Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants bounce back, even series


Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants bounce back, even series


SAN FRANCISCO There might not be anything in Hunter Pences Pentecostal, pregame sermon about revenge. But its right there in Leviticus, and lets use the King James translation to be spot-on:

Fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he has caused a disfigurement in a man, so shall it be done to him again.

The Giants were not sure whether Marco Scutaro suffered a fracture when Matt Holliday took out his legs at second base Monday night. But before limping to the X-ray room to have his left hip examined, Scutaro returned the deed by cracking open the St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff.

NEWS: Scutaro leaves early with hip injury

Scutaro lined a two-run single in the fourth, and to add a dash of Shakespeare to this dramatic little teleplay, the selfsame Holliday kicked it in left field for an error that allowed a third run to score.

This delightful bit of vengeance opened up a one-run game and gave comfort to Ryan Vogelsong, who wrote perhaps the best lines yet in his own deliverance story. Vogelsong flat-out dominated the Cardinals in a 7-1 victory at AT&T Park.

The Giants evened this best-of-7 series as they head to St. Louis for Game 3 behind Matt Cain on Wednesday. And because Vogelsong became the first Giants starting pitcher in seven postseason games to complete six innings, manager Bruce Bochy has the option to start a resurgent Tim Lincecum in Game 4.

Starting pitching report
Vogelsong was precisely the kind of fighter the Giants needed last week in the NLDS, when they shoved off on their quest to win three consecutive in Cincinnati. He provided the same pugnacious punch to keep the Giants from going down 0-2 at home for the second consecutive series.

The Cardinals battled him in the early going and put runners at the corners after Hollidays slide extended the first inning. But Vogelsong kept throwing his toxic mix of two-seamers, curves and sliders toward the bottom of the strike zone and Yadier Molina grounded out to end the threat.

Vogelsong gave up his only run in the second inning, after he didnt get a 2-2 call on a close pitch to No. 8 hitter Pete Kozma. With steam coming out of his ears, Vogelsong appeared to yank the 3-2 pitch as Kozma drew a walk. Then pitcher Chris Carpenter took advantage of a 1-1 mistake over the middle for an RBI double that tied the score. Vogelsong managed to strand Carpenter by throwing a curveball that Jon Jay could only scoop for a routine fly out to left field.

It took another quiver full of pitches for Vogelsong to subdue the Cards in the third after Carlos Beltran lined a convincing double. He had thrown 68 by that time, which was no small concern.

But Vogelsong got efficient, and quick. He overwhelmed the Cardinals in a 10-pitch fourth inning, and then again in a 10-pitch fifth inning. He kept throwing with life inside and hitting spots on the outer half to stiffen up a Cardinals lineup that prides itself on turning itself over.

He retired his last nine hitters to get through the seventh and earn his first career postseason win along with an orange-splashed, standing ovation the likes of which he couldnt have imagined when pitching thousands of miles away for Hanshin or in the Venezuelan Winter League or when twice handed his Triple-A walking papers.

Right now, theres no question about it: Vogelsong is the Giants best starting pitcher this postseason. He is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA (seven hits, two earned runs, no home runs in 12 innings). The rest of the Giants rotation is 1-3 with a 7.59 ERA (30 hits, 18 earned runs and six home runs in 21 13 innings).

Bullpen report
Jeremy Affeldt continued to dazzle this postseason. He went through the dangerous heart of the Cardinals order on just eight pitches, getting Carlos Beltran to pop out, Holliday to ground out and Allen Craig to fly out.

Affeldt is unscored upon in five appearances spanning 5 23 innings this postseason. For the second consecutive night, he needed just eight pitches to record three outs.

Affeldt now has a 1.80 ERA in 17 career postseason games.

The Giants had Sergio Romo warming alongside Guillermo Mota in the ninth; even after Ryan Theriots two-run single provided more breathing room, Bochy made the crowd-pleasing choice.

He went to Romo, who worked around a leadoff single to set off the steam cannons and bring his teammates out to form a handshake line.

At the plate
Angel Pagan saluted his dugout after leading off the first inning with a home run into the right field arcade off Carpenter, who still had experience if not the same stuff that helped him win Game 7 of the World Series a year ago.

The Giants had chances but set up their breakthrough rally with a flurry of unimpressive contact in the fourth. Brandon Belt blooped a one-out double, Gregor Blanco chopped a single over the head of third baseman David Freese as he defended the bunt and then Brandon Crawford hit a troublesome chopper off the plate. Carpenter tried to make a lunging throw around Crawford but his attempt was wide for an error as Belt scored the tiebreaking run.

After Vogelsong managed to get down a successful, two-strike sacrifice bunt, Pagan refused to bite on a series of offspeed pitches while drawing a walk. That loaded the bases for Scutaro, who delivered the revenge that Vogelsong wasnt allowed to inflict on Holliday.

He lined Carpenters 1-1 pitch to left field, and with the runners moving on two-out contact, it was easy breezing for Pagan to score from first when Holliday let the ball bounce away from him.

Scutaro departed to begin the sixth inning, as Theriot replaced him at second base. The Giants confirmed that Scutaro had an injured left hip and was being taken for X-rays.

The Giants piled on two more runs in the eighth with two memorable footnotes: An apparent blown call on the bases and the sight of Aubrey Huff, the original water buffalo, scoring from second base on a single.

Gregor Blanco started the rally with a walk but had to re-touch second base and make a mad dash after Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay made a diving catch of Crawfords drive. Replays showed Craig applied the tag, but umpire Bill Miller didnt see it that way.

Huff followed with a pinch lawn dart that fell near the chalk beyond third base, Pagan continued his huge night with a line single to load the bases and Theriot burned his former team with a two-run single over the shortstops head.

Giants third base coach Tim Flannery is a spiritual man and a heck of an anthem singer, but hes got a dark, dark heart. He sent Huff with two outs, and the Cardinals unwisely cut off the throw home.

In field
The Giants played flawless defense from the first inning, when a strip of intense, afternoon sun made the outfield extra tough. Pagan stayed with Jays deep drive to start the game, and Blanco did the same in left field.

Crawford charged Molinas grounder in the first inning and remembered who was running. He didnt rush the play more than necessary while making a deft pickup and throw.

Belt had to hurry, though, to catch Molinas foul pop to end the third. The first baseman ran all the way to the corner of the stands past the field-level suite to make the grab.

Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma made a diving catch of Crawfords liner with runners at the corners in the fifth inning.

The Giants announced 42,679 paid. The crowd chanted MVP for Buster Posey, of course. But their cries of Vo-gey, Vo-gey were the loudest of the night.

Up next
Both teams travel on Tuesday before resuming the NLCS on Wednesday at Busch Stadium with a matchup of aces. Right-hander Matt Cain (1-1, 5.06 ERA in two postseason starts) opposes right-hander Kyle Lohse (1-0, 2.13 in two postseason starts). First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 p.m. PDT.

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

In what was set up to be a pivotal matchup of the game turned into a heated exchange.

Buster Posey stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday against Phillies closer Hector Neris.

But Posey never got to swing the bat. On the first pitch, Neris drilled the Giants catcher in the ribs with a 95 MPH fastball.

Posey whinced in pain and as he walked to first base, he appeared to ask Neris if the pitch was on purpose.

After the game, Posey was asked about the kerfuffle.

"I'm pretty certain he hit me on purpose. And it's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he couldn't get me out," Posey told reporters after the game.

Posey was asked if he could think of any incidents in previous games against the Phillies that could have led to the hit-by-pitch. He said no and asked the reporters if they could think of anything.

Posey's comments were brought to Neris after the game.

"It's stupid because nobody who watched that said, 'Oh he hit him on purpose in that situation,'" Neris told reporters, according to the Philly Inquirer.

Posey and Neris have faced each other just one time in the past. In the ninth inning of the June 3 matchup in Philadelphia, Posey flew out to left field.

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention


SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner pitched six innings in one of his best starts this season, took a line drive off his left shin and hit an RBI single that temporarily gave the Giants an early lead.

The reward? A heaping of praise from manager Bruce Bochy, handshakes from his teammates and another no-decision - Bumgarner's third in eight starts since coming off the disabled list.

Philadelphia rookie Rhys Hoskins homered again, Pedro Florimon contributed with his bat and arm, and the Phillies scored three runs in the eighth to beat the Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

In what has been a theme for San Francisco much of the season, Bumgarner's efforts were overshadowed by another meltdown from the Giants' bullpen.

"I thought it was a good day for Madison," Bochy said. "We had it lined up like we wanted as far as the bullpen. (Hunter Strickland) just had an off day making some mistakes."

Bumgarner allowed one run and four hits. He stayed in despite taking a sharp line drive off his left shin in the second inning by Nick Williams - earlier this month, Williams hit Mets ace Jacob deGrom in the triceps with a line drive, forcing him from the game.

"I tried to do a kick save but I wasn't very good at soccer," Bumgarner said. "It almost worked out."

Hoskins connected for a solo drive in the ninth inning, making him the first Phillies player in at least 100 years to hit five home runs in his first 11 major league games.

"I got to better counts, I think this week, and the results show," Hoskins said.

Florimon hit a two-run single off Strickland (2-3) to cap a three-run eighth inning that made it 4-2. Florimon also had an RBI double off Bumgarner in the second, then made a sparkling defensive play in left field to throw out Buster Posey at the plate in the bottom of the inning.

It was Florimon's first major league game in left field.

"I just try to catch the ball and throw the ball to home plate and see what happens," Florimon said. "I made a good throw."

Adam Morgan (2-1) retired three batters for the win, a day after throwing just one pitch and getting the victory.

Hector Neris pitched 1 1/3 innings for his 15th save. He struck out Pablo Sandoval with the bases loaded to end the eighth after hitting Posey in the back with a pitch, then fanned Denard Span with two on in the ninth to end it.

The Phillies won the season series against the Giants for the first time since 2011.

Philadelphia trailed 2-1 going into the eighth. Hoskins and Maikel Franco hit consecutive one-out singles before Jorge Alfaro tied it with an RBI single. After Williams singled to load the bases, Florimon slapped a 1-2 pitch into right field.

Posey had two hits and an RBI, extending his hitting streak against the Phillies to 22 games. Kelby Tomlinson scored a run and Ryder Jones doubled and scored for San Francisco.

Posey had a rough afternoon physically. In addition to taking a 95 mph fastball in the back, Posey also appeared to get hurt while tagging out a sliding Cameron Perkins at the plate in the second.

Afterward, the Giants' All-Star catcher voiced his displeasure about Neris.

"I'm certain that he hit me on purpose," Posey said. "It's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he could get me out."

Giants 2B Joe Panik (concussion symptoms) continues to make steady progress and could come off the disabled list in time to join San Francisco on its upcoming road trip that begins Friday in Arizona.

Phillies: The team gets an off day before hosting Miami in a doubleheader Tuesday. RHP Dan Straily (7-8, 3.80 ERA) pitches in the first game and RHP Jose Urena (11-5, 3.61 ERA) goes in the nightcap.

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (1-2, 4.91) faces Milwaukee on Monday.