Bumgarner has Giants fans spoiled

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Bumgarner has Giants fans spoiled

SAN FRANCISCO Madison Bumgarner has spoiled us all.Bumgarner, who is still just 23, has been so good so far inhis young career that sometimes he makes you forget just how difficult it is topitch in the major leagues.Sometimes, you forget how easily a game can be ruined, how onesmall lapse can be all it takes. When you see what happened on a day likeSaturday, it actually makes you appreciate even more what Bumgarner did in hisprevious start, when he shut out the Dodgers over eight innings of sheerbrilliance.But he wasnt thinking about that in the wake of the Giants7-3 loss to the Braves. He had the sour look of a guy who just failed histeammates, even though, by an objective standard, he still wasnt that bad, andhe left with his team still in the game.I just got out of whack mentally and mechanically, andwasnt able to get it back, Bumgarner said.He was referring to the third inning. Opposing pitcher MikeMinor with a .024 batting average, one hit and one walk in 45 plateappearances was in the box to start the inning. Bumgarner walked him. After astrikeout, he walked Martin Prado.Then with the sizzling Jason Heyward at the plate, hisfastball outside wasnt so much outside as, wellOver the middle of the plate, Bumgarner said.And Heyward drilled it over the right-field fence, hisfourth homer in 10 games. Just like that, the Braves had a 3-0 lead.I felt pretty good the first couple innings, then thewheels kind of fell off, Bumgarner said. I was still able to battle throughand get some outs, but you cant pitch that way, not feeling confident in yourstuff, not feeling like you can put the ball where you want, especially againsta team like that.Bumgarner did it again in the seventh, when he grooved afastball to Minor, who ripped it off the right-field wall for a double.I just kind of set it out there on a tee for him,Bumgarner said. It just goes back to not having confidence in your stuff. Ididnt feel like I could put it where I needed to. Its something you have towork through.Truth be told, Bumgarner was a little hard on himself.Manager Bruce Bochy said overall I thought he pitched pretty good. When Bumgarnersfinal line was tallied, hed allowed four runs in six-plus innings, which iscertainly a passable bad start.The Giants still had a shot to win the game even after hewas done, thanks to Gregor Blancos two-run pinch-hit double in the bottom ofthe seventh, which made it 4-3.Only the Giants bullpen We got a little sloppy there inthe eighth and ninth, Bochy said put the game out of reach again, and theysaw their five-game winning streak come to an end.Bumgarners struggles and those of the offense, which hadbeen hitting .299 and scoring more than five runs a game over the previouseight, were rare enough that the Giants could simply shrug their shoulders andblow this one off. The Braves, after all, are no punching bag. They entered theday as leaders in the wild card race, with the exact same record as the Giants.We knew it was going to be hard, Blanco said. We had five straight wins and we wanted it to be six, but this happens and hopefully well start another streak tomorrow.

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

After five seasons with the Giants, outfielder Gregor Blanco has a new home.

The veteran outfielder has agreed to a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to his agent Wilfredo Polidor.

The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

The deal includes a $1 million base salary if Blanco makes the major league roster, according to SB Nation's Chris Cotillo. Blanco has a chance to earn an addition $2.7 million in performance-based incentives and has an opt-out of April 1 in the deal.

Shortly after Polidor made the announcement, Blanco thanked the D'backs on Twitter for the bringing him to the organization.

"Thanks to the @Dbacks for let me part of a dream the same dream I got another ring another championship let's all dream together we can doit," Blanco wrote.

Blanco bounced around from Braves to the Royals from 2008 to 2010, but found a home with the Giants prior to the 2012 season.

Over five seasons with the Giants, Blanco appeared in 649 games. He hit .259/.338/.360 with 244 runs scored, 78 doubles, 24 triples, 19 home runs, 157 RBI and 75 stolen bases.

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Barack Obama pardoned Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey on Tuesday.

McCovey, along with Dodgers Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in July of 1995. The crime came from not reporting income McCovey earned from signing autographs and appearing at sports memorabilia shows. 

McCovey previously pleaded guilty to not listing $70,000 he made from 1988-90, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Through the Giants, McCovey said: "I want to express my sincere gratitude to President Obama not only for this kind gesture on my behalf, but also for his tireless service to all Americans. He will be deeply missed and I wish him all the best in the future."

The 79-year-old McCovey was one of 64 people who received pardons from President Obama Tuesday as his final days in office wind down.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.