started to tell others that they’re not making the opening day roster, so there should be a series of minor transactions this weekend. (You know where to go.)

QUOTABLE: "I swung at a heater and a slider went right into my bat. I was happy to be able to track (pitches), and happy that the next time the bunt didn't go off my beautiful face." -- Samardzija, when asked about his double off the wall. 

Plenty of high-profile MLB players wearing new uniforms in 2017

Plenty of high-profile MLB players wearing new uniforms in 2017

Chris Sale traded socks (AP) -- or Sox - from white to red. Edwin Encarnacion took his big bat to Cleveland. Aroldis Chapman returned to the Bronx.

Plenty of All-Stars, Cy Young winners and MVPs are wearing new uniforms this season.

The biggest move occurred when the Boston Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox. The five-time All-Star left-hander left a team that hasn't reached the playoffs since 2008 for one that's won three World Series titles since 2004.

Encarnacion left Toronto for the team that beat the Blue Jays in last year's ALCS. He averaged 39 homers and 110 RBIs over the past five seasons in Toronto and gives the Indians a major boost.

Chapman is back in New York after spending the first half of last season with the Yankees before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs and helped them win the World Series.

Here's a 25-man roster of familiar faces in different places this season:

STARTING LINEUP

1. CF: Dexter Fowler. Jumped from World Series champion Cubs to rival St. Louis. Gives the Cardinals stability atop the batting order.

2. RF: Adam Eaton. Traded from White Sox to defending NL East champion Nationals. He'll play center field in Washington between Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper.

3. DH: Kendrys Morales. Joined Blue Jays to help fill Encarnacion's void after spending past two seasons with the Royals.

4. 1B: Encarnacion.

5. C: Brian McCann. Traded from Yankees to Astros, giving Houston's stacked lineup another slugger.

6. SS: Ian Desmond. Returns to NL to join Rockies after one season playing outfield in Texas. He'll play first base for Colorado, but he's back at shortstop on this squad.

7. LF: Matt Holliday. Signed with Yankees following 7 1/2 seasons in St. Louis. The seven-time All-Star will likely DH in New York though he'll see some action in left field.

8. 2B: Brandon Phillips. Waived no-trade clause to go to rebuilding Braves after 11 seasons with Reds.

9. 3B: Howie Kendrick. Comes east after spending his entire career in Los Angeles - nine seasons with Angels and last two with Dodgers. Kendrick is playing left field for Philadelphia but he starts at third to fill this lineup.

BENCH

1B: Chris Carter. Landed with Yankees after swatting 41 homers for Milwaukee last season to tie for NL lead.

INF: Jimmy Rollins. Former NL MVP is trying to land a roster spot with San Francisco as a utility man after playing all but one-third inning of his 17-year career at shortstop. Has bounced from Dodgers to White Sox to Giants after 15 seasons in Philadelphia.

OF: Michael Saunders. All-Star for Blue Jays last season and will start in right field for Phillies.

OF: Carlos Beltran. Returns to Houston after spending half the 2004 season with the Astros and hitting eight postseason homers for them.

C: Matt Wieters. Left Baltimore for Washington to replace All-Star Wilson Ramos, who joined Tampa Bay and is still recovering from knee surgery.

STARTING ROTATION

Sale.

Edinson Volquez. Goes from Royals to Marlins.

Jaime Garcia. Lefty joins Braves after eight seasons in St. Louis.

Jered Weaver. Stays in California, switching to Padres after 11 seasons with Angels.

R.A. Dickey. Knuckleballer returns to NL East after four seasons in Toronto. One of two 40-plus former Cy Young award winners signed by Braves.

LONG RELIEVER

Bartolo Colon. Other veteran Braves signed to bolster rotation. He'll be long man on this staff.

BULLPEN

Chapman.

Mark Melancon. Signed with Giants after finishing last season in Washington.

Sergio Romo. Went from San Francisco to rival Dodgers.

Wade Davis. Traded from Royals to Cubs to replace Chapman.

Santiago Casilla. Stays in Bay Area, going from Giants to A's.