EXTRA BAGGS: Huff hustles too little, Crawford too much

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EXTRA BAGGS: Huff hustles too little, Crawford too much

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MIAMI Imagine what a story it wouldve made.

The Giants ushered Miami Marlins closer Heath Bell from thegame in the ninth inning Friday night, they advanced the tying run to third base and MelkyCabrera, the major league leader in hits, was coming to the plate.

The Marlins infield met on the mound. Clearly, they were going topitch carefully to the NLs hottest hitter.

And the man on deck? None other than Buster Posey, facingthe Marlins one year to the day that Scott Cousins took him out.

You could envision Posey, his jaw locked, sending a ballover the fence and rounding the bases, expressionless as a contract killer. Itwouldve been one heck of a story. And it might have helped the Giants fret alittle less over Tim Lincecums troubles for a night.

But Posey did not get past the on-deck circle. Marlinsright-hander Steve Cishek stole a first-pitch strike against Cabrera, he ranthe count full, and then he dropped down to throw a gutsy slider that triggeredthe fist of plate umpire Mike Winters.

The Giants lost 7-6, and one-run defeats are like rabbitholes for managers. There are so many moments in the game to tumble around in your head, somany mistakes or missed opportunities that became turning points.

We were awful tonight, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.Errors and baserunning came back to haunt us, as they should. Those thingsshouldnt happen on the field.

During his session, Bochy wasnt specific about the baserunning issues. I onlycounted two possibilities: In the second inning, when Aubrey Huff trotted outof the box and coasted into first base on his near-homer-turned single; and inthe third, when Brandon Crawford got thrown out trying to go from first tothird on Angel Pagans two-out hit.

Not wanting to make assumptions, I circled back to ask. Bochy said yes, he was referring to those two plays.

Huff said he just lost track of what happened, Bochy said.He didnt see where the ball went.

And because Joaquin Arias followed with a double-playgrounder, Huffs failure to get to second base proved damaging. Sure,Pagan had to hold up between first and second to see if the ball would becaught. But Pagan had gone more than halfway. There was no reason Huff couldnt havebeen right behind him. If the balls caught, hes out anyway. (Paganstill made it to third base, by the way.)

Managers often say they dont have a problem with playerswho make aggressive mistakes. But Bochy seemed to be more bothered byCrawfords attempt to take third. Both Tim Flannery and Roberto Kelly tookCrawford aside after the game, telling him he cant get thrown out at thirdbase with two outs. He already was in scoring position, they said, and its notlike he can come home on a two-out sacrifice fly.

We cant make those kinds of mistakes, Bochy said.

Its important to play smart. But its even more importantto play hard, isnt it?

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Pablo Sandoval is coming along in his rehab from left handsurgery. He began swinging a fungo bat right-handed on Friday, but Bochy saidthe third baseman is still two weeks away from returning.

Hes getting better, Bochy said. Were probably lookingat a couple weeks if there is no setbacks, which is good news for us.

Sandoval had been the teams No. 3 hitter, but Bochy said heplans to keep Melky Cabrera in that spot. No wonder. Cabrera homered andtripled, adding to his MLB-best 69 hits. He has 42 of them in May with fivegames to play and hes nine short of the San Francisco-era record for hits in amonth, which Randy Winn established with a 51-hit performance in September, 2005.

Bochy said he might put Sandoval in the No. 5 spot and moveAngel Pagan up to second, even though Pagan also has taken well to that placein the order. Sandoval wont bat sixth or lower, Bochy said.

Hes too good a hitter, the manager said.

Heres one other variable that will affect what the Giantsdo: Crawfords performance in the No. 2 slot. Hes definitely getting betterpitches and having better at-bats since Bochy tried him in that slot. But itshard to imagine the Giants keeping him there when they have a betteralternative.

Oh, and in case its not obvious the fact Bochy is talkingabout moving Pagan to the No. 2 slot should make it very apparent that GregorBlanco has become the everyday leadoff man and outfielder for this team.

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win

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At Goodyear, Arizona, Joe Panik, Conor Gillaspie and Jarrett Parker homered for San Francisco. Jimmy Rollins singled and scored twice.

Giants lefty Matt Moore went 1 1/3 innings in his first start of the spring, allowing one run and one hit. He walked two and struck out three.

Cincinnati starter Tim Adleman pitched two innings, giving up four hits and two runs.

Giants spring training Day 14: Moore, Beede debut as SF improves to 3-0

Giants spring training Day 14: Moore, Beede debut as SF improves to 3-0

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — An hour after he gave up a run, walked two, and struck out three in 1 1/3 innings, Matt Moore stood in front of his locker and smiled.

“I usually stink in spring training,” he said. 

That’s not entirely true. By spring training standards, Moore’s 4.06 ERA over 19 exhibition appearances is practically Cy Young-worthy. But the Giants have come to find that Moore, acquired at the deadline last summer, has high standards. He lived up to them the last time he took the mound in orange and black, throwing eight brilliant innings in the final game of the 2016 season. 

Moore had a long offseason to think about the way the postseason ended. He said he doesn’t have regrets. 

“The ball doesn’t go your way, but there’s nothing about what happened that night that I second-guess,” he said. “We all showed up. Boch managed the game, we played the game … that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

The Giants are counting on Moore to help them get back to October. To recover from last year’s lengthy run — his first full season back from Tommy John — Moore pushed the start of his offseason throwing program back a month. Sunday’s outing was just the second time facing hitters this spring because rain messed with some of the coaching staff’s workout plans, but Moore said he feels strong. 

“We got him where we wanted,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He looked good.”

GAME RECAP: The ball was flying at Goodyear Ballpark Way Out In The Middle Of Nowhere and the Giants took full advantage. Conor Gillaspie, Joe Panik and Jarrett Parker homered in a 9-5 win over the Reds. The Giants are 3-0 in Cactus League play … Tyler Beede struck out one in two scoreless innings. Beede gave up two hits, but he finished his 2017 debut by getting a double-play ball … Jimmy Rollins scored twice while leading off … Albert Suarez made his debut, pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings … Cincinnati’s pitching was mostly brutal, but former Giants prospects Luis Castillo and Keury Mella finished off the day with three scoreless innings. 

POSITION BATTLE: Parker had two hits and walked twice. His homer was a laser shot. “He smoked that one,” Bochy said. “I didn’t think it was going out, but he scalded it. It shows the kind of power he has.”

Mac Williamson had two hits, a walk, and two runs. He made a slick sliding catch for an out near the left field wall. The left field candidates are off to a good start. 

QUOTABLE: “It’s great. There are a lot more places to eat.” — Moore, on his first spring in Arizona. Moore is from New Mexico, so he’s happy with the switch from having camp in Florida.