Bumgarner, Stewart propel Giants past Rockies 9-1

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Bumgarner, Stewart propel Giants past Rockies 9-1

Sept. 16, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
DENVER (AP) -- A late-season surge by Madison Bumgarner is helping to fuel the San Franciso Giants' last-ditch playoff push.Bumgarner allowed one unearned run in seven strong innings and hit a two-run double, leading the Giants past the Colorado Rockies 9-1 on Friday night for their sixth straight win.Brandon Belt, Cody Ross and Chris Stewart all homered for the Giants, who closed within six games of NL West leading Arizona with 11 games remaining. The defending World Series champions also gained ground in the NL wild card race, getting within five games of the Atlanta Braves."We've got to win every game and hope that they don't to have a chance, but everybody is playing relaxed right now," said Bumgarner. "We've got a good vibe in the dugout and a lot of the pressure that seemed to be on everybody is gone."
URBAN: Without Pressure, Giants are flourishing
Added Giants manager Bruce Bochy: "I've been saying this for the last week - we're hanging by a thread. But we're still alive. We're coming out every day trying to win ball games and hopefully get some help."There was one glitch on this otherwise hopeful night for the Giants.Ross, whose fifth-inning solo shot was the 100th homer of his career, left the game with a strained right hamstring in the sixth. He suffered the injury while running to first base after hitting an RBI single.Bochy said after the game that the team expected Ross to miss about a week but remained hopeful he could return for final week of the season."I'm optimistic that it's not as bad right now as I thought, but it is going to take some time," Ross said. "I want to come back as fast as I can and I'll do anything I can to speed it up."
RELATED: Ross exits Giants game early with leg injury
Bumgarner (12-12) allowed six hits in winning his career-best fifth straight. He dropped his ERA in that span to 1.04."This kid is just getting better and better," Bochy said. "He's been on a good roll, really hitting his spots with all his pitches. He's got to feel good about how it's gone for him, especially with the rough start that he had."Alex White (2-2) gave up six runs on nine hits in 5 2-3 innings. White, who has struggled to keep the opposition in the ballpark, gave up two of the Giants' three homers. He has allowed 11 home runs and has an ERA of 8.46 in five starts since coming to the Rockies as a key part of the trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland."It's frustrating," White said. "It's time for this not to happen. There's nothing to do but keep working."Belt gave the Giants a 2-0 lead in the fourth when he connected for his second homer in as many days. He drove White's first pitch over the center field fence following Aubrey Huff's one-out single.The Giants went up 3-0 in the fifth when Ross drove an 0-1 offering from White into the Rockies' bullpen behind the right-centerfield fence for his 14th of the season.Colorado got on the board in the fifth when third baseman Pablo Sandoval bobbled Dexter Fowler's grounder for an error, allowing Willin Rosario to score from third base.But the Giants broke the game open with a three-run sixth, with all the runs coming with two outs.Brandon Crawford began the rally by drawing a walk. White hit Chris Stewart with a pitch and Bumgarner then doubled off the centerfield wall, scoring Crawford and Stewart.Ross lined a base hit to left, scoring Bumgarner, but began limping noticably as he ran to first base. The team said Ross strained his right hamstring, and was replaced by pinch runner Andres Torres.With Aaron Cook making his first relief appearance in eight years in the seventh, the Giants added three more runs on Stewart's two-run homer and Crawford's RBI single.Notes: Cook had made 184 consecutive starts for the Rockies since his last relief appearance on Sept. 27, 2003. ... Rookie left-hander Eric Surkamp will be going for his third victory in four outings when he starts for the Giants on Saturday against Rockies. It will be Surkamp's first appearance against the Rockies. He'll be opposed by fellow rookie Drew Pomeranz, a winner in his major league debut for Colorado last time out. ... INF Hector Gomez joined the Rockies on Friday after being recalled from the team's Double-A affiliate in Tulsa, where he hit .235 with 14 home runs and 50 RBIs. ... The Giants' winning streak is the longest since a seven-game run from June 22-28.

After Giants' first Coors Field sweep in 15 years, Bochy preaches urgency

After Giants' first Coors Field sweep in 15 years, Bochy preaches urgency

DENVER — Bruce Bochy watched the first two games of this road trip from his home in San Diego and the final three from the top step of the dugout at Coors Field. He did not like what he saw, but at the moment he’s more concerned with what he might hear. 

“What you have to careful of — you can’t let any kind of complacency set in and say, ‘It’s early, we’ll be ok.’ I don’t want to hear that either,” Bochy said. “It’s the old adage that you come out with some sense of urgency. All these games are important. You’ve got to stay away from that attitude, too: ‘We’re not through April yet and have 140-something games left.’ That doesn’t work out.”

Three weeks into the season, nothing is working. The rotation has a 5.02 ERA, the worst in the Majors. The lineup scored 10 runs over a five-game road trip and got shut out twice. The bullpen hasn’t been given many leads with which to make up for the first-week trouble. The defense has been uncharacteristically sloppy. 

It has added up to a 6-13 start, tied for the worst in club history. The Giants have lost six of seven and they’ll head home seven games out of first place. 

“Right now there’s nothing clicking,” Bochy said. “Let’s be honest, this has been a rough start and we’re not very good right now. I’m not saying we’re not very good. We are good, but we’ve got to find a way to come out of this. This was a tough way to end this series. We’ve been through it. I’ve got men out there and that’s when you find a way to get through this. They will.”

Perhaps Monday will bring some fresh blood for the roster. Drew Stubbs appears poised to give the Giants another veteran option should they cut bait with a struggling outfielder. Michael Morse could be an option in left field soon, and if he’s mostly relegated to first, the Giants can put Brandon Belt in the outfield. He looked fine there Sunday while playing both corner spots. 

Those are moves made around the edges of the roster, though. There is no magic bullet coming from the outside, not even Christian Arroyo, who continues to mash at Triple-A. This is a $200 million roster and much of that has been spent on the rotation. Through 13 games, it is the worst in the National League, and the ace was lost to an off-field accident. Sure, the starters have pitched at Chase Field and Coors Field, but on back-to-back days they were dominated by Rockies rookies who make a living here. 

Samardzija could not keep pace with left-hander Kyle Freeland, who sawed off a handful of bats while cruising through seven. Samardzjiza gave up a run early, two more in the fourth on a hanging splitter that was blasted to right, and five in the sixth.

Bochy challenged his starting staff to improve after Saturday’s game. He has not publicly done the same with the lineup, but subtle changes have been made here and there. It is a group that, outside of a couple of players, has lacked energy. Because they don’t hit for power, the Giants are reliant on stringing together rallies. For the fourth time in seven games, the lineup failed to put a runner on base the first time through the order. 

“Even in spring training we had our games where we had trouble getting something going early,” Bochy said. “It’s the fourth or fifth before a hit. Somehow, we’ve got to change that.”

The Giants played Sunday without Jarrett Parker (clavicle) and Denard Span (right shoulder sprain), but for the most part the lineup is healthy. Bochy said he has talked to hitting coach Hensley Meulens about possibly altering pre-game routines, but that seems a cosmetic fix. 

“We’ve talked and we’ve shaken up the lineup, but as you saw today, there’s only so much you can do,” he said. 

Bochy knows there is outside noise regarding the roster. His eyes bulged the other day when asked if Arroyo would get a call-up next week. The Giants do not feel he is quite ready, or that there is a spot for him on the infield. For all the potential bench options waiting at Triple-A, this team's core is set, and it’s not outrageously banged-up compared to the rest of the division. 

The Dodgers, who come into town Monday, have 10 players on the disabled list, including No. 2 starter Rich Hill, second baseman Logan Forsythe, and left fielder Andre Ethier. The Rockies, the best team in the NL West thus far, are off to this start without big offseason acquisition Ian Desmond and young slugger David Dahl. Jon Gray, their opening day starter, went on the DL after facing the Giants in San Francisco. Chad Bettis, a rotation member, is getting treatment for testicular cancer. 

This division is better than expected, and as the end of April approaches, the Giants are bringing up the rear. Bochy’s plea for urgency was one that would have fit right in with last season’s second half. Back then, the Giants could at least lean on a huge start that got them into the postseason. As they flew home Sunday, there was nothing to fall back on but a simple truth.

This is the team. It must play better.

“We have everything we need in this room,” Samardzija said. “Sometimes you need to go out on the field and prove it.”

 

Instant Replay: Giants' struggles continue in sweep from Rockies

Instant Replay: Giants' struggles continue in sweep from Rockies

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DENVER — Bruce Bochy spent about 10 minutes before Sunday’s game talking about potential options in left field and center. The problems for this lineup, however, currently go much deeper than the outfield. 

A day after the Giants managed just four hits off Antonio Senzatela, the bats went completely limp against fellow Rockies rookie Kyle Freeland. The Giants were shut out 8-0, a rarity at Coors Field. They were blanked twice on the road trip and scored just 10 runs during a five-game swing through Kansas City and Denver. 

The sweep at Coors Field was the Giants' first since 2002. At 6-13, they have the worst record in the National League.

For the fourth time in seven games, and third time on this five-game road trip, the Giants went one time through the order without a baserunner. That puts added pressure on your starter, and Jeff Samardzija couldn’t keep it close. Charlie Blackmon hit a leadoff liner to right that was misplayed into a triple and he scored on a sacrifice fly. Gerardo Parra got a spinner down in the zone in the fourth and blasted a two-run shot to right. 

As they did Saturday night, the Rockies pulled away with a huge rally. Nolan Arenado’s infield single and a walk of Carlos Gonzalez set the table in the sixth. Gerardo Parra lined a single to center and all runners advanced when Gorkys Hernandez kicked it. Trevor Story’s single to right was bobbled by Hunter Pence and two more scored. Blackmon’s double made it 8-0.

Starting pitching report: Samardzija was charged with seven earned in 5 1/3 innings. He has a 7.40 ERA through four starts. The starting staff has a 5.02 ERA, the worst in the majors. That won’t play, not when you’ve spent most of your resources the last two years on starters. 

Bullpen report: Hunter Strickland's Mullet had a scoreless debut. 

At the plate: Nope. 

In the field: Brandon Belt’s first start in left this season was rather uneventful. He caught a liner right at him in the first and came up inches short on a diving attempt in foul territory. Belt moved to right in the seventh inning. He had one previous inning there in the big leagues but he actually prefers right because it’s the same angle as his normal position. Belt gloved a liner right at him in the eighth. 

Attendance: The Rockies announced a crowd of 42,011 human beings and one donkey, who was a menace. 

Up next: The first look at the Dodgers. The Giants will see Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and likely Julio Urias in the four-game series.