EXTRA BAGGS: Posey doesn't mind abuse from Lincecum


EXTRA BAGGS: Posey doesn't mind abuse from Lincecum


SAN FRANCISCO Buster Posey absorbed a painful foul tip offhis right foot. He dived and shifted to keep balls in the dirt in front of him.One bounced up and hit him in the well, you know.

Posey formed a battery with Tim Lincecum for the first timesince June 16. And a battering is what he received.

How did he come through it?

Fine, Posey said. I told him he can beat me up as much ashe wants, as long as we get outs.

Said Lincecum: I know Im a little bit wild, effectivelywild at times. Ill throw balls in the dirt and he did a good job picking them.I know it can be rough catching me. Im not a paint-on-the-edge guy. Ill getyou to chase.

"He was out there with an open mind because of what wevebeen through. It was, 'Lets reconnect and get back to it.'"

Their connection has been questioned, if only because Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy curiously had Hector Sanchez or Eli Whiteside catch each ofLincecums seven previous starts. The right-hander was 2-8 with a 6.19 ERA,mostly working with Posey. He was 2-3 with a 5.26 ERA in the seven-start runwith Sanchez and Whiteside. No appreciable difference, really.

Bochy continued to insist that he got away from having Poseycatch Lincecum, in part, because of the physical toll it exacts to receive the two-time Cy Young Award winner.

Its true: Sanchez took a beating almost every time hecaught Lincecum. And Posey definitely had a couple appendages to ice down after theGiants 4-1 victory over the New York Mets.

It was a good hurt.

Buster and I had a good connection there and a goodunderstanding of what we wanted to do with the hitters, Lincecum said. Westuck with that.

Bochy might not stick with the battery, though. It wasobvious why Posey had to catch Lincecum on Tuesday: It wasnt a day game aftera night game, the Giants were playing short without Angel Pagan or PabloSandoval to occupy the No. 5 spot and they needed all the offense they couldmuster to break a five-game losing streak.

(The Giants are back in first place by their lonesome, bythe way, after the Dodgers lost to the Diamondbacks.)
RELATED: MLB standings

The next time, Sunday in Denver, Bochy might think more about preserving hisAll-Star catcher, who needs to be paced to avoid an overly cranky left ankle.

Hell catch him sometimes, said Bochy, who lauded Poseysgame-calling and ball-blocking skills. It depends on how he feels. I thoughtwe needed Buster out there and he did a great job. Its a situation when Busterneeds a break, someone else will catch (Lincecum).

What did Bochy see out of Lincecum, who threw his thirdquality start out of four?

I saw what we usually see, the manager said. He pitchedlike the Timmy that we know. He attacked the zone with all his pitches. Hewas under control, throwing quality strikes. He had great poise with the basesloaded, facing a quality hitter. Its hard to throw a better pitch than that.

That would be the 1-2 curveball that Lincecum spun to freezepinch hitter David Wright with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, endinghis night. As the sellout crowd met the moment with playoff-level intensity, itmight have been the most important pitch that Lincecum has thrown all season.

The crowd gave me an added edge there when they rose up to theirfeet and were loud as hell, Lincecum said. I knew I kind of wanted to go toit. Its one of those freeze pitches and I only threw a handful of them. It wasprobably my best one.

Is the whole Posey-Lincecum thing overblown? Possibly. But it was also significant to see them work so well together again. As the Giants go down the stretch and the big games become bigger games, and the bigger games become must-win games, the Giants won't be able to keep Posey on the catch three-of-five schedule. The crowds will be louder, the moments will become bigger -- and Lincecum will have to throw some more bases-loaded, 1-2 curveballs with conviction.

It was a good one," Posey said. "It was down in the zone. But what sets it up are the quality pitches he made inside.

And Posey was there to call them.

I believe in all my catchers that they can catch me,Lincecum said. And Buster, I think he handles me just fine. Obviously, right?

Angel Pagans left hand was wrapped and he said he learnedhis lesson after injuring himself while taking a frustration hack with a batMonday night.

Pagan had X-rays that did not reveal a fracture. Hes likelyto miss another game or two.

I made good contact, Pagan said, smiling. If you know theconsequences, you don't do it. I learned my lesson."

(Yes, its his left hand that he injured. Bochy originallyreported it was Pagans right hand.)

Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers


Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — A 2-1 victory Saturday night at Dodger Stadium all but assured that the Giants will not lose 100 games. They still could, sure, because any sort of downslide is possible in this 2017 season, but they would really have to finish with some sort of ugly stretch. 

Still, it’s been a long season, so it was no surprise when Madison Bumgarner admitted to some sleepless nights since Opening Day. As for Saturday night …

“It’s going to be much easier to go to sleep tonight, because we won,” Bumgarner said.

The big lefty did the heavy lifting, throwing 7 2/3 dominant innings and offering one more reminder that his shoulder is 100 percent fine after a season-halting dirt bike accident. Bumgarner topped out at 93.5 mph, and even though Bruce Bochy thought Dodger Stadium might have had a hot gun on this night, the swings told the story of a good fastball. Bumgarner said this was as good as he has felt in a while. 

“He did look strong,” Bochy said. “He did have really good stuff tonight. It was really crisp.”

It was the kind of night that reminds you that, for all their issues, the Giants will start 2018 with a leg up on many others. They have Madison Bumgarner and you don’t, and that should lead to plenty of good over the course of 32 or 33 starts. 

“I think it’s good for the club to know, hey, he’s back,” Bochy said. “This is the kind of ball we can play.”

It was the brand Bochy appreciates: A strong start, a good bullpen, strong defense, and just enough offense. That’s how the Giants will win in 2018, if they are to do so, which bodes well for the man at the center of Saturday’s offense. The Giants plan to move Denard Span to left field and acquire a new center fielder, but they still lack depth in the organization, and Gorkys Hernandez has made it clear he would like to stick around. He had three hits — including two doubles — and a walk, scoring both Giants runs. 

After a slow start that almost got him released, Hernandez took off over the summer, providing a high average and sparkling defense at three spots. A left wrist tendon issue has slowed him in September, but he surprised the staff by being available for the final two weeks of games, and he said he’ll play through the end of the year before considering any rehab options 

“He certainly has made a statement,” Bochy said. “He’s one of our better athletes. He can play anywhere in the outfield, and what’s impressive is how he’s come on with the bat. A kid like this that plays defense the way he can, and shows he can do some things with the bat, he’s in the mix.”

Hernandez said he loves playing in San Francisco. He intends to spend his offseason getting healthy at his home in Scottsdale before competing for an outfield job. 

“Every time Bochy puts me in the lineup I’m trying to show everyone that I can be here and that I can be part of this team for a long time,” he said. 

Giants lineup: Span back in center, batting third vs Dodgers


Giants lineup: Span back in center, batting third vs Dodgers

Even with the Giants facing a left-handed pitcher Saturday night vs. the Dodgers, Bruce Bochy is going with Denard Span as his three-hitter.

San Francisco Giants (60-94)

1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Denard Span (L) CF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 3B
8. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
9. Madison Bumgarner (R) P

Los Angeles Dodgers (98-56)

1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Enrique Hernandez (R) LF
4. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
5. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
6. Austin Barnes (R) C
7. Kyle Farmer (R) 1B
8. Charlie Culberson (R) 2B
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu (R) P