Baggs' Instant Replay: Nationals 14, Giants 2

843939.jpg

Baggs' Instant Replay: Nationals 14, Giants 2

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO Well, thats the last time theyll hold Frank Sinatra Night at AT&T Park.

The Washington Nationals flew the Giants to the moon, all right. The Nats treated Giants infielders like pinball paddles while collecting a series of hard, seeing-eye hits that deflected off gloves. It was enough to tilt even an unshakeable presence like Ryan Vogelsong, who was ushered out in the third inning.

So too was Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who drew a quick ejection while arguing a call at first base. Bochy was luckier than the sellout crowd, which had to watch as the ERA-wrecking Nationals set an AT&T Park record with 21 hits while romping to a 14-2 victory Monday night.

You could say the Nats are under the Giants skin, officially. Their lineup has been unstoppable in four victories over the Giants this season while outscoring them 38-14.

That hurts worse than a five-martini lunch. But hey, thats life.

Starting pitching report
Vogelsongs streak of completing at least six innings, which stretched back to his final outing of last season, was halted after 22 starts. His eight earned runs allowed doubled his previous season high.

His ERA flipped from an NL-best 2.27 to 2.72.

Red-hot Ryan Zimmerman hit an RBI double, marking just the second run all season that Vogelsong had allowed in the first inning.

It got a lot worse in a seven-run third. Vogelsong (10-6) had his share of bad luck, though, after Adam LaRoche drew a bases-loaded, one-out walk. Michael Morse followed with an RBI single off third baseman Marco Scutaros backhanded attempt. Then Danny Espinosa drove in another run with a ground ball that second baseman Ryan Theriot kicked into right field.

Roger Bernadina followed with a chopper to third base and umpire Mike Estabrook ruled that he beat the bang-bang play. Replays appeared to show that Bernadina was out, but Bochy didnt need to see it. He double-timed it out of the dugout and mustve uttered his magic word right away to draw Estabrooks thumb.

Kurt Suzuki followed with a bases-clearing double to cap the scoring. Vogelsong struck out pitcher Gio Gonzalez for the second time in the inning and followed by giving up a hit to Steve Lombardozzi, ending his night.

Bullpen report
Custodial work did not suit Brad Penny. Danny Espinosa rocked him for a three-run home run as Penny allowed allowed six runs on seven hits in two innings.

Jose Mijares, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla and George Kontos helped to advance the game to a merciful conclusion, though. And they ensured the Giants wouldnt take a beating for the ages.

The worst margin of defeat in the Giants San Francisco era is 16 runs, which has been accomplished three times most recently in 2005 during a 16-0 loss at Oakland.

At the plate
Brandon Crawford picked one heck of a time to hit his first home run of the season at AT&T Park. In his 162nd home at-bat of the season, he hit a pinch-hit shot that landed softly in the arcade to break up the Nationals shutout in the seventh inning.

Aside from that, Gonzalez was masterful.

Special demerit to Joaquin Arias for getting thrown out in a 14-0 game while trying to stretch a single just prior to Crawfords home run.

The few thousand remaining fans in the ninth inning cheered as Pablo Sandoval came off the bench as a pinch hitter his first appearance since coming off the disabled list. He fouled out to the third baseman.

In field
Scutaro had a tough night at third base, and many fans doubtless had to wonder why Sandoval didnt start on the day the Giants activated him from the DL.

But Scutaro was more victimized than anything as a series of grounders glanced off his glove or were just beyond his reach. The crowd offered mock applause when Scutaro made a nice play to his left in the seventh inning.

Attendance
The Giants announced 42,050 paid. The fans had plenty of chances to practice their sarcastic standing ovation skills.

Up next
Bring your fire extinguishers. The Giants continue their three-game series with the Nationals at AT&T Park Tuesday night. Left-hander Madison Bumgarner (12-7, 3.08) will try to disarm a club that has destroyed Giants pitching all season. Hell be opposed by right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (9-6, 2.35), who became the NLs ERA leader after his teammates hummed My Way against Vogelsong.

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

Editor's Note: The above video was recorded following Matt Cain's perfect game in 2012.

Gregor Blanco's bid to make the Arizona Diamondbacks' Opening Day roster is over.

The former Giants outfielder was released on Monday, Arizona announced.

Blanco had been dealing with an oblique injury and had played since March 21.

In 14 Cactus League games, Blanco went 9-for-40 (.225) with one double and three triples.

Blanco spent five years with the Giants and was part of the World Series winning teams in 2012 and 2014. During his time in San Francisco, the 33-year-old hit .259/.338/.360 with 78 doubles, 24 triples and 157 RBI in 649 games.

The D'backs signed Blanco to a minor league deal in January.

Giants spring training Day 43: A big game for veteran trying to lock up OF job

Giants spring training Day 43: A big game for veteran trying to lock up OF job

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For the first time, Gorkys Hernandez did not go back to Venezuela in the offseason to play winter ball. He's hoping that leads to another first. 

Hernandez has never made an opening day roster, but after breaking into the Giants’ outfield rotation last season, he entered the winter in a decent shot. To bolster his case, Hernandez stayed in Scottsdale over the offseason to work out at the minor league facility. The added strength didn’t lead to any notable results over the first month of games, but Hernandez broke through Monday with three doubles in the final home game of the spring.

“Sometimes (slumps) happen and sometimes you’re late (on pitches) and you don’t feel comfortable at the plate, but now I feel different. I feel better,” Hernandez said. “I’m recognizing pitches and trying to keep it simple and not do too much.”

The coaching staff has asked several players to head down to the minor league facility late in the spring and get additional at-bats, and Hernandez took Bruce Bochy up on the offer. He twice played in minor league games, and on Sunday he rotated into different games so he could get six at-bats. Hernandez said that helped him find his timing. 

“Without question, it helped his timing,” Bochy said. “He was off. He was getting out front, his timing was off. I think the at-bats he got paid off.”

The three-double day was perfectly timed. Hernandez entered with a .159 average and Justin Ruggiano, the other option as a backup center fielder, had started to put together better at-bats. Monday’s game was a reminder in more ways than one. Hernandez showed off the type of speed the Giants won’t have on the bench if Kelby Tomlinson is optioned, and he played all three outfield positions, switching from left to right to center. 

The role in play is one Gregor Blanco had for five seasons. The Giants would like Hernandez to be their defensive whiz at every outfield spot, and they’re light on true center fielders. If the Giants put Hernandez on the roster this week as expected, he’ll be ready to try and be the new Blanco. 

“If they give me that role, I’ll try to do the same thing,” he said. “Or better.”

THE ACE: Madison Bumgarner is going to Madison Bumgarner. He threw seven sharp innings Monday, lowering his spring ERA to 2.52. In 25 innings, he has allowed just 17 hits and struck out 23. Bochy appreciated Bumgarner’s intensity Monday against a Reds team that was filled with minor leaguers. 

“That’s what makes him so good,” Bochy said. “He takes every outing seriously. His preparation doesn’t waver.”

Bumgarner even added a single, and he liked that it came on a breaking ball. He’s worked on getting better at hitting those pitches, which he’s seeing more and more. 

“I feel I’m as ready as I can be to start the season,” Bumgarner said. 

His next pitch will be thrown Sunday at Chase Field. 

GAME RECAP: The Giants blasted poor Reds starter Cody Reed, hanging 10 runs on his line in 3 2/3 innings. Denard Span had two hits and Aaron Hill had three, driving in three runs. Bochy went with an interesting lineup, leading off with Span, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. He said he likes Crawford in that five-spot. He also plans to hit the pitcher eighth on occasion.

TRAINER’S ROOM: Joe Panik was drilled by a fastball in the lower back and he came out of the game as a precaution. Panik has a nasty welt, so he’s in for a night of ice, but there are no concerns. 

QUOTABLE: Posey turned 30 today. As he walked out to stretch, Bumgarner was asked if he was giving Posey a hard time. “No, he’s been 30 for the last seven years,” Bumgarner said.