Baggs' Instant Replay: Padres 7, Giants 1


Baggs' Instant Replay: Padres 7, Giants 1


SAN DIEGO Beanballs were exchanged. Dugouts were warned. Padres third baseman Chase Headley was ejected.

But cmon. This is San Diego on a resplendent Sunday afternoon. How worked up can you get, really?

Despite some of the particulars, the Giants 7-1 loss to the Padres didnt have as much edge or anger. Just a lot of quick outs from the visiting side, and a whole lot of Everth Cabrera that is likely to bleed into Ryan Vogelsongs nightmares.

Cabrera led off the game with a 13-pitch at-bat to set a tone for Vogelsong, who was unable to record an out in the fourth inning. Clayton Richard found a less turbulent route while holding the Giants to an unearned run in eight innings.

The Giants were unable to complete a three-game sweep and they dropped back into second place in the NL West, a half-game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers whom theyll play the following three days at Chavez Ravine.

Starting pitching report
In his first 19 starts, Vogelsong never allowed more than two runs in a single inning. But hes given up three crooked numbers four, seven and three -- over his last four outings.

Vogelsong (10-7) threw 96 pitches without recording an out in the fourth inning, and 30 of them were to Everth Cabrera. The Padres pesky leadoff man worked Vogelsong for a 13-pitch at-bat to start the game all fastballs, the last one finally finding its way past Cabreras swing.

Perhaps that battle took something out of Vogelsong from the very start. He allowed four hits in the first inning, with Carlos Quentin pounding an RBI single and Cameron Maybin lining a hanging, first-pitch slider for a two-run single as the Padres took a 3-0 lead.

Entering the game, Vogelsong had allowed just two runs in the first inning all season.

The Padres stole three bases as part of the rally, too. Catcher Buster Posey threw too high to second base and third base.

It never got much easier for Vogelsong. He hit Quentin to load the bases in the second inning before escaping on Yonder Alonsos ground out. And after Cabrera singled on the 10th pitch of his at-bat to start the fourth inning, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was not eager to see a replay of the first. He pulled Vogelsong and hoped the bullpen could keep the score at 3-1.

After completing six innings in each of his first 21 starts, Vogelsong has been knocked out early twice (2 23 innings vs. Washington on Monday, too).

Bullpen report
The bullpen could not keep it close. The Padres went triple-double-single-strikeout-double against left-hander Jose Mijares in the fifth, with Cabrera providing the two-RBI punch at the end. At least Cabrera was kind enough to double on the first pitch.

At the plate
Clayton Richard found his old spellbook for the Giants. He had been 0-3 with a 7.64 ERA in three starts against them this year, ending a career trend. Prior to this season, he was 5-2 with a 3.09 ERA in eight starts against them and frustrated the Giants to no end as these two teams battled to the 162nd game in 2010.

Richard was on his game again. He held the Giants to an unearned run on five hits in eight innings while improving to 10-12 this season.

The Giants scored their only run in the second inning, when right fielder Will Venable clanked Buster Poseys fly ball. Posey advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Hunter Pences sacrifice fly.

Justin Christian stopped that rally when he hit a foul pop to third base. Christian was removed as part of a double-switch in the fourth; you have to believe the Giants will consider other left field options as they face left-handers Clayton Kershaw and Chris Capuano on Monday and Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

Brandon Belt was plunked by Richard in the fourth inning, and plate umpire Brian ONora warned both dugouts. ONora also showed a quick thumb when Headley argued the strike zone in the third inning; ONora ejected him on the spot.

In field
Pablo Sandoval made his second diving stop in as many games. He left his feet to grab Alonsos hot grounder in the fourth and Brandon Belt made a nice scoop at first base to end the inning.

Padres second baseman Alexi Amarista was the games defensive star, diving to stop a hot shot that Richard deflected to retire Posey in the third. Then Amarista nearly crashed into the Giants busy bullpen while ranging far to catch Angel Pagans foul pop in the seventh.

The Padres announced 28,605 paid. The crowd gave a standing ovation to Marines from Delta Company 1st recruit training battalion. Its one of the best Sunday traditions in baseball. Ill take that over a badly sung God Bless America any day.

Up next
The Giants bus to Chavez Ravine for a showdown series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Madison Bumgarner (13-7, 2.97) will oppose left-hander Clayton Kershaw (11-6, 2.90) on Monday. Tim Lincecum (6-12, 5.45) will be under the microscope Tuesday against right-hander Joe Blanton (8-11, 4.96). Matt Cain gets the ball in Wednesdays series finale against left-hander Chris Capuano (11-8, 3.14).

Giants notes: 'Disappointing' road trip; Nuñez hopes to return Friday

Giants notes: 'Disappointing' road trip; Nuñez hopes to return Friday

CHICAGO — As they packed up at AT&T Park eight days ago, the Giants talked of taking their momentum on the road. It sounded pie-in-the-sky given the way they had played in April and on the previous trip, but when they took the first two in St. Louis, players started to believe they had finally turned the corner. 

And then came a Sunday loss, and three of four at Wrigley Field. There was no happy flight Thursday. The Giants lost 5-1, again looking flat against a less-than-elite pitcher, and ended up with a 3-4 trip. They’ll finish the first two months of the season without a winning road trip. They're 9-19 away from AT&T Park. 

“It’s disappointing,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Once you win the first one here, you’re hoping you get greedy and take the series, but we didn’t. That’s disappointing.”

The Giants entered the road trip with a 6.62 starters’ ERA on the road, but pitching wasn’t the issue. Sure there were too many meatballs — most of the 10 Cubs homers in this series came on pitches left right over the fat part of the plate — but the starters did their job. The lineup couldn’t keep up. The Giants had just five hits Thursday and finished the trip with 24 runs in seven games. They started the trip nine games out in the West and finished 11 back of the Rockies, their largest deficit since 2013. 

“You come here and take the first game with our (top) guys throwing after that and you’re hoping for a better result,” Jeff Samardzija said. “We started out good and that St. Louis series puts you in a good spot to salvage the trip. We’ll go home now with six solid games on our home turf and they’re six big games for us.”

The Braves and Nationals come to town. The Giants will see Jaime Garcia on Friday, followed by Mike Foltynewicz and R.A. Dickey. 

--- Samardzija’s run without a walk ended at 154 batters when Ian Happ drew a free pass in the seventh. The streak was the best of Samardzija’s career. 

--- Eduardo Nuñez said he got treatment on a tight hamstring throughout the game and he’ll go in early Friday to continue treatment. He hopes to start Friday. 

--- Christian Arroyo was hitless in three at-bats, dropping his average to .191. Before the game, Bochy talked at length about Arroyo’s recent struggles and the plan with him going forward. 

--- If you missed it earlier, I took a tour of the visiting bullpen here. After going in there, I talked to some more pitchers about what they don’t like. It seems to mostly be the fact that you’re separated from the game. One said some of the relievers who pitched Monday had no idea it was raining because they had been getting loose inside for several innings. Seems like there’s a pretty easy fix here: The Cubs can just turn part of that Under Armour wall into a chain-link fence, or have some sort of window that opens up to the outside but doesn’t interfere with outfielders. Maybe next year … 

Wrigley's phones keep Giants from challenging one of three homers in loss

Wrigley's phones keep Giants from challenging one of three homers in loss

CHICAGO — The Cubs have a brand new clubhouse that visitors often compare to a spaceship, and this season their front office moved into a sparkling building alongside Wrigley Field that has a Starbucks on the ground floor and arcade games sprinkled among the offices.

There are still plenty of old-school quirks at this 103-year-old park, however, and two of them teamed up to get to Jeff Samardzija and the Giants in the first inning Thursday. 

Kris Bryant lofted a ball to left and Mac Williamson settled under the basket hanging over the track. Williamson thought he had a bead on the ball, but a Cubs fan caught it as he reached over the basket, installed in this yard specifically to keep fans from unleashing their inner Jeffrey Maier. Williamson immediately pointed up, trying to signal to Giants coaches that they should take a second look at the homer. Bruce Bochy never had a chance.

“In this game you get a safety valve and one is replay,” Bochy said. “The phone wasn’t working and by the time Shawon (Dunston) ran down they were throwing the pitch to (Anthony) Rizzo.”

Bochy kept looking at the replay phone but it didn’t ring. Once the first pitch to Rizzo was thrown, the Giants were out of time to challenge. 

“I definitely would have challenged it,” Bochy said. “I didn't see any reason to at first. That’s something we definitely would have done differently … It’s ironic that as soon as it happened it stopped ringing.”

Bochy met with home plate umpire Laz Diaz after the inning and informed him that if the replay phone continued to give the Giants issues, he might have to stop the game and get it fixed. The Giants continued to check the phones every inning to make sure they worked, although there were no challenges from their side. 

It’s an interesting wrinkle to the loss, especially given the history of shenanigans here. But there are two postscripts. 

The first is that the ball was a home run. Unless you’re built like Kevin Durant, it’s just about impossible to pull a ball over the basket, which Williamson noted as he stood underneath the overhang. Still shots were deceiving because the fan tugged his glove down after making the catch, but the Giants checked with the league during the game and they were told that the home run call would have stood.

"If it would have gone in, it would have been like the (Javier) Baez homer in the playoffs where it just nicked it," Williamson said. 

The second postscript is that this goofy isolated play isn’t the reason the Giants lost. Jeff Samardzija gave up two more homers, Denard Span halted a rally with a mistake at first base, and the Giants managed just one run against the Cubs’ No. 5 starter and lefty reliever Mike Montgomery. They lost 5-1. 

“You’d like to think we could score in this ballpark, three to four runs,” Bochy said. “We couldn’t do it. We shot ourselves in the foot there with runners on first and third.”

With the corners packed and one down in the fifth, Span was picked off first by Eddie Butler. The Giants would never again threaten. 

“You never know what’s going to happen in an inning like that, but now he’s got two outs,” Bochy said. 

The Giants looked poised to tie the game or take the lead in that inning. Instead, the Cubs added another run on Ben Zobrist’s homer in the sixth. Two more scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch in the eighth. Samardzija took the loss despite striking out eight in three innings. He gave up three solo shots, two that landed in the basket. 

“Yeah, man, that’s a tough way to take it,” he said. “You give up one to Zobrist that he hit well and then two in the Easter basket. It’s unfortunate.”

The Cubs might have caught a break or two, but the Giants had no room to argue or complain. There’s something else about those baskets: They’re out there for both teams, and only one of the lineups was hitting it far enough to bring them into play.