Braun takes NL MVP honors, Giants get three votes


Braun takes NL MVP honors, Giants get three votes

Ryan Braun won the National League MVP Tuesday, becoming the first Brewer to do so in 22 years. Braun garnered 20 of 32 first-place votes for 388 total points, besting the Dodgers' Matt Kemp and his 10 first-place votes and 332 points rather handily.

Kemp turned in a MVP-caliber season with 39 home runs, 126 RBI, 40 stolen bases and a .324 average. In comparison, Braun knocked out 33 home runs, had 111 RBI, stole 33 bags and batted at a .332 clip. Though his typical numbers were inferior to Kemp's, Braun got the votes to take the award away from the NL West.

Of the 26 NL players who received votes, eight call the NL West home, including the Dodgers' Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, the Diamondbacks' Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy and Miguel Montero, the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki, as well as the Giants' Pablo Sandoval and Carlos Beltran.

The Giants' Sandoval received one seventh-place vote and one eighth-place vote. Beltran, for his split-season between the Mets and Giants, received one eighth-place vote.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 6-4 win over Cubs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 6-4 win over Cubs


CHICAGO — This time, the comeback would not be completed. 

The Giants nearly gave away a six-run lead in their first game against the Cubs since the NLDS collapse, but they held on for a 6-4 win. Ty Blach was strong into the eighth, Joe Panik had a monster night, and Mark Melancon closed it out. The Giants are 3-1 on the road trip and have won eight of 10 overall. 

Here are five things to know from the first night back at Wrigley … 

--- Manager Bruce Bochy had to have a sick and familiar feeling in his stomach as he walked out to the mound for the third pitching change of the eighth. Hunter Strickland fell behind with two on, but he got Willson Contreras to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

---  Blach’s career numbers against the Cubs, including the postseason: 10 1/3 innings, 3 earned runs. The two relief appearances last October helped convince the staff he could make the transition. Turns out he’s pretty good against them as a starter, too. 

--- A perfect example of why Blach is so successful despite not having blow-you-away stuff came in the sixth. Albert Almora blooped a single to right and Blach alertly followed him to first, which had been vacated by Brandon Belt. Almora never imagined anyone was covering first, and when Justin Ruggiano threw behind the runner, Blach was there to catch the ball and fire it down to second to nab Almora, who had gone halfway. 

--- The Giants entered the night with a .351 slugging percentage, last in the Majors. John Lackey came in allowing opponents to slug .487, ninth-worst in the National League. Sometimes it’s all just too neat. The Giants had two homers and three doubles in five innings off Lackey. 

--- All three Giants homers were solo shots. That’s 18 solos in a row, three shy of the MLB record, held by the 2011 Giants.

Latest injury to Span has outfielder out of lineup again, in uncomfortable state

Latest injury to Span has outfielder out of lineup again, in uncomfortable state

CHICAGO -- Denard Span's first week off the DL showed what a game-changer he can be when healthy. Unfortunately for the Giants, he's no longer healthy. 

Span is out of the lineup Monday with a left thumb sprain and he's unlikely to be available Tuesday. Span has felt the discomfort for about a week and it got worse Sunday against the Cardinals.

"Yesterday was not fun. I got jammed the second at-bat and fouled a ball off and the rest of the game was bad," Span said, adding that hitting coach Hensley Meulens showed him video of his thumb instinctively coming off the bat during his later swings.

Span said his palm is swollen right near the thumb, and he was wearing a wrap on the area Monday. He is 13-for-43 with two homers and six RBI since coming off the DL, helping with the turnaround. Prior to the last homestand, Span missed 17 games with a shoulder injury.