Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 8, Dodgers 4

Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 8, Dodgers 4
August 23, 2012, 5:19 am
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LOS ANGELES The Giants jetted away on their road trip to Petco Park and Dodger Stadium still in shock over the season-long suspension of Melky Cabrera. They responded by winning both series.But they had to muddle through Wednesday night without Buster Posey, too.No matter. The Giants finished a statement trip with the appropriate punctuation in their archrivals den, as Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and Joaquin Arias went from supplemental to starring roles in an 8-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.The Giants entered Chavez Ravine on Friday as a second-place club in the NL West. They departed in first place, with a 2 -game lead over their archrivals.BAGGS' INSTANT REPLAY: Game 1 Game 2
Matt Cain picked up the baton and fired seven strong innings to finish the Giants first three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium since April 24-26, 2007.How long ago was that? Well, Matt Morris, Noah Lowry and Kevin Correia were the winning pitchers in that series. Barry Bonds hit his 741st career home run to get within 14 of matching Hank Aarons all-time record. And heavens strike me if I lie, Armando Benitez saved all three games.Cain is the only current Giant who was on the roster for that sweep six years ago. Hes a keeper, all right.The Giants rotation flat-out dominated in this series while going 3-0 with an 0.95 ERA.With Posey scratched because of a tight right hamstring, Pagan and Scutaro combined to kickstart another productive first inning, and Arias did the rest. He hit a two-run home run, added a pair of doubles and set a career high with five RBIs.It was the third consecutive series between the clubs that ended in a sweep.Starting pitching reportThe Giants went 5-1 on their road trip and Cain set the tone last Friday when he fired eight shutout innings at San Diego.Cain (13-5) finished the trip the way he started it. He kept the ball off the barrel, executed pitches with runners on base and involved his defense to remain unbeaten in his last seven starts against the Dodgers.Cains best pitch in seven innings might have been the 2-2 piece of straight filth that he threw to Shane Victorino a slider at the ankles that the Flyin Hawaiian waved through to strand runners at second and third in the sixth.Cain held the Dodgers to seven hits and one run, which came in the sixth only because Hunter Pence failed to haul in a catchable ball in right field that was scored a double.Cain lowered his ERA to 2.83, tied with Madison Bumgarner for sixth in the NL (and barely ahead of Ryan Vogelsong, at 2.85). Cain threw 65 of 101 pitches for strikes, he struck out five and did not walk a batter.BAGGARLY: Bumgarner gives Giants a performance for the ages
In fact, Giants starters issued just one walk to the Dodgers in 22 innings over the series. Cain, Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum combined for 19 strikeouts and just two earned runs allowed.Bullpen reportClay Hensley and Jeremy Affeldt combined to retire just one of five batters, leading to a three-run eighth inning. Santiago Casilla didnt earn a save, but it felt like he deserved one after recording the final five outs to stave any memories of Wayne Franklin.At the plateThis series was won in the first inning. The Giants scored in the first inning of all three games, going 7 for 12 and scoring six runs. The Dodgers, meanwhile, were 0 for 9.It started yet again with Pagan and Scutaro, who went double-single to start the game against Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano. Pablo Sandoval hit a sacrifice fly to open the scoring and Arias hit his third career home run, two of which have come on this road trip.Pagan hit .481 (13 for 27) with eight runs scored over the six-game trip, ending it with a sharp lineout. He collected leadoff hits and scored in the first inning of all three games at Dodger Stadium.Scutaro had a hand in that. He hit .385 on the trip (10 for 26) and collected two hits on all three nights at Dodger Stadium as the Giants improved to 48-16 when they score the first run of a game.And Arias was a wrecking crew on the trip while making four starts against left-handed pitchers, going 9 for 16 overall in those games. Notably, both his doubles on Wednesday came off right-handed relievers.Capuano had allowed 19 earned runs all season at home before giving up six. Pagan, Scutaro and Sandoval went single-double-single to chase him in the sixth.In fieldIs it possible Arias has played a better major league game? In addition to his contributions at the plate, the shortstop ranged deep to his right to glove Victorinos grounder in the third, then heaved an off-balance throw that barely beat the speedy runner.The Dodgers would have had runners at the corners with two outs in the third. Instead, Cain and the Giants jogged to the dugout.Hunter Pence was the bizarro Arias. He looked totally out of sorts while striking out twice and popping up. And he got turned around in right field by Andre Ethiers catchable drive in the sixth, which was scored a ground-rule double.That mistake led to the only run against Cain. But the right-hander benefited from some spectacular outfield defense, too.Left fielder Justin Christian made one of the greatest catches by a Giant all season. He sprinted and laid out while making an improbable catch of Juan Riveras drive in the left field corner in the seventh. Christian rolled hard in the dirt and didnt stop until he crashed into the wall, but appeared OK after a few minutes to get his bearings.It was a huge contribution for Christian, who drew a bases-loaded walk but otherwise is hitless in his last 18 at-bats over 11 games.AttendanceThe Dodgers announced 40,173 paid As owner Lew Wolff among them.No, Lew. The As cant move here, either.Up nextThe Giants return to AT&T Park for a brief, four-game homestand against the Atlanta Braves in what will be Chipper Jones final regular-season series in San Francisco. Barry Zito (9-8, 4.42) will pitch Thursday nights opener against right-hander Tommy Hanson (12-5, 4.27). Ryan Vogelsong (10-7, 2.85) starts Friday against right-hander Ben Sheets (4-3. 3.07). Itll be Madison Bumgarner (14-7, 2.83) on Saturday against left-hander Mike Minor (6-10, 4.74). Then Tim Lincecum draws Sundays finale against right-hander Tim Hudson (12-4. 3.69).

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