Bochy's buzzard swoops down on Giants in Seattle

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Bochy's buzzard swoops down on Giants in Seattle

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE Would it elicit too many groans to say the Giantswent up in Smoak in a 2-1, walk-off loss to the Mariners Sunday afternoon?

Yes, of course it would. And we apologize in advance forthat.

So lets use one of Bruce Bochys favorite clichs, instead.

Buzzards luck, the manager said, leaning back in hischair.

RECAP: Baggs' Instant Replay -- Mariners 2, Giants 1

Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak made the defensive playof the game Sunday, diving to stop Hector Sanchezs hot grounder with two onand two out in the eighth inning. Then Smoak won the game for the Mariners inthe ninth, lacing a single to left field that scored pinch runner MunenoriKawasaki from second base.

The Giants dropped two of three to one of baseballs worstteams. They lost their first road series since May 7-9 at Dodger Stadium. Goodteams dont just take that result and shrug.

Of course, it must be pointed out that left fielder MelkyCabreras laser throw wouldve beaten Kawasaki to the plate by the length ofthree jet skis. It was buzzards luck that the ball hit the runner in the backwhen he was barely two-thirds of the way down the line.

And it was Bochys further misfortune that Smoaks defensivesave in the eighth came after the manager pinch ran Justin Christian for BusterPosey, his cleanup hitter and DH for the day.

I didnt think hed get to that ball, and Christians goingto score on that, Bochy said. No question, weve got to run for Busterthere.

Want more from the buzzard? Poseys spot came up with thebases loaded in the ninth inning. Bochy had to pinch-hit Nate Schierholtzinstead, who grounded out on a 3-2 pitch from hard-throwing closer TomWilhelmsen.

Nate, you know, he threw out a pretty good at-bat, Bochysaid. He got it to 3-2 there against a tough pitcher.

The Giants ended up losing on a day that Madison Bumgarneryielded a run on four baserunners in eight innings.

He was really, really good, said Sanchez, the catcher. Hethrew all his pitches down in the zone, especially his cutter. It was down andaway, down and in. Hes pretty amazing.

The Giants offense was less so. Their hitters were 1 for 8with runners in scoring position and stranded 12. They couldnt make their ownluck after the first inning against Felix Hernandez, who still has Cy Youngstuff even if his 3.70 ERA didnt inspire the same fears.

But Smoak snuffed out Sanchezs grounder in the eighth andCabrera, who can grow hits without a watering can, struck out on three pitcheswith the bases loaded in the ninth. Then came Schierholtzs jammed grounder.

The Giants couldnt make their own breaks. In the bottom ofthe ninth, the beleaguered home team finally received one.

We had em at the end, Bochy said. If that ball doesnthit the runner, hes dead. It's just, it's ...

Wait for it ...

"Buzzard's luck."

Giants use big fifth, sixth innings to take down Cubs

Giants use big fifth, sixth innings to take down Cubs

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At Scottsdale, Arizona, Giants starter Matt Cain gave up two runs — one earned — and three hits over two innings.

New Giants closer Mark Melancon tossed a 1-2-3 third inning in his first outing. Cain threw 40 pitches and Justin Ruggiano had an RBI double in a three-run fifth.

Javier Baez went 2 for 3 with an RBI double.

Giants spring training Day 13: Cain goes two; Melancon has perfect debut

Giants spring training Day 13: Cain goes two; Melancon has perfect debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bruce Bochy planned to give most of his pitchers one-inning stints during the first weekend of spring ball, but Matt Cain stretched it out to 40 pitches on Saturday. 

“I’ve had enough days off the past couple of years,” Cain said, smiling.

In his first start of a crucial spring, Cain threw two innings. He was charged with three hits and two runs, just one of them earned. 

“He’s in a good place right now with his arm strength,” Bochy said. “His delivery is consistent. I’m glad he got a lot of work today, to be honest. It’s something he needs as much as anybody on this staff, is work. He’s going to get it.”

Ty Blach, Cain’s biggest competition for the fifth starter spot, gave up four hits and one earned in his two innings. Neither pitcher was hit particularly hard, and both suffered a bit from iffy defense in the early innings of an 8-6 win over the Cubs. 

The inning separating Cain and Blach was notable for other reasons. Mark Melancon made his Giants debut, getting two groundouts and a fly to right in a quick inning. Melancon received a nice ovation, and he noted the opponent — a Cubs team that helped guarantee the Giants would spend big on a closer — but he didn’t put any added importance on the outing. 

“It doesn’t matter what I do out there right now,” he said. 

Melancon’s new teammates might disagree. Spring or not, the Giants certainly enjoyed watching a closer breeze through his inning. Especially against the Cubs. 

“He’s a pro,” Bochy said. “He’s going to be out there working on stuff, his command and pitches. It was good for Buster (Posey) to catch him. It was a good day for him.”

NOTABLE: On his first swing of the spring, Posey threw his bat up against the visiting dugout. It can only go uphill from there … Bryan Morris had a scoreless debut, striking out one … Josh Osich ran into some trouble in the eighth and gave up a pair of runs, but Bochy appreciated the way he fought his way out of the frame … Former Giants prospect Chris Dominguez started for the Cubs at first base. He had a couple of hits ... If you're headed to Goodyear for tomorrow's game, Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, Conor Gillaspie, Jimmy Rollins, Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker, Gorkys Hernandez and Trevor Brown will start behind Matt Moore. Also, if you're headed to Goodyear, I'm sorry. 

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez is limited to DH duty for now because of a sore throwing shoulder. Nuñez said the tightness popped up after some work in the weight room, but he’s not concerned at all. He said he would have played third base if Saturday’s game was a regular season contest. The Giants expect him in the field sometime next week. 

Nuñez also said it took five weeks after the season ended for his hamstring to get back to 100 percent, so apparently that injury was much worse than it first looked. Nuñez was out on the field before every NLDS game, trying to get clearance to return. He never quite got there. 

Will Smith (elbow) is just a day or two from throwing off flat ground, Bochy said. 

CUETO UPDATE: The Giants had hoped to have Johnny Cueto in camp this weekend, but he remains in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. Cueto is waiting for a visa for his ill father, Domingo, who will travel to Scottsdale with Johnny. 

LIGHTER SIDE: Brandon Crawford spent a couple of minutes learning some of Jeff Samardzija’s mound moves. The impersonation is pretty solid.