EXTRA BAGGS: Playing the Lincecum 'what-if' game, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Playing the Lincecum 'what-if' game, etc.

WASHINGTON If you are searching for positives after TimLincecum melted like an ice cream cake in Tuesday nights 9-3 loss to theWashington Nationals, then sorry.

Unless you like ice cream soup, we dont have much for you.

But there is this: Even though Giants manager Bruce Bochypulled most of his starters, including Angel Pagan as early as the fourthinning, the entire team save Wednesday starter Madison Bumgarner stayed tothe final out.

Ordinarily, that would not merit special mention. But thegame was delayed nearly 90 minutes by a thunderstorm in the seventh inning. AndWednesdays first pitch is at 11:05 a.m.

No, no, they wanted to stay as a team, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Itsnot too bad. Well have a bus that leaves at 9 a.m. Theyre all still here.

Said Pagan: You want to be here to the last out to supportyour team.

As mentioned in the Instant Replay story, the Giants areexactly halfway through the season and they have 45 victories in 81 games. Theyare on pace for 90 victories. If they had won Tuesday night, they wouldve hadthe most victories in the National League.

What if the Giants were a meager 9-8 instead of 4-13 in TimLincecums starts?

They would be 50-31, tied with the Texas Rangers for thebest record in the majors. And, with the Dodgers result still pending as ofthis writing, the Giants would hold a six-game lead in the NL West.

If I had told you the Giants would be 9-8 in Lincecumsfirst 17 starts, youd have been disappointed.

Interesting stat from my pal Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports:The leader in the NL West on the Fourth of July has failed to win the divisionin four of the past five seasons.

So much for the whole whos catching Tim Lincecumcontroversy.

I figured itd end either way with Tuesdays start.

Outcome No. 1: Lincecum would have another good outing withHector Sanchez, giving him momentum that could be viewed as a little moresustainable. Call it the string and the top effect. Then Bruce Bochy couldswitch back to pairing Buster Posey with a more confident Lincecum.

Outcome No. 2: Lincecum would have a bad start, proving thetheory that it doesnt really matter who catches No. 55. It comes down toexecuting pitches. So hed switch back to Posey, so long as the schedulepermits him to catch.

Bochy originally turned to Sanchez because the Giants hadlost nine consecutive starts with Lincecum on the mound. Something had tochange. After the wheel came up red, he put more chips down. After it hit redagain, Bochy didnt want to mess with a good thing, and besides, the scheduledictated that Posey would have to take a break from catching either Tuesday orWednesday. Made sense to me.

Now Lincecum has around 17 starts remaining, and Ill wagerthat Posey will catch at least a dozen of them. Color me up, Monsieur Croupier.

The rub of having Sanchez catch Lincecum is that it forces Bochy to choose between starting Posey and Brandon Belt at first base. Belt is on a tear at the plate.

What about putting Belt in left field, and perhaps sitting Gregor Blanco?

I asked Belt the last time he took a fly ball in batting practice. "Spring training," he said.

It might be an option in the future, Bochy said. But he wasn't going to try it in one-off fashion Tuesday. Belt acknowledged he is more comfortable at first base, and playing there and only there probably has helped him settle in and make adjustments at the plate without adding another element of uncertainty.

"But if they asked me, I'd go out there," he told me. "I think I'd be OK."

Angel Villalona still doesnt have his U.S. visa and thatprocess remains a bureaucratic mess. But the one-time 2.1 million bonus baby is playing in Dominican SummerLeague games for the Giants affiliate. And hes doing quite well.

Villalona had a .407 average with two home runs in 14 games.Hes even drawn seven walks compared to 14 strikeouts in 54 at-bats.

Then again, Villalona should be dominating the competition.The former teenage prospect is now a soon-to-turn 22-year-old playing againstmostly teenagers.

If you've forgotten, Villalona hasn't stepped foot in the U.S. since he was arrested and charged in the 2009 fatal shooting of a barroom patron in the Dominican Republic. After two years, the charges were dropped -- reportedly because witnesses changed their stories.

Youve probably heard this a billion times already, but for Wednesdays 11:05 a.m.game here in Washington, the first bus will leave the Giants' hotel at 8 a.m. The second bus will leave at9 a.m.

I just wish Guillermo Mota were still on the active roster.Id take 10:47 in the Mota arrival pool.

Former Giants top prospect earns first career MLB win with Twins

Former Giants top prospect earns first career MLB win with Twins


MINNEAPOLIS -- Adalberto Mejia made the most of his brief stint back in the majors with the Minnesota Twins by getting his first big-league win.

Robbie Grossman, Max Kepler and Chris Gimenez all homered to help Mejia and the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 8-4 in the second game Sunday to salvage a split of a doubleheader.

Mejia (1-1) was the Twins' 26th active player for the second game and allowed three runs in seven innings, on two home runs by Salvador Perez - who also went deep in the first game.

Mejia's reward for his first win? A trip back to Triple-A Rochester.

"I'm going to go down there and work on the things they told me work on," Mejia said through interpreter Carlos Font. "Then it will be up to them to see when I get back."

Grossman and Kepler each hit two-run homers in the first inning, and Brian Dozier had an RBI double in the second off Ian Kennedy (0-4) in his first game back from the disabled list.

Brandon Moss hit two of Kansas City's four home runs in the opener of the doubleheader, and Perez and Jorge Bonifacio each hit two-run homers to lead the Royals to a 6-4 win earlier in the day.

With the split, the Twins are now 7-1 on the year against the Royals. Kansas City's win in the first game snapped a seven-game losing streak against Minnesota.

Kennedy, who returned after missing time with a hamstring strain, said he felt fine physically. He walked three batters and gave up a pair of two-run homers in just two innings Sunday.

"He was way out of whack," manager Ned Yost said. "His leg was fine. He felt normal, felt good. Just timing was off, rhythm was off."


Mike Minor's road back to the majors was not an easy one. Shoulder surgery kept him out of the majors for two years and resulted in a move to the bullpen.

Minor got his first victory since 2014 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in the first game Sunday. He relieved Jake Junis with a 5-2 lead in the fifth, two outs and two on. The 29-year-old left-hander walked Max Kepler, then retired Kennys Vargas on a popup. Minor retired the side in order in the sixth.

Minor had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder in May 13, 2015, and did not appear in the major leagues in 2015 and 2016. Minor, who signed a $7.25 million, two-year contract with the Royals in February 2016, got his first major league victory since Aug. 28, 2014, for Atlanta.


Kansas City's Jake Junis, a 24-year-old right-hander, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha and made his first big league start after a pair of relief appearances. He allowed two runs, five hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings, leaving after RBI singles from Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano.

Junis found out Saturday that he would be making his first career start. He didn't pitch deep enough to get the win, but impressed manager Ned Yost before the Royals optioned Junis back to Omaha after the game.

"I thought he did a nice job," Yost said. "We tried to get him through that fifth inning, but we needed to win this game."


Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon missed the second game to join his wife, who is due to give birth on Monday. Infielder Raul Mondesi replacing Gordon on the roster but was optioned to Triple-A Omaha after the game. That means LHP Miguel Almonte, initially the Royals' 26th active player Sunday, remains on the 25-man roster. ... RHP Al Alburquerque was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Junis.


Royals: RHP Nate Karns had his pitching arm evaluated after Friday's start against Minnesota. Manager Ned Yost said fluid was found in the elbow area but Karns does not have a strain. Karns exited his start Friday after five innings and threw just 72 pitches due to stiffness in his arm.

Twins: RHP Phil Hughes was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday with shoulder discomfort. Hughes took the loss in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader. Right-hander Kyle Gibson will take Hughes' place on the roster.


Royals: LHP Jason Vargas (5-2, 2.03 ERA) starts Monday's series opener at the New York Yankees.

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (0-4, 8.20 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to start Monday against Baltimore.

Heston makes first start with Mariners, allows seven in three innings

Heston makes first start with Mariners, allows seven in three innings


SEATTLE -- Yolmer Sanchez had a two-run single in Chicago's five-run first inning, Derek Holland pitch eight strong innings and the White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 8-1 Sunday.

Tim Anderson had three hits and two RBIs for the White Sox, including his fifth home run - a solo shot in the third inning - and Matt Davidson added two hits and two RBIs. Sanchez's single in the first extended his hitting streak to 12 games, tying a career high.

Holland (4-3) gave up a run and six hits while striking out six and walking two. He finished his longest outing of the season by striking out the side in the eighth inning.

Nelson Cruz hit his 11th home run in the seventh for the Mariners, who have lost three straight.

Seattle starter Chris Heston (0-1), recalled from Triple-A Tacoma before the game to make his first major league start since Oct. 2, 2015, was roughed up for seven runs and seven hits in three innings. He walked the bases loaded in the first before giving up four straight hits.

Heston became the 11th pitcher to start for the Mariners this season, the most in the major leagues. In his only other appearance this year, he gave up five runs on seven hits in two innings of relief against Detroit on April 25.


The White Sox turned four double plays, equaling the team's season high - set Saturday.


White Sox: OF Leury Garcia was back in the starting lineup after missing two games. Garcia was hit on the elbow in Thursday's series opener.

Mariners: 1B Danny Valencia missed his second straight game after hurting his left wrist on a slide in Friday's game, and had an MRI Sunday. First baseman Daniel Vogelbach was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma and started at first base in his place. ... Seattle manager Scott Servais said LHP James Paxton, on the DL with a left forearm strain, will probably have a rehab assignment at Double-A Arkansas later this week. If all goes well Paxton could return after the Mariners' upcoming eight-game road trip. ... OF Mitch Haniger (strained right oblique) will also likely start a rehab assignment this week.


White Sox: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (3-4, 4.29) starts in Chicago's series opener at Arizona. Gonzalez is 0-4 with a 6.94 ERA in his last four starts.

Mariners: Seattle has a day off Monday. RHP Christian Bergman starts Tuesday at Washington. Bergman is coming off the best outing of his career, when he held Oakland scoreless over 7 1/3 innings with a career high nine strikeouts.