Baggs' Instant Replay: Padres 6, Giants 4


Baggs' Instant Replay: Padres 6, Giants 4

SAN FRANCISCO In a franchise first, the Giants combined fan appreciation day with a spring training split-squad Sunday afternoon.OK, so there werent any mist fans at AT&T Park and the Salty Pavilion didnt replace Levis Landing. But one day after the Giants clinched the NL West, their reserve-laden lineup had the feel of an afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium.Giants manager Bruce Bochy apologized in advance for sitting all of his regulars except outfielder Gregor Blanco, saying he couldnt pass up a chance to rest his grinders barely a dozen hours after they clinched the division. He said Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, especially, could use the 48-hour break that they would receive when combined with Mondays day off.The B squad offered mixed results in a 6-4 loss to the San Diego Padres.Francisco Peguero had a game he wont forget, collecting the first two hits of his major league career and stealing a pair of bases. Justin Christian might have had an impulse to ask for the baseball, too, after hitting a pinch single to snap an 0-for-25 streak that began in July.Bochy emptied his bench in the late innings and brought pinch hitter Buster Posey to the plate with the chance to hit a walk-off grand slam. But Posey hit an RBI ground out and Ryan Theriot lined out with the tying runs at the corners to end it.Starting pitching reportYusmeiro Petit subbed for Tim Lincecum and threw 94 pitches over 4 23 innings. He wasnt particularly sharp, giving up seven hits and walking four. But hey, its better than anything the Rockies are getting these days.Bullpen reportDont sleep on Dan Runzler. He has smoothed out his delivery and located an easy, 94 mph fastball while inducing a double-play grounder in the seventh inning.Clay Hensley had another rough outing, though. He retired just one of the five batters he faced and gave up a tiebreaking, two-run single to Yonder Alonso in the seventh inning. Thats not a great way to start your unofficial audition for the playoff roster.Brad Penny gave up a pinch home run to Mark Kotsay, leading thousands to wonder if an old timers game broke out spontaneously.At the plateXavier Nady collected two hits, made two hard outs and his double scored Ryan Theriot in the fourth inning.But Peguero had the most memorable afternoon at the plate. He wore a priceless, embarrassed smile while standing on first base as he received a standing ovation for beating out a dribbler to shortstop. For varietys sake on the spray charts, Peguero later lined a single to left field.Eli Whiteside hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning that gave the Giants a momentary lead.Bochy emptied his bench in the late innings and received another booming hit from Aubrey Huff, who is making one heck of a statement in September. He singled off the right field bricks, improving to 5 for 9 with two walks and just one strikeout as a pinch hitter in the month.In fieldWhiteside threw out two of three runners trying to steal including one on a pitchout. But backup catcher Hector Sanchez, who entered on a double switch, threw wild to bases twice in the Padres two-run eighth inning.AttendanceThe Giants announced 41,511 paid. Nothing like the prospect of a free car to keep em in their seats to the end. Or perhaps it was the lure of seeing Jon Miller and Dave Flemming dance to Gangnam Style in the ninth inning?Up nextThe Giants take Monday off before finishing their final homestand of the season with three games against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Barry Zito are expected to start against a trio of left-handers: Tyler Skaggs, Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin.

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Before the right hooks and haymakers, there was the helmet toss.

A very bad helmet toss.

As he made his way to the mound after getting hit by a pitch on Monday afternoon, Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper attempted to throw his helmet at Giants reliever Hunter Strickland. He missed by a wide margin.

Observers took notice, including Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner.

"What was worse, Harper's helmet throw or 50 Cents first pitch? Heads up in the #McCoveyCove," Turner tweeted shortly after the brawl between the Giants and Nationals.

Turner is referring to a ceremonial first pitch thrown by rapper 50 Cent prior to a Mets game in 2014.

Harper mentioned the helmet when addressing the situation after the game.

"I was trying to go after him, with the helmet or with myself, just doing what I needed to do keep it going, I guess," Harper told reporters.


Fight Notes: Harper thought this was over; Giants collide; Posey avoids it

Fight Notes: Harper thought this was over; Giants collide; Posey avoids it

SAN FRANCISCO — When the Nationals visited AT&T Park for the first time after the 2014 postseason series, Bryce Harper took to Instagram to compliment the city. “Nothing like SF! #BayArea” he wrote underneath a photo of the Bay Bridge. 

Harper, a Las Vegas kid, has always seemed to enjoy facing the Giants. He hasn’t hit well at AT&T Park, but he was a star in their 2014 matchup and he praised Brandon Crawford on Twitter during this year’s WBC. The greeting Monday was not a friendly one. 

Harper was retired three times by Matt Moore. The first pitch he saw from Hunter Strickland left a dent on his hip and set off a wild brawl. 

Strickland denied any intent. Harper seemed confused by the timing of the payback pitch. 

“It’s so in the past, it’s not even relevant anymore,” he said of their 2014 series, according to Dan Kolko of MASN. “They won the World Series that year. I don’t think he should even be thinking about what happened in the first round. He should be thinking about wearing that ring home every single night. I don’t know why he did it or what he did it for, but I guess it happens.”

The Giants were not surprised when Harper reacted the way he did. Now they’ll wait for Strickland to get hit with a suspension, and Harper is looking at a layoff, too. 

“You never want to get suspended or anything like that, but sometimes you’ve got to go and get him,” Harper said. “You can’t hesitate. You either go to first base or you go after him. And I decided to go after him.”

Strickland, about an hour after the fight, said he’s not sure what will happen in terms of discipline. 

“That’s their decision and obviously I’ll take whatever consequences come with it and we’ll go from there,” he said. 

Any action by the league is unlikely to impact this series. Even if suspensions are handed down swiftly, players can appeal. Harper and Strickland may not be alone. Several players jumped into the fray aggressively and at least one non-active Giant — Hunter Pence — was right in the middle of the scrum. At the very least, he could be facing a fine for trying to help his teammate. 

“It doesn't look good when a guy gets hit but also on their side, the guy throws his helmet,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Strickland’s got to stand his ground. There’s no choice there. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen (with suspensions).”

One player who won’t face discipline: Madison Bumgarner, who is also on the DL but wisely stayed away from this one, even if it probably killed him to do so. 

--- The biggest hit didn’t come from Strickland or Harper. It was Jeff Samardzija and Michael Morse coming together in the middle of the field. Both players said they were fine. 

"I was just trying to get in there to break everything up," Morse said. "We lost the game, that's what's most important."

Ahhh, yes, the Giants lost 3-0. Bochy seemed particularly peeved that Strickland chose the eighth inning of a 2-0 game to exact revenge, and you can bet some teammates weren't thrilled. We'll see if there's anything more to this Tuesday. There was a lot of adrenaline flowing, but some of these guys might not be feeling so spry when they wake up in the morning. Bochy said he had not heard any reports of players getting injured, but he also admitted that he didn't see most of the collisions and had no idea what happened with Morse and Samardzija, who had a world-class reaction, by the way.  

--- As with the incident with the Dodgers a couple weeks ago, Buster Posey stayed out of this one. Smartly. 

"After it happened I saw Harper point and the next thing you know he's going out after them," Posey said. "Those are some big guys tumbling on the ground. You see Michael Morse, as big as he is, and he's getting knocked around like a pinball."

Posey is not alone in staying away from these scrums where 250-pound dudes are flying at knees and ankles. Brandon Crawford can often be found on the outside, as well. It's smart, but I think something else was at play here today. Posey understands that the Giants are fighting for every scrap at this point. Every loss digs the hole that much deeper, and this happened with two outs in the eighth inning of a 2-0 game, against a team with a poor bullpen. I'd imagine there was some serious annoyance there. 

--- How angry was Strickland? It took three guys, three big guys, to drag him into the dugout: Pence, Mac Williamson, and George Kontos. 

"I was pretty fired up to be honest with you, but that’s just adrenaline," he said. 

--- Baseball fights are rather silly, but at least you get some phenomenal photos.