EXTRA BAGGS: Giants supremely confident going into Game 7, etc.

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EXTRA BAGGS: Giants supremely confident going into Game 7, etc.

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO The Giants are 27 outs from the WorldSeries. They know the St. Louis Cardinals will not yield any of them without afight.

The Giants might have a streak of five win or go homevictories in this postseason, but the Cardinals, defending World Serieschampions, have won six consecutive elimination games over the last two years including that storm of a comeback from a 6-0 deficit on the road to knock outthe Washington Nationals in their NL Division Series.
INSTANT REPLAY: Giants 6, Cardinals 1

But say this: The Giants are a very, very confident team.

Were what, five wins away from winning it all? said TimLincecum, who will be available in the bullpen should Matt Cain falter in Game7. I dont feel the emotion has changed at all. We know what we have to do.Its about rising to the occasion and putting on a show.

Said Angel Pagan: Were ready for tomorrow. I hope I cansleep, but thats all I can tell you. Im very, very confident in what weregoing to do tomorrow.

Said Sergio Romo: Were one win away from the World Series.What a feeling it was in 2010. Yeah, I want to get there again. I imagine wecan. This is a game where you have no idea whats going to happen next. But Iexpect this team to show up tomorrow and fight and survive.
RATTO: Romo, Giants continue to dispel myths

Pagan was asked which lineup, the Giants or Cardinals, wasbetter.

Im not going to say whos better, he said, diplomatically.

Whos going to be better in Game 7?

Us, Pagan said. Believe it.

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Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday did not watch Game 6from the bench. Thats because he went for an MRI exam on his lower back duringthe game, reported Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Hollidays back gotworse, not better, during the game.

That screams doubtful for Game 7, doesnt it?

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While were on the subject of the Cardinals andvulnerability

It sent a megaphone-loud message when Matheny kept ChrisCarpenter in the game to hit for himself in the third inning while the Cards alreadytrailing 4-0. Obviously, Matheny was saving all hisbullets for Game 7.

You know this is a team that believes it can come back inany game. There is a vacant ballpark in the Beltway to prove that. But perhapsall that ammo preservation also speaks to the Cardinals confidence, or lackthereof, in Lohse. The right-hander walked five and allowed seven hits over 5 23 inningsin Game 3. Yet the Giants only scored one run against him in a 3-1 loss atBusch Stadium.

We let him off the hook, one Giant told me. Thats notgoing to happen again.

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One of the most important at-bats in Game 6 belonged toPablo Sandoval, and not just because his single up the middle knocked in theGiants fifth run.

His at-bat came immediately after Ryan Vogelsong scored fromfirst base on Scutaros double. Not only did Sandoval extend the inning, but hefouled off a number of pitches while working a 10-pitch at-bat.

Vogelsong surely appreciated that. He was asked if his focuschanged after Scutaros double made it a 4-0 lead.

Well, I was looking for the oxygen first, said Vogelsong,who sat next to Scutaro in the interview room.

Couldnt breathe. Sorry, brother, Scutaro replied.

You can do it any time, buddy. Ill take it, Vogelsongsaid.

The Giants will take what theyre getting from Sandoval, too.Hes starting to look locked in.

When hes swinging well, hes fun to watch, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

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As you might expect, Vogelsong was asked how his ritual meal ofchicken enchiladas tasted Saturday night.

The enchiladas were good, he said. The place I get themfrom, theyre always good.

Prepare for every Mexican restaurant in the Bay Area toadvertise a Rally Enchilada special. Fans certainly got into the saucygoodness with their Twitter avatars. Vogelsongs wife, Nicole, was overwhelmedwith fans sending her recipes and images.

Shell probably give me the lowdown tonight and show mesome pictures, Vogelsong said. Shes been around me long enough to knowthat this afternoon probably wasnt the best time to show me whats onTwitter.

Well, considering his teammates don't talk to him AT ALL on the days he pitches ... yes, probably not.

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The grounds crew put the tarp on the field just minutesafter the final out of Game 6. The weather is going to be dicey for Monday,with an 80 percent chance of showers.

All parties will go all night to get the game in, though.

Game 1 of the World Series is scheduled for Wednesday, andthanks to Melky Cabrera and the NL All-Star team, the National League hashome-field advantage. So the Detroit Tigers, who are scrimmaging againstinstructional league pups at the moment, are waiting to find out where theyllfly on Tuesday to start the series.

Thats why MLB cant push back this NLCS Game 7 a day.

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Last word, from Vogelsong, about one of the loudest crowdsIve ever heard in nine years covering this team:

Theyre making this something that Im never, ever going toforget. And I cant thank them enough for it.

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

MESA, Ariz. — The Giants went 0-62 last season when trailing after eight innings. Chris Marrero wasn’t around for any of that, but it’s a stat that could help Marrero as he tries to lock up a bench spot. 

The first baseman/left fielder crushed a three-run shot in the ninth inning Tuesday, wiping out a two-run deficit against the Cubs. Marrero also has two walk-off homers this spring. 

“This kid, you see it when he goes up there. He’s got great focus,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s intensity and determination. From day one, you could see it in his at-bats. Late in the game, he seems very comfortable. He wants to go up there.”

Tuesday’s homer, which shot out to right-center, was the eighth of the spring for Marrero. That ties him with a guy named Bryce Harper for the MLB lead, and the vast majority of Marrero’s bombs were no-doubters. 

“It’s been a great spring for him,” Bochy said. “The last game here, it seems fitting that he would do something like that. He’s already done it a couple of times. This kid has done all he can. I love his swing and the work that he’s put in.”

With Michael Morse down, Marrero is the best remaining option as a power right-handed bat off the bench, a glaring need a year ago. Justin Ruggiano, another one in the mix, followed Marrero’s shot with one of his own. The homer was Ruggiano’s second of the spring. 

Ruggiano is a better fit defensively in the outfield, but Marrero has been solid at first and Bochy said he’s fine with what he’s seen in left field. “He’s still working on it,” Bochy said, noting that Marrero will play left field during the Bay Bridge Series. 

LEADING OFF: Denard Span saw a wild pitch bounce off the bricks behind home plate, and he never slowed down. Span sped around third in the second inning and slid in ahead of the throw. The notable part of the play wasn’t that a quirky bounce allowed Span to take 180 feet on a wild pitch. It was that his legs did. The 33-year-old has been a different guy in his second spring with the Giants. Last year, Span was coming off hip surgery. This spring, his old game has returned.

“I’ve just been able to do the things I’ve always been able to do,” Span said. “I have more control of my body. I’m stronger. I had a full offseason and a full spring training to get my legs up under me. The last couple of weeks, I’ve felt much better and more confident.”

A healthy and spry Span would be a big boost to a lineup that often looked flat in the second half last season Span showed off every aspect of his game Tuesday. He blasted a leadoff homer on Jake Arrieta’s second pitch, and during their second matchup, he put a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. Span stole second easily before his race home. 

“He’s playing terrific baseball and he’s been a real inspiration, being our leadoff hitter,” Bochy said. “That’s what we needed — energy at the top of the order.”

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez (shoulder) is feeling much better, and Bochy said he’ll play third base during the games at AT&T Park before getting four or five innings at shortstop on Saturday. Joe Panik (drilled in the back on Monday) said he’s feeling fine. 

POSITION BATTLES: Here’s the latest on Matt Cain, and here’s an update on Aaron Hill and Jimmy Rollins. 

ICYMI: Big news today from NBC Bay Area. Matt Williams, Javier Lopez and Cody Ross have joined out pre- and post-game shows. You can find stories about those guys on our homepage here. Those shows will also now be an hour long on both ends of the game, adding an extra hour of Giants coverage to your day. Which is good. 

That’s all on the way during the regular season. If you missed any of our spring coverage, you can find a bunch of features here, and podcasts here (spring pods included Mike Morse, Matt Cain, Mac Williamson, Jimmy Rollins and others, with one more coming this week). And in case you’re new to our coverage, the Twitter account is here and the Facebook page is here. Next stop, San Francisco … 

 

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

MESA, Ariz. -- Aaron Hill didn't play in the final Cactus League game, but he didn't need to. By simply being on the flight to San Francisco on Tuesday, Hill got good news. 

The veteran infielder was due a $100,000 bonus on Tuesday, and while the Giants haven't formally announced their roster, you don't pay a man that much money to come play three exhibition games against the A's. Hill appears to have made this club as a second backup infielder, along with Conor Gillaspie. Another veteran, Jimmy Rollins, got the news that the Giants are headed in a different direction. 

Team officials spoke with Rollins this week about their future plans. He was not on the travel roster Tuesday and did not attend the game against the Cubs. 

"We're waiting to hear back from him," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He knows the scenario and the situation. We're waiting to hear back."

Rollins, 38, showed the Giants that he can still handle shortstop defensively, and he was a quick learner when he moved to second. But he hit just .119, falling behind Hill, Kelby Tomlinson and others in the mix for bench spots. It would seem unlikely that Rollins would want to get additional at-bats in Triple-A, but that feeling hadn't been fully conveyed to team officials Tuesday. There was a hope that Rollins, an East Bay native, might join the team for the Bay Bridge Series, which finishes Saturday in Oakland. Rollins grew up an A's fan.

Rollins and Hill were part of a crowded infield group at the start of camp. Gordon Beckham also had a retention bonus and he asked to be released when he was told he wouldn't make the opening day roster. David Hernandez, the third player due a bonus, also was released. He promptly signed with the Atlanta Braves.