EXTRA BAGGS: Melky coasts into NL runs lead, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Melky coasts into NL runs lead, etc.

DENVER Melky Cabrera does not talk nonstop in ahigh-pitched, Louisiana screech. He doesnt talk much at all.

But he and Will Clark have a chance to share a commonattribute.

After crossing the plate eight times in three games at CoorsField, Cabrera leads the NL with 77 runs scored. Hes on pace to score 115,which would be the most by a Giant since Barry Bonds scored 129 in 2004.

No Giant has led the NL in runs scored since 1989, whenClark tied Howard Johnson and Ryne Sandberg with 104.

With Buster Posey remaining red-hot and now Hunter Pence atrue RBI man in the No. 5 spot (and Pablo Sandoval returning soon), theres adecent chance that Cabrera will keep on crossing the plate.

Well, you know what, its really been ridiculous, saidPence, who had an RBI groundout and knocked in Cabrera with doubles in the fifthand seventh. Baserunners are everywhere and I dont feel like those guys havemade an out. Its incredible and Im looking forward to more of it.

Cabrera didnt exactly run while scoring his last run. Hewas in need of an oxygen mask after hitting a triple in the ninth inning, andwhen Buster Posey singled to left, you needed a sundial to time Cabreras timefrom third to the plate.

RECAP: Baggs' Instant Replay -- Giants 8, Rockies 3

We had a couple guys running on fumes there, Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy said. But they did a good job finishing off that seriesand playing well.

Buster Posey is on pace for 103 RBIs, by the way. He'd become the first Giant to drive in 100 since Bonds in 2004.

It's always worth a moment to stop and reflect on that 2004 season. Bonds drove in 101 and hit 45 home runs even though he was walked 232 times that season, including 120 intentional passes -- both major league records that won't be broken any time soon, if ever.

Joey Votto and David Ortiz lead the majors with 13 intentional walks this season, in case you were curious.

The Giants are averaging 5.08 runs per game on the road. Thatsthe best in the National League and second in the majors, behind the Angels.

You read that right. The Giants own the second best roadoffense in the majors.

What a huge outing for Sergio Romo. He entered abases-loaded situation in the seventh but didnt let the Rockies back in thegame, striking out two batters.

A night earlier, Romo had taken Bochy aside and told him hewas close to figuring something out. He figured out what happened in a four-gameskid in which he retired just nine of 19 batters faced, raising his ERA from0.60 to 2.20.

He wanted his manager to retain confidence in him, to keep puttinghim in leveraged situations. Bochy did.

He saved us in a critical part of the game, Bochy said. Thatsuplifting for the club and its gotta be for him, too.

BAGGARLY: Lincecum regains competitive edge

Romo acknowledged he took his frustrations home with him onthe last homestand, when he gave up a tiebreaking home run to the DodgersHanley Ramirez and served up a tiebreaking shot to the Mets Scott Hairston.

I think very highly of myself and I take a lot of pride inmy ability Ive been given to throw strikes, Romo said. The team needs me tobe good. I want to be good again. I had to finish them off.

I know things werent going right. Its hard not to take ithome, but you have to leave it on the field and come back and have confidencein yourself the next day.

Because it matters. If I can contribute to a happy cause,why not? This thing is not about me.

Hector Sanchez momentarily lost the feeling in his handafter a pitch struck it in the first inning. Thats why he spiked one returnthrow and nearly sailed another.

I thought you had the yips, a teammate said.

Did you happen to notice who warmed up Tim Lincecum in hislast two innings, then warmed up Jeremy Affeldt in the ninth?

It was none other than Brett Pill. The Giants needed someonebecause Sanchez was either on base, in the batters circle or made the finalout at the end of innings.

I used Busters mask and Hectors glove, said Pill, wholisted his catching experience as somewhere between never and (laughing) never.

Timmy took it easy on me, Pill said. Affeldt threw me afew breaking balls.

Of course he did.

Giants among teams to see reduction in luxury tax under new CBA

Giants among teams to see reduction in luxury tax under new CBA

NEW YORK -- The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees are cutting payroll and their luxury tax bills - just as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and perhaps Clayton Kershaw near the free-agent market after the 2018 season.

The Dodgers are on track to slice their tax bill by about a quarter this year and the Yankees by two-thirds. The San Francisco Giants also are set to slice their payment in the first season of baseball's new collective bargaining agreement, but the Detroit Tigers are slated to pay more despite saying they want to reduce payroll.

If a team doesn't pay tax in 2018, its tax rate would drop to 20 percent in 2019 - allowing perennially high-spending clubs to sign stars at a lower cost.

"What the market produces is what the market's going to produce," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said.

The Dodgers are forecast to pay a $25.1 million competitive balance tax this year, according to opening-day calculations by the commissioner's office obtained by The Associated Press, down from $43.6 million in 2015 and $31.8 million last year. The Yankees' bill is slated to be just under $9 million, their lowest since the tax began in 2003 and less than one-third of the $27.4 million they owed last season.

"The new CBA has had no influence on my belief that you don't need a 200-plus million dollar payroll to win championships," Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said in an email to the AP.

The tax threshold increased from $189 million to $195 million under the new labor contract, and rates were simplified to three levels: 20 percent for first-time payers, 30 percent for those owing for a second straight season and 50 percent for clubs paying three times in a row or more.

A pair of surtaxes were added to discourage high rollers: 12 percent on the amount from $215 million to $235 million this year and a 42.5 percent and 45 percent above that, depending on how many consecutive years a team is paying.

Another change calls for a team more than $40 million above next year's tax threshold of $197 million to have its top draft pick moved back 10 places - with an exception that if a club has a pick among the top six, that would be protected and its second pick would be moved back 10 slots.

The Yankees appear to be trying to get below the threshold in 2018 to reset their tax rate in anticipation of that fall's free-agent class.

"I think it's too early to make a judgment about the success of the new CBA," Manfred said. "I also think that while there's a lot of change in the CBT area in terms of the structure and rates and whatnot, there has been a certain cyclical nature to the CBA over time, irrespective of the change, right? Clubs get to a certain point, they step to go younger, they come down."

The Dodgers have a major league-high $238 million payroll for purposes of the tax, which uses the average annual values of contracts for players on 40-man rosters and includes $13.96 million per team in benefit costs.

Actual tax is assessed on season-ending payrolls in December.

Los Angeles is projected to pay both new surtaxes. Under transition rules for 2017, the Dodgers' projected tax is at the midpoint of what they would pay under the new rules ($25.58 million) and old ($24.68 million).

Dodgers president Stan Kasten declined comment on the team's payroll and the tax.

With a projected payroll of $216.9 million, Detroit has a tax projected to be $6.8 million, an increase from $4 million. The Tigers pay at a 30 percent rate as an offender for the second straight season while the other teams over the threshold pay at 50 percent because they have been above for three or more consecutive years.

Tigers general manager Al Avila declined comment through club spokesman Craig Hughner.

The Yankees, at $212.9 million, are just under the surtax level. San Francisco is next at $199.6 million, leaving its tax set to decline to $2.3 million from $3.4 million. The Giants could have dropped below the tax threshold entirely, but decided to give reliever Mark Melancon a $62 million, four-year contract.

"The costs add up, as does revenue sharing," Giants general manager Bobby Evans.

The Tigers, Yankees and Giants pay at the new calculation because they would have owed more under the old rules: $11.96 million for New York, $8.4 million for Detroit and $4.2 million for San Francisco.

Washington ($188.6 million), St. Louis ($186.5 million) and Boston ($183 million) have room to increase payroll without incurring a tax. The Red Sox would pay at a 50 percent rate after owing $4.5 million last year and $1.8 million in 2015. The others would pay at 20 percent because they have not been over the threshold.


Giants lineup: Arroyo playing third in debut, Pence leading off vs Dodgers

Giants lineup: Arroyo playing third in debut, Pence leading off vs Dodgers

PROGRAMMING ALERT: Dodgers-Giants coverage begins at 6pm with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus and streaming right here.

In his much-anticipated debut, Christian Arroyo will bat sixth and play third base against the Dodgers on Monday night.

Eduardo Nunez will play left field, while Hunter Pence will bat lead off.

Los Angeles Dodgers:
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
5. Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
6. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
7. Chase Utley (L) 2B
8. Enrique Hernandez (R) CF
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu (R) LHP

San Francisco Giants:
1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
3. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
9. Matt Cain (R) RHP