Cabrera amazes, outhits his Giants teammates in pivotal win


Cabrera amazes, outhits his Giants teammates in pivotal win

MIAMI Melky Cabrera keeps two special baseballs on a shelfin his locker, home and away.

They are not souvenirs from a milestone night. They arenteven game-used. Both of them bear inscriptions in black ink: SALMO 23 andSALMO 91.

You might know them better as this:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.


I will say of the Lord, He is myrefuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.

Youre more likely to find Cabrera reading hisBible than trying to pie a reporter in the face. Two months into his career with the Giants, Cabrerasteammates are still learning his likes and dislikes. Theyre getting littlewindows into his personality through snippets of conversations and littleflashes of body language on the field.

But by now, they understand the essence. And they certainlyunderstand his impact.

Cabrera scored all three runs and outhit the rest of histeammates 4 to 3 in the Giants 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Sunday a complete effort that made the difference between a winning road trip and alosing one. His homer put them ahead. He stole two bases, too, and shook off a swollen lip after he slidface-first into Omar Infantes glove at second base.

RECAP: Baggs' Instant Replay -- Giants 3, Marlins 2

He leads baseball with 73 hits, and thats not eventhe most impressive part. He has the most hits by a Giant through May for whichday-by-day data is available, beginning in 1920.

More accurately, he has the second most hits by a Giantthrough 48 games in the clubs San Francisco era. Heres the list, courtesy ofDave Feldman:

Willie Mays, 84, 1958
Melky Cabrera, 73, 2012
Orlando Cabrera, 68, 1962
Jeffrey Leonard, 68, 1987

Yep. Its Melky, the Baby Bull, the Hac-Man and the greatestliving ballplayer. That is a good list to crack.

It almost left Cabrera speechless to hear his name linkedwith Mays.

Really happy, said Cabrera, through the translation skillsof Sergio Romo. I didnt know I was up there. Im really happy to be mentionedin the same sentence as Willie Mays.

His teammates were almost as speechless to describe what Cabrerais doing.

Ridiculous, Matt Cain said.

Unbelievable, Angel Pagan said.

Amazing, Romo said.

A joke, Gregor Blanco said. He's hitting line drive, linedrive, line drive. It's amazing."

And Bruce Bochy: Wow.

Full pause.

EXTRA BAGGS: Giants play matador, fluffy schedule ahead, etc.

Its hard to describe the job hes done for us.

What does Cabrera think of all these compliments?

We have good teammates around here, he said, through Romo.Im comfortable. Were one unit here. It makes me feel good they talk about methat way and I feel the same.

Cabrera has 46 hits while hitting .426 in May. Hes got three games remainingto collect five more, which would match Randy Winn for the most hits in any month inthe Giants San Francisco era. Of course, Winn turned that huge September of 2005 into athree-year extension worth more than 27 million. And Cabrera will be a free agentafter this season.

But there is no indication that Cabreras quietly dedicatedpush is about cashing in.

He fits. He blends. He meshes well, Romo said. Hes got afresh, young, aggressive approach. Its impressive. It really is. Hes 4 for 4 and its real! Its not just one day. Hesbeen doing it the whole year. Melky thats whats up! Hes a beast. He reallyis.

Maybe its an example of how overshadowed hes been hiswhole career. Hes just good.

Said Cain: Hes on fire and were loving it.

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

SAN FRANCISCO — With the winning run on second and a bat in his hands, Cory Gearrin allowed himself to dream. He was a second baseman at Mercer University years ago and he entered the night with a 1.000 batting average in the big leagues. Why couldn’t this be his night on the mound and at the plate?

Gearrin stopped on the way to the plate and told Buster Posey that he was going to walk it off. He dug in against right-hander Chad Qualls and waited for the first sinker. He swung over the top of it, but he felt it was a quality hack. And then he missed the next sinker, and then the next. 

“I felt good going into that at-bat,” Gearrin said. “It was fun getting that opportunity. I’ve never faced a sinker like that. I felt like I missed it … by a lot.”

Gearrin can take solace in two facts. First, using his own sinker, he pitched three shutout innings, more than earning his keep, and he was a well-deserved winning pitcher in a 4-3 win over the Rockies that became official one minute after midnight.

Second, perhaps he gave the next hitter, Denard Span, a better view of an opposing pitcher’s repertoire. 

“Yeah ... he gave me a lot of information during that at-bat,” Span said as he laughed. 

Okay, so maybe Gearrin’s contributions were limited to the mound, but oh what a job he did against one of the best lineups in the National League. Span didn’t glean anything from Gearrin’s brief battle, but he didn’t need to. He spat on a changeup and then ripped a sinker into right, allowing Gorkys Hernandez to race home for a 14th-inning victory. 

Span, who is open about his distrust of birds, had spent nearly two hours standing under a circling flock of seagulls. Between pitches, he often dropped his hands onto his knees, looking more eager than anyone for the night to end. 

“Those birds were dropping stuff all around me,” he said. “I was like, you know what man, I don’t got time for this.”

The single gave the Giants back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. It validated so much good work, from the five relievers who got the ball to Gearrin, to the Brandons who turned a snazzy double play in the 11th, to Buster Posey, who twice threw out runners at second in extra innings. Gearrin shouted out the defense in his post game media session. 

“It’s not news to us that we’ve got gold glovers all over the field,” he said. 

The Giants trailed by a pair after Matt Cain hung a curveball to Mark Reynolds, but they chipped away. The Rockies were the jumpier team in extra innings, but every rally was cut down by stellar defense and quality pitches. Gearrin threw 34 of them. 

The veteran right-hander had never before recorded more than six outs in a big league game. He got nine outs Tuesday, giving Bochy one extension after another as he battled to make it through a game shorthanded. With Conor Gillaspie headed to the DL, the Giants had just three position players on the bench. That meant Ty Blach was used as a pinch-runner. Jeff Samardzija pinch-hit in the 11th. Bochy thought of using Matt Moore in the 14th when the pitcher’s spot came up. Hunter Strickland was warming up to pitch the 15th, but …

“I could have hit Moore — I probably should have,” Bochy said, smiling. “But Cory is a pretty good athlete and had a pretty good average going into that at-bat. The numbers swayed me.”

Gearrin got his first career at-bat last season and singled. He has not even taken batting practice since that day, but he was fired up when given the opportunity. He was still so fired up after the Giants chased Span into the outfield that he didn’t mind the fact that his shiny 1.000 batting average has been cut in half. 

“I got to use that line for a year,” he said. “But I’ll gladly sacrifice the 1.000 average for a walk-off win.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies


SAN FRANCISCO — This, at long last, is a winning streak. A modest one, but still. 

Denard Span hit a walk-off single to right in the bottom of the 14th inning, giving the Giants a 4-3 win that became official one minute after midnight. The Giants have back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. 

The Giants led early, fell behind on a three-run dinger, and then chipped away until the game went to extras. Buster Posey twice gunned runners down at second to help keep the score tied and the bullpen held tough, with Cory Gearrin throwing three scoreless innings. 

Gearrin had a chance to win it for himself in the 14th, but he struck out with Gorkys Hernandez on second. Span promptly singled. If you’re just waking up for work, here are five things to know from a night when the seagulls outnumbered the humans … 

--- Matt Cain needs an assist on the first run of the night. With Gorkys Hernandez on first, he got a sacrifice bunt down on a two-strike curveball that was headed for the dirt. Hernandez went to second and promptly scored on Denard Span’s single to right. The curveball wasn’t so kind in the sixth. With a runner on, the Giants intentionally walked lifelong nemesis Nolan Arenado to get to Mark Reynolds. Cain hung a curve and Reynolds crushed it to left for a three-run homer. 

--- The Giants got a run back in the sixth when Brandon Crawford’s deep fly allowed Buster Posey to trot in from third. Crawford leads the majors with nine sacrifice flies. He also turned a ridiculous double play that can’t adequately be described, except to say that he should expand his trophy case. 

--- Kelby Tomlinson came off the bench to tie it in the bottom of the eighth. His single to right brought Brandon Belt in from third. Tomlinson is 9 for 27 as a pinch-hitter this season. That’ll keep you on the chartered jets. 

--- Sam Dyson, with a fastball that reached 97 and an infield defense that was just as firm, pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings in extras. What a find. 

--- With the go-ahead run on first and no outs in the 13th, Nolan Arenado put down a sacrifice bunt. That's one of the five best moments of the Giants' season.