EXTRA BAGGS: No-lose situation for Loux, Kobe Bryant's baseball brother, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: No-lose situation for Loux, Kobe Bryant's baseball brother, etc.

ANAHEIM Matt Cain wasnt the only Giants pitcher to workwith an extra surge of adrenaline Monday night.

Shane Loux admitted he nearly jumped out of his chair whenthe bullpen phone rang and he was summoned to get loose with the Giants leadingin the fifth inning.

Loux took the mound after a laboring Cain barely made itthrough five. He retired all three batters he faced in the sixth, setting atone that held for the bullpen the rest of the night. Cain wasnt perfect, butfour Giants relievers retired all 12 batters they faced.

And Loux got credited with a hold in the box score. That might not mean much to me or youor to your fantasy team. It might not come with a trophy or a souvenir or anewspaper headline to frame.

But when youve appeared in seven games all season, eachtime entering with your team trailing, each time walking into a losingclubhouse at the end of the day well, you learn to appreciate a change ofpace.

Nobody knows their role better than I do, and Im OK withthat, said Loux, who hadnt appeared in the majors since 2009 with the Angelsbefore the Giants purchased his contract last month. Still, theres someadrenaline when the phone rings.

Its nice. I like getting work, but its nice getting workto help the team win, especially for Matt.

Just a few weeks ago, everyone assumed that Loux would goback to Triple-A Fresno the moment that Brad Penny was ready. It looked like itwould take a couple of tune-up outings for Penny in the minors. But even thoughPennys shoulder is healthy enough to compete now, its hard to argue theGiants would be better off with him over Loux. Theyve already got a long guywith good stuff who throws strikes.

Loux has a 1.35 ERA and hes unscored upon in seven of eightoutings.

Threw strikes, he said, matter-of-factly. Get aggressivehitters to hit it on the ground. Thats what you want to do as a bullpen: getquick outs. Obviously, Romo and Affeldt and Casilla have been doing it. It wasnice to be a part of a victory.

Maybe Loux will get his own victory one of these days.

Got a win in 03 and another in 09, he said, smiling. SoIll wait another few years and get another one.

Cain made a nice recovery on Mike Trouts comebacker in thefourth inning, but just as impressive was the way Buster Posey managed the playat the plate. He received the throw, swiped his tag on Maicer Izturis, thenkicked his legs out of the way to make extra sure that his lower half wouldntmake contact with the runner.

That is exactly, EXACTLY how Bruce Bochy and Posey worked tohandle these plays in the spring.

Yes, its amazing that Cain retired 32 consecutive battersbefore Trout broke his streak with a leadoff single. But lets not forget thatlast year, Sergio Romo retired 31 consecutive over 15 appearances.

I let Romo know that Cains last out of his perfect gamenudged him ahead by one.

Ah, he got me, huh? Romo said.

Romo had a rough one in Seattle on Sunday, but he sure didbounce back well. He retired all four hitters he faced, including AlbertPujols.

I havent seen Bryce Harper play yet. But if hes betterthan Mike Trout, Ill be a rally monkeys uncle.

There are some players who fall under the category of worththe price of admission. One game and Im convinced: Hes one of them.

The press box here at the Big A has changed a bit since Icovered the team last in 2001. They pinched around 15 feet from each end tocreate extra luxury boxes. Imagine my surprise when I glanced to my left anddiscovered Kobe Bryant sitting in one, intently watching the game just a fewfeet away from me.

The Giants players noticed, too. In fact, they see Kobeevery day.

Joaquin Arias is his stunt double.

Whenever he makes a good play we yell Koh-BEEE! ClayHensley said. We were wondering why he went up there to watch the game.Somehow he got dressed real quick, I guess.

On a more somber note, best wishes to former Giant JeromeWilliams, who exited the game in the fourth inning and then ended up in thehospital when he had difficulty breathing. Based on reports from Angelsofficials, he is stable and doing well but will be held overnight as aprecaution. Hes expected at the ballpark on Tuesday.

The uncertainty and scary nature of the news reminded me ofthe night on the Angels beat in 2000 when left-hander Kent Mercker fell to one knee on the mound and had to behelped off the field. None of us knew how he was injured or how serious it was.Mercker suffered a cerebral hemmhorage a one in-a-million shot and camevery close to losing his life. He ended up making a full recovery, and was ableto resume his career, too.

We shouldnt need reminders that life is fragile and thatevery day is a gift to be appreciated.

Listless Giants roughed up by Pirates in ejection-filled series opener

Listless Giants roughed up by Pirates in ejection-filled series opener


SAN FRANCISCO -- The Pittsburgh Pirates kept clearing the fences, and the San Francisco Giants were left arguing plate umpire Chris Conroy's tough strike zone.

Even Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle understood the beef.

Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run homer and had four RBIs, Gerrit Cole won for the fifth time in six starts, and the Pirates beat San Francisco 10-3 on Monday night.

"I think there was some frustration really all night," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who watched most of the game from his office after an ejection in the second. "I don't think he had a real good night, to be honest, as far as consistency, but that really had nothing to do with what happened tonight. We gave up three-run homers."

Jordy Mercer added a three-run shot of his own in the eighth to further back Cole (8-7), 5-1 in his last eight starts. That lone defeat came June 30 as San Francisco swept the Pirates at Pittsburgh from June 30-July 2 - the Giants' first in the series since 2009.

This time, Pittsburgh immediately jumped on San Francisco starter Matt Cain (3-9), who matched the longest losing streak of his career at eight games - also done from July 28, 2015-May 10, 2016.

Bochy was tossed by Conroy for arguing balls and strikes in support of Cain moments after McCutchen connected, the skipper's second time being tossed this year. San Francisco pitching coach Dave Righetti then got tossed in the ninth.

"It was a tough zone," Hurdle said. "They lost two people on their side thrown out of the game."

Cole allowed two runs on six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked four.

He improved to 4-1 in six career starts against San Francisco. The Pirates won their seventh straight game at AT&T Park and ninth in 10, including sweeps both last year and in 2015.

Buster Posey hit a pair of RBI singles in San Francisco's fourth loss in five games.

McCutchen hit his 18th homer as the Pirates cleared the fences in San Francisco for a sixth straight game. His RBI groundout in the first started things off for a Pittsburgh club that had lost back-to-back games on the heels of a season-best, six-game winning streak, including a 13-3 flop in the finale against the Rockies on Sunday at Coors Field.

Josh Bell and Starling Marte each doubled home a run and Josh Harrison added an RBI single.

"This offense is good, we've shown that," McCutchen said.

Cain matched his second-shortest outing of the year at four innings and is winless in his last 11 starts, the longest by a Giants pitcher since the right-hander went 15 outings without a victory during his previous eight-game skid.

Former slugger Barry Bonds, who played for both teams, received a greeting on the scoreboard for his 53rd birthday but the career home run king wasn't in the stands.

Pirates: OF Gregory Polanco, who strained his left hamstring Friday at Colorado and landed on the 10-day disabled list, tested his leg with some straightaway running and was going to do some riding on the stationary bike with the hopes he can hit in the cage soon. Hurdle said he did witness Polanco scurry across a street to avoid being hit by a car, then acknowledged it wasn't that close a call. ... With an off day Thursday at San Diego, the starters will get an extra day of rest.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto played catch and said the trouble spots on three of his pitching fingers are greatly improved. He said they aren't true blisters. The plan is for him to play catch again Tuesday and perhaps throw off the mound Wednesday if all continues to go well. ... Closer Mark Melancon had the day off as he recovers from a second DL stint with a strained forearm. He will throw a bullpen session Tuesday, Bochy said, and face hitters this weekend in Los Angeles if ready.

Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (6-3, 3.08 ERA) is 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA in seven starts since returning from the DL on June 12, just more than a month after surgery for testicular cancer. He seeks his first decision against the Giants in two starts.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 3.57) tries again for his first victory of 2017 in his third outing back from missing nearly three months following a dirt bike accident April 20 in Colorado.

Bruce Bochy ejected in second inning vs Pirates after arguing with umpire

Bruce Bochy ejected in second inning vs Pirates after arguing with umpire

Bruce Bochy's night didn't last very long.

The Giants manager was ejected in the top of the second inning Monday after arguing with the home plate umpire.

The argument came after a three-run homer by Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Bochy appeared to be voicing frustrating with the strike zone.

Bochy came out to argue with Chris Conroy and the home plate umpire threw him out almost immediately.

McCutchen's home run put the Pirates up 6-0 in the second inning.