Baggs' Instant Replay: Nationals 6, Giants 4

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Nationals 6, Giants 4

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SAN FRANCISCO While the Giants tried to digest the sudden gut-bomb of Melky Cabreras 50-game suspension, Tim Lincecum added to their acute indigestion.
Lincecum took a step back from what had been a much-improved second half. He labored through a marathon first inning, surrendered a two-run home run to Danny Espinosa in the third and was gone after throwing a whopping 96 pitches in just four innings.The Washington Nationals have owned the Giants all season, and they did not hesitate to kick them while they were down while handing them a 6-4 defeat Wednesday afternoon at AT&T Park.Stephen Strasburg pitched six strong innings, managing to step around an erratic patch in the second that included two walks and a two-run single by Brandon Crawford. The Nationals, who have the best record in the N.L., took two of three and held off a late charge to beat the Giants five times out of six in the season series.The Giants finished 3-3 on their homestand and are left to forge ahead without Cabrera, the major league leader in hits and runs scored, who will serve a 50-game suspension after Major League Baseball announced that he tested positive for testosterone.NEWS: Cabrera suspended 50 games
Cabrera was listed in Wednesdays lineup before his suspension was announced barely an hour before the first pitch.Cabrera leads the major leagues in hits and walks, so theres no understating the impact his suspension will have on the Giants chances to win the N.L. West. But this remains a pitching team, so a wobbly Lincecum is a damning omen in its own right.Starting pitching reportLincecum entered 3-2 with a 2.72 ERA and had thrown quality starts in five of six outings since the break. But a 38-pitch first inning served to deep-six him against one of the leagues most talented lineups.Lincecum (6-13) simply couldnt get his teammates in the dugout after retiring two of the first three hitters. Adam LaRoche reached on an infield single, Michael Morse walked to load the bases and Jayson Werth followed with a two-out hit. Lincecum hit Espinosa with a pitch before finally escaping by striking out Kurt Suzuki.The big difference with Lincecum this season: He cant maintain his stuff after being taxed early. That proved to be the case again, as the Nationals collected eight hits against him in all. Not all were seeing-eye singles, either. LaRoche doubled and Espinosa rocked Lincecum for a two-run home run in the third.Washington leadoff man Steve Lombardozzi, who led off the game with a single, proved pesky again to start the fourth inning. Lombardozzi stole second base and moved up on a wild pitch before Lincecum stranded him.But with the Giants trailing 4-2 and Lincecums pitch count soaring to 96, Giants manager Bruce Bochy lifted the two-time Cy Young Award winner for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fourth.It was the sixth time Lincecum failed to complete five innings. He has thrown quality starts in just nine of 25 outings this season. And the Giants are now 8-17 in his starts.Lincecum would match his career high with his next loss.Bullpen reportGeorge Kontos and Santiago Casilla each gave up a run; Werth hit an RBI single in the fifth, then walked and scored on a sacrifice fly in the seventh.At the plateCabreras last-minute replacement, Gregor Blanco, entered with an 0-for-19 streak and was batting just .079 (3 for 38) over his last 20 games.The club moved Pablo Sandoval from fifth to third and inserted Blanco in the No. 7 spot in the lineup.Blanco snapped his streak at 21 hitless at-bats, but Strasburg only gave up three other hits in his six innings. The two Brandons, Belt and Crawford, collected two of them in the second after Hunter Pence and Buster Posey drew walks to start the inning. But after Lincecum sacrificed runners to second and third, Angel Pagan flied out to left field.The Giants managed exactly one baserunner (and no more runs) in each of Strasburgs next four innings. He improved to 14-5 with a 2.91 ERA. The innings count now stands at 139.1, and yes, the Nationals still plan to shut him down in the 160-170 inning range.Blancos infield hit scored a run off Sean Burnett in the eighth, but Crawford received a heaping supply of offspeed pitches while striking out to strand runners at the corners.The Giants scored again in the ninth with a gift from the gods. Sandoval popped up and tossed his bat, assuming hed made the final out. But first baseman Adam LaRoche appeared to lose the ball in the sun, and Sandoval took second base. Posey stepped to the plate representing the tying run, and he took two huge rips after Tyler Clippard fell behind 2-1. But both baseballs ended up in catcher Kurt Suzukis glove.In fieldThe Giants might need foot massages, for all the standing around they had to do during Lincecums innings.AttendanceThe Giants announced 42,133 paid including Barry Bonds, in a case of wondrous timing. As for the Melkmen maybe they can reinvent themselves as the Pence-il Pushers.Up nextThe Giants have a travel day to take stock of themselves before beginning their road trip to San Diego and Los Angeles with a Friday night game at Petco Park. Matt Cain (11-5, 2.99) opposes right-hander Ross Ohlendorf (4-3. 6.41). Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong are scheduled to pitch the remainder of the weekend against Padres left-handers Eric Stults and Clayton Richard.

Jones finally gets the call, will be Giants' everyday third baseman for now

Jones finally gets the call, will be Giants' everyday third baseman for now

SAN FRANCISCO — Ryder Jones is 23 years old and Christian Arroyo just turned 22, so when Jones got the call to the big leagues, the first step in the preparation process was about what you would expect. Jones and Arroyo fired up the PlayStation and Arroyo started pumping pitches as Jacob deGrom, the starter Jones will face in his debut Saturday. 

“I faced him last night and got a hit and a pop-up,” Jones said, smiling. 

The real thing will be considerably tougher, but Jones said he’s looking forward to the challenge, noting that deGrom will help make his debut that much more memorable. The Giants are looking forward to the debut, too. Jones is a player Bruce Bochy has been eyeing for a while, and he has finally been deemed ready. 

While Eduardo Nuñez is on the disabled list, Jones will be the everyday third baseman. He’s hitting seventh Saturday, one spot ahead of 24-year-old Austin Slater. Arroyo is sidelined by a bone bruise but he should join the other two at some point later this season. 

“Unfortunately we’ve put ourselves in a position here (with our record) where we’re going to look at younger players, but the good thing is that these guys are going to get a chance to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “They’re going to get some playing time. I look forward to watching him play.”

Jones took Aaron Hill’s roster spot after the veteran was designated for assignment. Bochy said Hill was one of his favorite players to manage, noting his professionalism and solid at-bats, despite the .132 average. He hopes Hill gets a shot on a contender, but that won’t be the case in San Francisco this year, and the Jones promotion was the latest indication that a rebuild/reload is underway. 

Drafted in the second round in 2013 — one round after Arroyo — Jones can play third, first and left field. He has more power than most in the farm system, and he’s athletic enough to handle three spots. The Giants will live with the mistakes at third for now, hopeful that the big arm can stick there. 

Jones was batting .299 with 10 homers and 16 doubles in 53 games for the River Cats. The knock on him has always been a lack of patience at the plate, but he has upped his on-base percentage to .390, a jump of 99 points from his 2016 season in Double-A. In June, Jones had put together a .343/.450/.701 slash line. 

“Patience at the plate is the biggest thing for me,” he said. “If you look at all my years in the minors, I was a little aggressive and antsy. You learn as you get older that you have to pick a pitch you can drive.”

The new approach has Jones in a big league lineup -- the real thing, not the video game version. He went millennial with his preparation, but his promotion was as old-school as it gets. The River Cats have a doubleheader Saturday and when Jones reached third base in Friday night’s game, manager Dave Brundage told him he would get one of the two games off. 

“I told him I could play two,” Jones said. “I know we have some older guys there.”

Brundage called him in later and told him he would only be playing the night game on Saturday. 

“But you’ll be in San Francisco,” the manager added. 

Jones called his parents, who will be in attendance, along with his brother and girlfriend. Then he fired up the PlayStation, packed, and prepared for a short flight to San Francisco. He was still so fired up Saturday morning that he couldn’t handle more than a 30-minute nap. 

“I didn’t know what time I could come to the park,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep.”

Giants lineup: Ryder Jones hitting seventh in MLB debut vs Mets

Giants lineup: Ryder Jones hitting seventh in MLB debut vs Mets

Called up on Saturday morning, Ryder Jones will man the hot corner and bat seventh in his MLB debut against the Mets.

New York Mets:
1. Curtis Granderson (L) CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B
3. Yoenis Cespedes (R) LF
4. Jay Bruce (L) RF
5. Lucas Duda (L) 1B
6. Wilmer Flores (R) 3B
7. Travis d'Arnaud (R) C
8. Jose Reyes (S) SS
9. Jacob deGrom (L) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 3B
8. Austin Slater (R) LF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P