Giants

Bochy makes MVP pitch for Posey, delays Melky decision

897369.jpg

Bochy makes MVP pitch for Posey, delays Melky decision

There are still eight games remaining on the Giantsschedule, but that didnt stop manager Bruce Bochy from casting hisnon-existent MVP vote for Buster Posey.To me he is the MVP, Bochy said before Wednesdays gameagainst the Arizona Diamondbacks. Were not in this situation without Buster.Thats how valuable he is to us with the year hes had and being a catcher andhandling the staff and hitting cleanup and all thats thrown at him. Thats notbeing disrespectful to the other guys, but hes my guy. Sure, thats how Ifeel.Posey had an impressive first half en route to an All-Star Game start, thenturned into a different hitter after the Midsummer Classic. Since going 0-for-2with a walk and a run scored in Kansas City, Posey has hit a majorleague-leading .384 with 20 doubles, 13 home runs, 56 RBIs and 39 runs. He isin a race with Pittsburghs Andrew McCutchen for the National League battingtitle and is one RBI away from becoming the first Giant since Barry Bonds in2004 to reach the century club.Hes had an incredible season, especially when you look at what he wentthrough, the long road he had to go down on his rehab, Bochy said. And nowhes looking at getting 100 RBIs.Posey has also played in 141 games, which includes 106 starts at catcher, 27 atfirst base and three as Bochys designated hitter. Those numbers are on thehigh end for any regular catcher, let alone one coming off major surgery.The day off he had a couple days ago, that was his firstday off in 27, 28 games, Bochy said. Its a credit to how well he takes careof himself, how hard he worked on his rehab, our training staff, how hard theyworked with him. It also shows you what an incredible talent that Buster is tomiss all that time and come back this year and put together the season that hehas.For Bochy, Poseys contributions range far beyond the box score.Hes got a calmness about him. Hes not afraid to talk tosomebody if its time to talk to him. And he leads by example. He comes outhere every day ready to go. His preparation before the game, whether itsworking out or studying getting ready for the game.Insider Andrew Baggarly reported Wednesday morning that Melky Cabrera, servingthe tail end of his 50-game suspension for failing a drug test, would not be inthe Giants postseason plans. Bochy would not confirm that the decision hasbeen made yet, but he did offer some clarification on the timeframe for anannouncement.
NEWS: Melky to be left off Giants' playoff roster
Well have something tomorrow, Bochy said. Like I saidyesterday, before we hit the road here, well hopefully get this cleared up andfigure out exactly what were going to do.While Bochy will likely be the one to announce the decision,that doesnt mean hes heavily involved in the debate.Melky, his agent, Im sure they're involved, Bochy said. Imnot in those discussions personally. My focus has been out here. They want toget something done here pretty soon.It would make sense for the Giants to wait until Bochys postgame pressconference Thursday, which would give reporters the least amount of time topepper him with Cabrera-related questions. I know its getting close here and there are different waysto look at this, Bochy said. We have to think about whats best for the club.Guys that are ready and have been playing, things like that. That comes intoit. Whether he could be ready. All these things are being talked about now.Cabrera wouldnt even be eligible to return to the Giants until after theyveplayed five playoff games. That gives Bochy even more time to postpone adecision.Right now, were going to the playoffs, Bochy said. Weregoing to the first round so hes not a part of that. Thats why its kind ofbeen on the back burner, to be honest, for me.The Giants media notes list Sundays starter in San Diegoas TBA. The series finale against the Padres would normally be Tim Lincecumsturn to pitch, but the Giants are likely hoping to give him and the otherstarters some extra rest while also aligning their rotation for the playoffs.Bochy said theres still a chance that Lincecum could pitchSunday, but strongly hinted that wouldnt be the case.Theres a chance Lincecum pitches, Bochy said. Weregoing to leave that open in case we want to tweak the rotation. Thats the luxuryyou have when you clinch early. We havent set that yet and if we want to moveit around, then we have the pitching here that we can do it.Yusmeiro Petit started in place of Lincecum last Sunday, the day after theGiants clinched the division title, and seems to be the most likely candidatefor a spot start again Sunday.Bochy said he was impressed with Petits Giants debut andthat hes being considered for the Sunday start in San Diego."Hes already started one and he did a good job," Bochysaid. "Its nice to have a starter here that you can put in there and give yousome innings and you dont have to chew up your bullpen."

Tough luck: Rich Hill throws nine no-hit innings, loses on walk-off HR in 10th

richhill01-ap.jpg
AP

Tough luck: Rich Hill throws nine no-hit innings, loses on walk-off HR in 10th

BOX SCORE

PITTSBURGH -- Dodgers lefty Rich Hill lost his perfect game on an error in the ninth inning, then lost his no-hitter on a leadoff home run in the 10th by Josh Harrison that sent the Pittsburgh Pirates over Los Angeles 1-0 Wednesday night.

Hill became the first pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 1995 to take a no-hit try into extra innings.

The Pirates didn't have a runner until Jordy Mercer led off the ninth with a sharp grounder that smacked off third baseman Logan Forsythe's glove for an error. Hill retired the next three batters.

Hill (9-5) came back out for the 10th and Harrison sent his 99th pitch of the night into the first row of seats in left field, just out of the reach of Los Angeles leftfielder Curtis Granderson. Hill struck out 10 without a walk.

Juan Nicasio (2-5) picked up the win after working the top of the 10th.

After Mercer reached in the ninth, Hill quickly retired the next three batters. Chris Stewart laid down a sacrifice bunt, Jose Osuna grounded out to Forsythe and when shortstop Corey Seager gobbled up a grounder by Starling Marte, Hill held the Pirates hitless for nine innings.

But to get official credit for a no-hitter under Major League Baseball rules, a pitcher must complete the game - going nine innings isn't enough if it goes into extras. Back in 1959, a Pirates pitcher had perhaps the most famous near-miss of all when Harvey Haddix lost his perfect game and the game itself in the 13th at Milwaukee.

In what's been a charmed season for the Dodgers, a 37-year-old journeyman received an ovation from the Pirates crowd at PNC Park as he walked off the mound after the ninth. A large mass of fans clad in Dodger blue sitting behind the Los Angeles dugout rose to its feet after taking in the latest remarkable night in a season full of them for the team chasing the best regular season record in major-league history.

Rather than go to the best bullpen in the majors, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts sent Hill back out to see if he could keep the no-hitter going.

The appearance of his No. 44 jersey sent a jolt through the crowd of 19,859. It also proved to be one inning too many.

One batter, in fact. Hill could only watch the ball sail over the fence and, without expression, walked to the dugout.

"We knew we had a chance to win with one hit," Harrison said later.

Harrison broke up a no-hit bid by Detroit's Justin Verlander with two outs in the ninth in 2012. That game ended in a Pittsburgh loss. This one ended with Harrison sprinting toward a mob of teammates at home plate while Hill left as the losing pitcher following the best game of his career.

Hill raced through eight innings thanks in part to impeccable control and some spectacular defense behind him, most notably a diving grab by second baseman Chase Utley on a liner by Josh Bell leading off the eighth.

Bell was ruled safe on a close play at first in the second inning, but the call was overturned when replay showed Hill tagged him just before his foot hit the bag. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez also made a sliding grab on a bunt attempt by Harrison in the fourth but otherwise, Hill was in firm command.

Hill had come close to perfection in the past. Last Sept. 10, he retired all 21 batters at Miami before Roberts pulled him after seven innings and 89 pitches because of a recurrence of blisters on his pitching hand. He also was dealing with a groin injury.

In December, Hill re-signed as a free agent with the Dodgers, getting a three-year deal worth $48 million. The contract was quite a reward for a former journeyman who, as recently as 2015, was pitching for the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League.

Hill began this night with a 47-32 record in a career that began in 2005 and took him from the Chicago Cubs to Baltimore, then to Boston, Cleveland, the Angels, the Yankees, Oakland and the Dodgers. Hill has overcome serious injuries during his career, including a torn labrum in 2009 and elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2011.

Trevor Williams matched Hill out for out, if not pitch for pitch. The Pirates rookie kept Los Angeles off the board for eight innings, letting Hill to line out in the fourth to leave the bases loaded in the fourth, using a pair of double plays in the fifth and sixth and getting Forsythe to line out after a nine-pitch at bat with two on and two outs in the eighth.

The Pirates have been no-hit nine teams in team history. For nine innings it looked like they were on their way to a 10th. One swing from Harrison changed all that.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (lower back strain) will make a rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday. Roberts said the team considered having Kershaw return directly to the majors on Saturday but decided to exercise caution with such a large lead in the division. ... RHP Yu Darvish (lower back tightness) will be activated off the disabled list on Sunday and start against Milwaukee.

Pirates: Trainer Todd Tomczyk is "optimistic" RF Gregory Polanco will return from a strained left hamstring before the end of the season. Polanco is currently on the 10-day disabled list for a third time this season because of hamstring trouble. ... C Francisco Cervelli (left wrist inflammation) is eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday and could return to the lineup.

UP NEXT:
Dodgers: Hyun-Jin Riu (4-6, 3.45 ERA) is undefeated in his last eight starts, going 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA since June 17.

Pirates: Chad Kuhl (6-8, 4.52) will try to bounce back from his worst start of the season on Thursday. Kuhl gave up eight runs in three-plus innings last week against St. Louis.

Two events in Wednesday's win show change in Jarrett Parker's luck

Two events in Wednesday's win show change in Jarrett Parker's luck

SAN FRANCISCO -- There have been more than 6,500 doubles hit in the big leagues this season. Only 55 have had an exit velocity of less than 62 mph. Only five of those 55 came with the go-ahead run on base.

So, it was a somewhat rare event when Jarrett Parker checked his swing, accidentally made contact, and drove in the go-ahead run with a two-run double. On a related note, Parker didn't care.

He's not one for luck or karma. He's also not a big student of exit velocity. Asked if he wanted to know how hard his double was hit, Parker shook his head.

"Nope," he said. "Don't care."

The rest of the team didn't, either. The Giants figure they're owed a few more in this down year, and nobody cared how the winning run came across in a 4-2 victory over the Brewers.

"You hear good things happen when you put the ball in play, and he did," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a break for us and we'll take it. It went our way there with that check-swing, which you'll take. We've had some tough breaks."

For a moment after the series clinching win, Parker thought he had suffered another bad one. He felt something grab in his right arm as he went up for the celebratory jump with the rest of the outfield, and he said he was thinking about it as he jogged off the field. Parker missed 96 games earlier this year after fracturing his clavicle. That delayed what appears to be a bit of a breakout. Parker said his arm felt fine once he got back to the clubhouse. 

"I was worried about it at first but I shook it off," he said. "It was just a cramp."

That was a relief for Parker, and it kept the good vibes going. After the way Parker's season started, he certainly is owed a bit more in that department.