Bumgarner benefits from Crawford's all-around effort


Bumgarner benefits from Crawford's all-around effort


SAN FRANCISCO Madison Bumgarner became the firstleft-handed Giants pitcher to win 15 games since Shawn Estes in 2000. TheGiants young southpaw accomplished the feat in Mondays 2-1 win over theColorado Rockies despite mechanics that he described as probably as bad astheyve been all year.Bumgarner labored through six innings, but held the Rockies to one run to helpthe Giants lower their magic number to eight games, with the second-place Dodgersidle Monday.At the tender age of 23, Bumgarner has made a name for himself in the bigleagues thanks to routinely pinpoint control. That wasnt the case Monday.I dont think he was quite as sharp, but he competed reallywell out there, made pitches when he had to, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Hemixed in a few walks, and thats unlike Madison, and he got in a couple jams,but kept his poise out there and made the pitches when he had to. Thats alwaysa great sign. He found a way to win that ballgame for us.Bumgarners assessment?My mechanics were way off compared to when Im usually on and feeling good,Bumgarner said. I dont know if its necessarily one thing but Im going toget a closer look at it the next couple of days and try to figure it out andget back on track.Bumgarner doesnt think hes back on track, despite picking up the qualitystart after he came into Mondays game with a 7.29 ERA and nine walks over hislast four outings. However, he did say that its encouraging to end up with arespectable pitching line without your A-game.It feels better to win a game like that then it does to goout there when youre really sharp and throwing good, Bumgarner said. Itfeels good to know that if you dont have your best stuff, you can still fightyour way through and give us a chance.I was just trying to battle and make pitches and just keepbattling every inning. I was fortunate to make pitches when I needed to and getout of it.Fortunate may be the right word for Bumgarner, consideringhe only put together one 1-2-3 inning and set a new career-high with his fivefree passes. The only reason the Rockies ended up with a 1 in the run columnis because Bumgarner benefited from some spectacular defense, especially fromshortstop Brandon Crawford. First it was Buster Posey helping Bumgarner with agreat throw to nail Dexter Fowler trying to steal second after a leadoff walkto open the game. Crawford then helped Bumgarner through two more scorelessframes, starting an inning-ending double play in the second and completing aspectacular backhanded grab on a ground ball in the hole with a perfect throwacross his body from the edge of the outfield grass in the third. There weretwo runners on at the time and neither would end up scoring.Bumgarner knew he needed to give Posey and Crawford some credit for theircontributions.Thats big; thats a momentum changer, Bumgarner said of Poseys play in thefirst and Crawfords in the third. Theres no telling what could happen ifthey didnt. I was obviously trying to battle and get out of it, but those aretwo big plays.Bochy appears close to starting a door-to-door campaign forCrawfords Gold Glove candidacy.I dont know whos playing better defensively, Bochy said.Hes got the confidence going, a sense of belonging up here. Hes doing agreat job.While Crawford was known for his defensive pedigree in theminor leagues, it didnt carry over at the start of the 2012 season. His Apriland May struggles are long forgotten in the Giants clubhouse, though.Weve known it all along, Bumgarner said of Crawfordsglove-work. He struggled a little bit earlier in the year, but hes got one ofthe best gloves in the game. Hes very athletic and a really good shortstop.Crawford has been carrying his weight on defense for some time now, but hasntcontributed at the plate with regularity. But he came through with a triple anda double on Monday, the first of which was as close to a home run as you canget at AT&T Park and the second of which would have been a triple if ithadnt skipped over the wall out of play.Crawford led off the third inning with a ball that bouncedoff the top of the wall in center and scored the Giants first run on a passedball. Ian Kinsler wore a stunned look on his face when the same thing happenedto him in Game 2 of the 2010 World Series. Crawford said he hadnt seenKinslers hit but planned to after an unnamed teammate told him about it. Inhis next at-bat, Crawford led off the fifth with a double that wouldve been ahome run in most parks.Both of them off the bat Ithought might be out, Crawford said. But you never know here. Got about asclose as you can without hitting a home run.Once again the Giants won a game without hitting a home run. With the win, SanFrancisco is now an even 42-42 when held homer-less. The Giants are 42-21 whenthey go deep. More importantly, the Giants have now won 29 one-run games, themost in Major League Baseball. Its what you talk about, you hope for in spring training and here we are,Bochy said. These are very exciting games. Of course you can feel it from thecrowd. But we have baseball left and you have to come out here every day and beon your toes.The Giants now have a season-high eight-game lead over the Dodgers in thedivision. But Bochy isnt comfortable with his advantage yet.Youd like to hopefully keep that margin for error and comeout here and go hard every day, Bochy said. All these games are important.Were not taking anything for granted. We have work ahead of us playing goodtimes and thats how you have to approach it. You dont watch what the otherclubs are doing, just focus on what you need to do and thats go out there andplay good ball and play hard.

Cubs come alive behind Schwarber, Arrieta; World Series tied 1-1


Cubs come alive behind Schwarber, Arrieta; World Series tied 1-1


CLEVELAND -- Jake Arrieta made a teasing run at history, Kyle Schwarber drove in two runs and the Chicago Cubs brushed off a shutout to even the World Series with their first Fall Classic win in 71 years, 5-1 over the Cleveland Indians in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Arrieta carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, briefly invoking Don Larsen's name, before the Indians touched him for two hits and a run. However, the right-hander helped give Chicago just what it needed - a split at Progressive Field - before the Cubbies return to their Wrigley Field den for the next three games starting Friday night.

The Cubs hadn't won in the Series since beating Detroit 8-7 in 1945 to force Game 7.

The free-swinging Schwarber, who made it back for Chicago's long-awaited Series return after missing most of the season with an injured left knee, hit an RBI single in the third off Cleveland's Trevor Bauer and had another in the Cubs' three-run fifth - highlighted by Ben Zobrist's run-scoring triple.

Even the presence of star LeBron James and the NBA champion Cavaliers, sporting their new rings, couldn't stop the Indians from losing for the first time in six home games this postseason.

And Cleveland manager Terry Francona's magical touch in October finally fizzled as he dropped to 9-1 in Series games.

With rain in the forecast, Major League Baseball moved the first pitch up an hour in hopes of avoiding delays or a postponement.

It turned out to be a good call as the game went on without a hitch and ended after more than four hours as light rain was beginning to fall.

Arrieta and the Cubs provided the only storm.

The bearded 30-year-old coasted through five innings without allowing a hit, the first pitcher to get that deep in a Series game with a no-hitter since David Cone of the New York Yankees in 1998.

For a brief period, Arrieta looked as if he might challenge Larsen's gem - a perfect game - in 1956 before Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, a die-hard Cubs fan as a kid, doubled with one out in the sixth.

Before that, Cleveland hitters had a couple good swings, and drew three walks, but couldn't mount a real threat. Arrieta has two career no-hitters, in fact, including the only one in the majors this year.

Cubs lefty Mike Montgomery replaced Arrieta and worked two scoreless innings before Aroldis Chapman came in and unleashed his 103 mph heat while getting the last four outs.

The teams will have an off day before the series resumes with Game 3 at Wrigley, which will host its first Series game since Oct. 6, 1945, when tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave with his pet goat, Murphy, and a curse was born.

Josh Tomlin will start for the Indians, who will lose the designated hitter in the NL ballpark, against Kyle Hendricks.

Schwarber might also wind up on the bench after two days as the DH.

With a gametime temperature of 43, the weather was more fitting for the Browns and Bears to bang heads than the boys of summer.

The Cubs were the ones who came up thumping after being blanked 6-0 in Game 1 by Corey Kluber and Cleveland's shut-down bullpen.

Zobrist's one-out triple triggered the fifth as the Cubs opened a 5-0 lead, not that Arrieta needed it.

After Anthony Rizzo walked following a 10-pitch at-bat, Zobrist laced a ball off Zach McAllister that was going to be a double until right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall slipped and fell. Rizzo was waved around and Zobrist hustled into third.

Schwarber followed with his second RBI and reliever Bryan Shawn later walked No. 9 hitter Addison Russell with the bases loaded.

Unlike his start in Toronto on Oct. 17, when his stitched cut opened up and Bauer was forced to make a bloody departure in the first inning, his finger held up fine.

The Cubs, though, put a few nicks in him in 3 2/3 innings.

The drone accident has brought attention to the quirky Bauer, and one Chicago fan tried to rattle the right-hander by sending a smaller version of the remote-controlled, flying object that cut him.

Bauer posted a photo of it on Twitter, saying "I see the (at)Cubs fans love me! How nice of them to send me a gift!"

The Cubs, who were off balance from the start against Kluber, scored their first run in a Series game since `45 in the first on Rizzo's RBI double.

Bauer needed 51 pitches to get through two innings, and he was one strike from getting out of the third unscathed when Chicago turned a walk and to singles into a 2-0 lead.

Cubs: Hendricks is coming off his brilliant performance in Game 5 of the NLCS when he pitched two-hit ball for seven innings as the Cubs clinched their first pennant in 71 years. The right-hander went 16-8 during the regular season with a league-leading 2.13 ERA.

Indians: It will be an emotional night for Tomlin, who will pitch on 12 day's rest with his ailing father, Jerry, in attendance. The elder Tomlin became stricken with a spinal condition in August, when Tomlin was struggling on the mound. The right-hander more than recovered and rescued Cleveland's rotation in the postseason, winning both starts.

Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League


Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League

After the Giants selected him in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft, catcher Aramis Garcia quickly opened eyes with his power. Garcia totaled 15 home runs between Rookie Ball and Short Season Single-A in only 28 games after the draft. 

The next year, Garcia equaled his 15 long balls and spent the majority of his first full pro season at High Single-A. He also improved overall as a hitter, raising his 2014 slash line of .225/.301/.343 to .264/.342/.431 in 2015. Garcia's promotion to the next rung in the farm system ladder -- the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels -- was derailed by a rough injury. 

He sustained a facial fracture in May while sliding into second base, taking a knee to the face in an attempt to break up a double play. The injury kept him out until the end of July and limited Garcia to 47 games in 2016.

When the chance to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions arose, Garcia jumped at the opportunity. 

"First thing I did was call my parents and let them know," Garcia told MLB.com on Monday. "I was just really excited for getting the opportunity to play against guys who are extremely talented and obviously make up for reps, which are extremely important."

Garcia never did exactly find his rhythm after the injury and finished the season batting .257/.323/.340 with two homers in 41 games. In the first half, the 23-year-old hit .298/.359/.369 compared to a lowly .200/.273/.300 in the second half. 

The catcher known more for his offense than defense is off to a slow start at the plate while facing some of the top prospects in baseball. Through six games, he has gone 3-for-17 at the plate, good for a .176 average. But, Garcia acknowledged he's focusing heavily on his defense in the AFL. 

"I feel like when somebody tries to steal on me, I tend to take it a little bit personally," he said. "It's definitely something I take pride in, something I work on hard every day. There's a little routine I do with receiving and footwork, things like that every day."

Behind the dish, Garcia caught 38 percent of base runners looking to swipe a bag on him last season. Through his three years in the minors, Garcia has erased 34 percent of base stealers and owns a .993 fielding percentage.