EXTRA BAGGS: Giants must reestablish home mojo, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Giants must reestablish home mojo, etc.

ST. LOUIS The Giants road trip is over, and it was a goodone.

They swept three from the radioactive Rockies, then washed off abad series-opening loss at Busch Stadium to split four with a Cardinals clubthat is more talented than the standings would indicate.

Sure, the Giants made a few mistakes in a 3-1 loss Thursdayafternoon. Madison Bumgarner left a slider up to Carlos Beltran, yet the pitchprobably wouldve resulted in a long foul ball to 95 percent of major leaguehitters. Beltran was talented enough and strong enough to keep it fair for atwo-run home run.

The Giants were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position,Hunter Pence struck out three times and the play that scored their only run Marco Scutaros sacrifice fly in thefifth was actually the moment they most lamented. Jon Jays sliding catchkept it from being much more.

I thought Scutaros ball would get heavy and fall in,Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. They made a nice play on that. Its theturning point in the game, really.

But no result Thursday could turn this road trip into adisappointment. The Giants will take five of seven anytime, especially whenthey can pound out 57 runs in 63 innings.

Now they head home, hoping they can carry some of their roadmojo into AT&T Park, where the Giants struggled to a 3-7 record when theyshouldve been making hay on their last homestand.

As its been pointed out many times, the Giants enteredThursdays game as the highest scoring club in the majors on the road (5.18runs per game) but the second worst offense at home (3.27 runs per game).

Theyve hit a total of 17 home runs in 55 home games. For alittle perspective, Detroits Miguel Cabrera has hit 19 all by himself atComerica Park.

If that pattern holds, can the Giants prosper?

It can, if you keep the line moving, Bochy said. Wevegot more speed this year. So yeah, that can work. The park is built for that,really.

But when you dont hit home runs, you cant afford to fallbehind. And you certainly cant afford to give them up. So itll be up to thestarting pitchers to continue to set a tone, beginning with Tim Lincecumagainst the Rockies on Friday.

Fair or not, the pressure has been on the pitchers toperform for several years now. On the road, they might get the occasionalreprieve when the Giants outhit their mistakes. At home, those mistakes dontoften get covered up.

Bumgarner provided the brightest moment of the day for theGiants when he faced Beltran for a second time. He definitely pitches with anedge out there, and he looked to have something extra as he struck out Beltranon three pitches.

Then Bumgarner fielded two sharp comebackers with a snap ofhis glove, as if he were prodding cows trying to jump the pen.

No, I didnt think I needed any extra fire to pitch againsta team like this, said Bumgarner, who credited Beltran for putting a goodswing on that first-inning homer. Bad pitch selection, I guess. For the mostpart, we went with the game plan today and it worked out for the most partexcept a pitch here or there.

Marco Scutaro ended up with 12 RBIs on the trip. Yes, hesfilled in quite nicely for Pablo Sandoval.

Some folks have asked about wild card tiebreaker scenarios. For example, what if the Giants and Cardinals are the two wild card entrants for the National League? Who gets home-field advantage for the one-game playoff?

Well, simple. The team with the best overall record plays host to the knockout game. But if the Cards and Giants were to finish the season with identical records, the next tiebreaker would be head-to-head record. Because they've split the six-game season series, the next tiebreaker would be record within their respective divisions.

But again, regular-season record trumps all.

The Giants will install a Matt Cain perfect game plaque onthe portwalk beyond the right field arcade. Itll be unveiled prior to Fridaynights game. First pitch has been bumped back to 7:35 p.m. PDT as a result.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 9-4 win over Marlins

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 9-4 win over Marlins


SAN FRANCISCO — The main event Tuesday night in Miami was Madison Bumgarner vs. Giancarlo Stanton. After that was over, the Giants got to work. 

Carlos Moncrief, pinch-hitting for Bumgarner, sparked a three-run rally in the seventh as the Giants ran away with a 9-4 win over the Marlins. Moncrief’s RBI single tied the game and his aggressive base running led to the go-ahead run on a Stanton error. 

Here are five things to know from the second night in Miami, with an emphasis on two large gentlemen … 

—- Round 1 of Bumgarner-Stanton probably should have ended with a homer. Bumgarner started Stanton off with a cutter low, and then went way high for ball two. Another cutter nicked the inside of the plate for a strike. On 2-1, Bumgarner threw a 90 mph fastball that leaked over the heart of the plate. Stanton smoked it into left, but just for a single. 

—- Round 2 ended with Stanton homering for the 44th time this season, and sixth consecutive game. Bumgarner started the at-bat with a good curveball for a strike, but he got burned when he tried to go down in the dirt with a cutter. Buster Posey put his glove down a couple inches above the plate but the cutter never got down. Stanton crushed it 442 feet with an exit velocity of 107 mph. He watched it fly, and Bumgarner watched him run to first. 

—- Bumgarner won Round 3. Stanton fouled off a fastball and swung through a cutter on the way to 3-2. Bumgarner threw a hard curveball at Stanton’s back foot and he whiffed. 

—- Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich were 6-for-6 against Bumgarner coming into the fifth. He struck them all out in order that inning. Overall, Bumgarner gave up four earned on nine hits in six innings. He struck out four. Bumgarner also had an RBI single off the wall. 

—- Mark Melancon’s stuff has taken a step up since he returned. He hit 93 mph and threw a handful of sharp curveballs while getting through the seventh against the top of Miami’s lineup.

Joe Panik joins Brandon Belt on 7-day concussion DL


Joe Panik joins Brandon Belt on 7-day concussion DL

One entire side of the Giants infield is now on the concussion disabled list.

Second baseman Joe Panik was placed on the 7-day DL Tuesday, joining first baseman Brandon Belt.

Panik took a hard tag to the face during the second game of Sunday's doubleheader against the Nationals.

The move is retoractive to August 14.

Infielder Orlando Calixte was recalled to take Panik's spot on the roster.

This is the second time in two years that Panik has landed on the disabled list with a concussion. Last July, then-Rays pitcher Matt Moore plunked Panik in the head with a pitch. It took 10 days before the Giants would place their second baseman on the DL. This time, it took just two days.