Baggs' Instant Replay: Nationals 9, Giants 4


Baggs' Instant Replay: Nationals 9, Giants 4

WASHINGTON The Giants needed something stronger than caffeine to compete with the Washington Nationals in a rare Wednesday morning game.With their eyes wide open for the 11:05 a.m. start, the Nats hit three opposite-field home runs in a five-batter span against Madison Bumgarner.The Giants? Theyve hit two opposite-field home runs all season. Buster Posey owns em both, and those came in April.So it's fair to say the hot, breezy and lively conditions didnt suit the Giants against the NLs top club. Bumgarner got tagged for seven runs as the Nationals celebrated their independence with a 9-4 victory.The Nats have scored 18 runs while roaring to take the first two games of this series.Starting pitching reportBumgarner was coming off his first career shutout, a one-hitter over the offensively talented Cincinnati Reds. But the Nationals have power threats as well, and this game wasnt exactly played in the crisp air of AT&T Park.The Nationals rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to tie it in the third inning. Ryan Zimmerman missed a three-run home run by inches when his RBI double smacked the wall in left field. But Bumgarner could not catch another break to escape the inning.With the bases loaded, he threw a good 2-2 curveball that Ian Desmond managed to ground through the middle for a tying, two-run single.That was the end of the seeing-eye portion of Bumgarners morningafternoon.Third-string catcher Jhonatan Solano, a right-handed hitter, put the Nationals ahead in the fourth when he drove a 2-2 slider deep to right-center field. The ball somehow kept carrying and soared well into the stands.The Nats found their sweet spot.Zimmerman hit a two-run homer to right-center in the fifth inning, again on a 2-2 slider, and Mike Morse made it back-to-back shots when he crushed an 0-2 fastball down the middle to the same area.Bumgarners seven earned runs amounted to a season high. It was the most hes allowed since June 21, 2011 the infamous game when the Minnesota Twins tacked an eight spot on him and he got hooked having recorded just one out.Bumgarners ERA soared from 2.85 to 3.27, fuzzying any longshot chance to be added as an injury replacement to the NL All-Star squad.Bullpen reportIt was another fine day of custodial work for the relievers. Once again, we direct you to the box score if you really must know more.At the platePablo Sandoval, that All-Star with the cute nickname, cranked a two-run home run that gave the Giants a 3-0 lead in the first inning. He hit an RBI double in the sixth and finished a triple away from his second career cycle, too.But thats where the thump ended for the Giants against Edwin Jackson and Co.The Nats hit three home runs off Bumgarner, right? Want to guess the last time the Giants hit three homers off an opposing starter?It wasnt this season. Try Sept. 18, 2011 at Coors Field, a day the Rockies Esmil Rogers would like to forget. (Matt Cain, Mike Fontenot, Brandon Belt and Sandoval went deep.)The Giants lack of power really hurts them on days like Wednesday. Its been 65 innings since anyone other than Sandoval hit one out. (Melky Cabrera, in the fourth inning June 26 against the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw.)In fieldSecond baseman Emmanuel Burriss made a nice play in his hometown after Pablo Sandoval threw wide. Burriss managed to tap-toe the bag on his way down after receiving the throw, then got off a strong throw of his own to help save a run in the sixth inning.AttendanceThe Nats announced 35,806 paid. Kegs and eggs. An American tradition.Up nextThe Giants and Nationals complete their three-game series with a Thursday night game. Itll be right-hander Matt Cain (9-3, 2.53), who once pitched a five-inning complete game at Nationals Park, against left-hander Ross Detwiler (4-3. 3.30).

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

WASHINGTON -- On Monday, the Dodgers will play their first opening day since 1950 without Vin Scully calling their games. He won't be in the stands. He won't make a point of watching on TV, either.

"It's a day game. I'll probably have things to do," the famed 89-year-old announcer told The Associated Press from his home in Hidden Hills, California. "I might catch a piece of it."

Not that Scully has any regrets since retiring after last season. He says he's grateful for every minute he spent with the Dodgers, the franchise he joined 67 years ago in Brooklyn and followed to Los Angeles eight years later. He feels blessed to have worked as long as he did covering the game he fell in love with as a boy.

But he's learned that after a lifetime in the broadcast booth, watching a game as a fan holds little appeal.

"During the World Series back around '77 or '78, there was a game at Dodger Stadium with the Yankees, and I went to the game as a spectator. Now, I hadn't been as a spectator in a long, long time, and I felt somewhat restless that I wasn't broadcasting," Scully recalled Tuesday.

"I did not have the challenge of trying to describe, accurately and quickly, the way it should be done. I just sat there, and I was not happy, I'll be honest. So I realized that although I love the game, what I loved more was broadcasting it," he said.

Scully spoke to the AP because the Library of Congress has announced it will preserve his call of a 1957 game between the Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, the final time they played at the hallowed old stadium. Both teams moved to California after that season, opening up the West Coast to Major League Baseball.

Scully's call of Sandy Koufax's 1965 perfect game is more famous. But that game at the Polo Grounds meant more to him personally, because he grew up going to games there, cheering for the Giants and dreaming of watching from the press box.

"It was so meaningful to me. I'm not sure what it really means to baseball fans anymore," Scully said. "The sands of time have washed over the Polo Grounds. But for me, it was one of the more memorable games I was ever involved in."

During that broadcast, Scully implored the players to take their time before there franchises left town: "Let's take it easy, we just want to take one last lingering look at both of you." The Library of Congress called it "a masterful example of the artistry that great sports announcers bring to their work, as well as their empathy for players and fans."

Six decades later, Scully is having an easier time letting go. So no plans to keep track Monday when Los Angeles plays the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.

"All summer long, I expect to get feelings of nostalgia, wistfulness, whatever the word may be, but no, I am comfortable, I do know in my heart and soul I am where I should be, and that really is all I need," he said.

"Sure, after 67 years, you'll bet I'll miss it," he added. "But heck, I miss the guys I hung out with when I was in school."

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

MESA, Ariz. — The Giants went 0-62 last season when trailing after eight innings. Chris Marrero wasn’t around for any of that, but it’s a stat that could help Marrero as he tries to lock up a bench spot. 

The first baseman/left fielder crushed a three-run shot in the ninth inning Tuesday, wiping out a two-run deficit against the Cubs. Marrero also has two walk-off homers this spring. 

“This kid, you see it when he goes up there. He’s got great focus,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s intensity and determination. From day one, you could see it in his at-bats. Late in the game, he seems very comfortable. He wants to go up there.”

Tuesday’s homer, which shot out to right-center, was the eighth of the spring for Marrero. That ties him with a guy named Bryce Harper for the MLB lead, and the vast majority of Marrero’s bombs were no-doubters. 

“It’s been a great spring for him,” Bochy said. “The last game here, it seems fitting that he would do something like that. He’s already done it a couple of times. This kid has done all he can. I love his swing and the work that he’s put in.”

With Michael Morse down, Marrero is the best remaining option as a power right-handed bat off the bench, a glaring need a year ago. Justin Ruggiano, another one in the mix, followed Marrero’s shot with one of his own. The homer was Ruggiano’s second of the spring. 

Ruggiano is a better fit defensively in the outfield, but Marrero has been solid at first and Bochy said he’s fine with what he’s seen in left field. “He’s still working on it,” Bochy said, noting that Marrero will play left field during the Bay Bridge Series. 

LEADING OFF: Denard Span saw a wild pitch bounce off the bricks behind home plate, and he never slowed down. Span sped around third in the second inning and slid in ahead of the throw. The notable part of the play wasn’t that a quirky bounce allowed Span to take 180 feet on a wild pitch. It was that his legs did. The 33-year-old has been a different guy in his second spring with the Giants. Last year, Span was coming off hip surgery. This spring, his old game has returned.

“I’ve just been able to do the things I’ve always been able to do,” Span said. “I have more control of my body. I’m stronger. I had a full offseason and a full spring training to get my legs up under me. The last couple of weeks, I’ve felt much better and more confident.”

A healthy and spry Span would be a big boost to a lineup that often looked flat in the second half last season Span showed off every aspect of his game Tuesday. He blasted a leadoff homer on Jake Arrieta’s second pitch, and during their second matchup, he put a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. Span stole second easily before his race home. 

“He’s playing terrific baseball and he’s been a real inspiration, being our leadoff hitter,” Bochy said. “That’s what we needed — energy at the top of the order.”

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez (shoulder) is feeling much better, and Bochy said he’ll play third base during the games at AT&T Park before getting four or five innings at shortstop on Saturday. Joe Panik (drilled in the back on Monday) said he’s feeling fine. 

POSITION BATTLES: Here’s the latest on Matt Cain, and here’s an update on Aaron Hill and Jimmy Rollins. 

ICYMI: Big news today from NBC Bay Area. Matt Williams, Javier Lopez and Cody Ross have joined out pre- and post-game shows. You can find stories about those guys on our homepage here. Those shows will also now be an hour long on both ends of the game, adding an extra hour of Giants coverage to your day. Which is good. 

That’s all on the way during the regular season. If you missed any of our spring coverage, you can find a bunch of features here, and podcasts here (spring pods included Mike Morse, Matt Cain, Mac Williamson, Jimmy Rollins and others, with one more coming this week). And in case you’re new to our coverage, the Twitter account is here and the Facebook page is here. Next stop, San Francisco …