Cardinals consider Holliday's slide hard, not dirty

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Cardinals consider Holliday's slide hard, not dirty

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO Its not the Giants vs. the Dodgers, butthis National League Championship matchup includes a history of bad bloodbetween the two teams.Just ask Will Clark, Jose Oquendo and Ozzie Smith. The youngsters can Googlethat threesome for an important history lesson.In Game 2 between the Giants and Cardinals Monday at AT&T Park, MattHolliday took a figurative baton from the recently vanquished Mat Latos tobecome Public Enemy No. 1 in San Francisco. After singling with a man on and one out in the first inning, Holliday hustledfrom first to second to break up a potential double play. Instead of slidingwell in advance of the bag, Holliday hit the ground late and collided withGiants second baseman Marco Scutaro as he tried to complete the relay throw tofirst.In hindsight I wish I had started my slide a step earlier,but you know its happening fast, Holliday said after the Giants beat hisCardinals 7-1 to even up the best-of-seven series.Scutaro was wincing as he detangled himself from Hollidayand immediately received attention from his teammates, head trainer DaveGroeschner and manager Bruce Bochy. After taking some time to walk around theedge of the outfield grass, Scutaro stayed in the game and exacted some revengewith a single in the bottom half of the first. But that was nothing compared to the bullet he sent inHollidays direction that broke the game wide open.After the Giants took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning, they loaded the baseswith two outs and Scutaro at the dish. The 36-year-old midseason acquisitionthat compiled a whopping 88 hits in 61 games as a Giant drove ChrisCarpenters 1-1 sinker into left-centerfield. A clean single that shouldve ledto just two runs ended up clearing the bases when Holliday couldnt comeup with the ball cleanly. Scutaro made matters worse for Holliday when he movedup to second base on the error.Holiday was curt in his explanation of the mistake: Yeah, Ijust missed it.He also acted like he expected Scutaro to come through in the clutch.It doesnt surprise me at all. Hes a great player. Heshad an unbelievable second half and has come up with huge hits for them.Scutaro was replaced by Ryan Theriot to open the sixthinning with what the Giants announced as a left hip injury and was sent for X-rays,leaving Holliday to answer more questions about the play in question.I hope hes OK, Holliday said. I know him. Hes a goodguy and I wasnt obviously trying to do anything other than keep us out of adouble play Every run in the postseason is huge. The only regret I have is Ishould have started my slide a step earlier so that I wouldnt have ended up ontop of him.A remorseful Holliday said he asked Scutaro if he was OK in the immediateaftermath of the collision. He also said he spoke with Giants catcher BusterPosey at home plate before his next at-bat.I just told him to tell Marco that I wish I had started myslide a step earlier and that I wish he was OK, Holliday said. I just wantedhim to know that I wasnt trying to hurt him He told me hed tell him.Hollidays questionable slide was a major talking point inthe Giants clubhouse, but his Cardinals teammates were quick to defend theirstar outfielder.You have to give Matt the benefit of the doubt because hesnot a dirty player, said Lance Berkman, who also acknowledged that his locker neighbor in the visitor's clubhouse was late to slide. He plays hard, but I think hes well respected in the game and Ithink the other side knows that. Said third baseman David Freese: I did not see it and I have yet to see it.Holliday plays hard and thats all I can say.St. Louis second baseman Daniel Descalso offered his perspective as a fellowmiddle-infielder that has been involved in similar situations:As a second baseman, Ive been hit hard many times and itjust comes with the territory. You dont like getting hit. Its not fun to gethit. But if you hang in there on double plays, sometimes youre going to getwhacked. Its just part of the game.Descalso added that he was impressed with Scutaros ability to complete therelay throw, even if it didnt get to Brandon Belt at first in time.A good second baseman is going to hang in there, likeScutaro did. And he did a great job of hanging onto the ball and making a goodthrow to first base. A lot of guys would throw the ball in the dirt and maybe arun scores, which is why you go in hard at second base, especially with a guyon second. If he throws it away, thats a run for us.The idea that a run may have scored if Holliday forced Scutaro to make anerrant throw is what the Cardinals are leaning on to consider the slide a hardbaseball play, not a dirty one.Im not a dirty player, Holliday said. I wish I had startedmy slide a hair earlier, a step earlier, but when youre out there in the heatof the moment, youre trying to make sure he doesnt complete the double play.I play hard and was trying to take a double play. Thats really all it comesdown to. People can say what they want. I hope hes OK.Cardinals manager Mike Matheny stuck to the hard not dirty script.As I watched it live it looked like it was a hard slide. Itdidnt go out of the baseline to get him. We teach our guys to go hard. Playthe game clean, play it hard, not try and hurt anybody. And I hated to see thatit ended up that way. Thats not how we play the game. But we do go hard, butwithin the rules.The unwritten rules of baseball suggest Holliday could be in for a pitch aimed forhis head at some point over the next three games in St. Louis. If they take exception to it we really cant say anything because it was pastthe bag, even though I dont think he had any intention of hurting Scutaro,Berkman said.Cardinals centerfielder Jon Jay said the team isntconcerned with potential retaliation.Im not worried about that. Were just worried about going out there andplaying hard.For Holliday and the Cardinals, the bigger concern is a brand new best-of-fiveseries and a date with Matt Cain in Game 3.Hes a great pitcher; I expect a battle, said Holliday,who is 8-for-40 with three home runs in his career against Cain. Were goingto have to work hard to try and get runners in, just like we do with the restof their staff. They have good pitching, thats why theyre here, and that willbe a challenge for us.

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

SAN FRANCISCO — The momentum generated by Christian Arroyo and Michael Morse late Wednesday night lasted just a few hours. By the end of this four-game series, the Giants were left with a harsh reality: Even with two injections of new blood, they are not hitting. 

Arroyo drove in another run Thursday, but that was it for a lineup that couldn’t support Matt Moore’s effort. The bullpen, which had kept Bruce Bochy’s guys in close games all series, finally broke in the 10th. The Dodgers walked away with a 5-1 win and a split of a series that was rather uninspiring for both sides. 

After scoring 10 runs on the last road trip, the Giants scored just eight during the four games against the Dodgers. Three of those RBI came from Arroyo, called up Monday. A fourth came from Morse, called up Wednesday.

“We’ve got to get this offense going,” Bochy said. “It’s a better offense than what we’re doing right now. You need to find a way to put a few runs on the board. We had our chances, we just couldn’t find ways to get the big hit.”

With Denard Span out for at least another week, Bochy moved Hunter Pence to the top of the lineup. His temporary No. 3 hitter against lefties, Eduardo Nuñez, has one hit in his last 20 at-bats. Buster Posey, the cleanup hitter, is batting .357, but he has driven in just three runs this month. With two on and one out in the eighth, he bounced into a double play. The production closer to the bottom of the order has been nonexistent, leading to constant shuffling that has moved Nuñez and Belt to left at times. Bochy said the staff will continue to search of a lineup that works. 

“You talk about it and do thing to adjust, and it will get better, but right now we’ve got some guys who aren’t swinging the bat well, to be honest,” he said. “You look at the order and we don’t have a lot of guys swinging well.”

The list does not include Arroyo, the rookie who will eventually have to deal with adjustments from pitchers. It doesn’t appear that’ll be a problem. Arroyo has been making adjustments from at-bat to at-bat. He did so against Sergio Romo for his first career homer and said he learned about the depth of Julio Urias’ curveball during their first two battles Thursday. In the sixth, the 21-year-old Arroyo drove in the game-tying run against the 20-year-old Urias. The lefty had walked Posey to face Arroyo, who singled up the middle. 

“He handles himself so well,” Bochy said. “They walked Buster and he smokes the ball. This kid has shown he’s not in awe. The upper deck, the bright lights, he comes to play.”

Arroyo’s effort briefly backed Moore, who was sharp in seven innings. Moore struck out eight, six of them looking, but he didn’t get much help and the bullpen fell apart in the 10th with a series of walks.

Bochy challenged his starters on Saturday at Coors Field and they responded with a strong series back home. The bullpen was tested during the first week but — Thursday’s result aside — it has settled down. The Giants are not as worried about their pitching as they were as they flew back from Denver. They know, however, that this team is going nowhere if two runs per game continues to be the nightly output. 

“We’ll tweak it again,” Bochy said of his lineup. “We'll see if we can get this thing right.”

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Quietly over the past couple of weeks, Bruce Bochy’s bullpen had started to settle. Bochy praised the group before Thursday’s game, noting that roles were being defined by pitchers who entered the series finale with the Dodgers with a 0.94 collective ERA this season. That changed in the 10th inning Thursday.

Three relievers combined to give up four runs on four walks and three singles. The implosion ended with a 5-1 loss to the Dodgers and a split of this four-game series. 

For most of the game, this was a day when youth shined. Corey Seager celebrated his 23rd birthday with a solo homer in the first on a two-strike pitch from Matt Moore that caught the heart of the plate. The Giants will be dealing with Seager for years, and if all goes according to plan, there will be years of Julio Urias vs. Christian Arroyo battles, too. 

The 21-year-old third baseman won the first matchup, lining a single to center. Arroyo flew out in his second at-bat against the 20-year-old Urias, but they faced off a third time in a big spot. Brandon Belt drew a one-out walk in the sixth and went to third when a pickoff throw skipped down the line. After an intentional walk of Buster Posey, Arroyo lined another one back up the middle. Urias stuck his glove up but it ticked off and into center for a game-tying single. 

Arroyo ended the young lefty’s day. Moore was done after seven sparkling innings. He struck out eight, six of them looking. 

The game went to extras, and Cory Gearrin walked pinch-hitter Adrian Gonzalez to lead off the 10th. Chase Utley was called up to bunt but he couldn’t get it down. Instead, he hit an infield single off Steven Okert that stayed true to the third-base line. After a walk of Yasmani Grandal, the third straight pinch-hitter, Andrew Toles lined a single to center to give the Dodgers a lead and the wheels soon came off. 

Utley alertly tagged up and scored on a pop-up to foul territory. Justin Turner’s single extended the lead to three and Hunter Strickland’s four-pitch walk of Chris Taylor pushed another across. 

Starting pitching report: Moore gave up 19 hits and 11 earned runs in his two previous starts, but the Dodgers had just two hits, the Seager homer and a Chris Taylor single. Taylor reached third with one out, but Moore got Scott Van Slyke and Cody Bellinger to go down looking. 

Bullpen report: Mark Melancon came on in a non-save situation for a second straight day and pitched a scoreless ninth. 

At the plate: Buster Posey’s hitting streak ended at 12 games. He twice bounced into double plays.

In the field: Posey chased a high pop-up down the right field line in the fourth, but he was going to come up short. Kelby Tomlinson came out of nowhere with the helping hand, making a running catch near the visiting bullpen. Posey smiled and shook his head as Tomlinson whipped the ball back to the infield. 

Attendance: The Giants said they sold out a 500th consecutive game.

Up next: The Giants have a three-city road trip coming up, so it’s time to take advantage of a weekend at home against the Padres. Jeff Samardzija and Luis Perdomo get the opener.