EXTRA BAGGS: Who should catch Timmy next?

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EXTRA BAGGS: Who should catch Timmy next?

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO Buster Posey wanted to catch Tim Lincecum onWednesday, and Bruce Bochy knew it.

The Giants manager usually makes sure to explain his lineupdecisions to players in advance, and so he brought Posey into his office afterTuesday nights game.

I told him the plan, Bochy said. He wants to catch. Healso knows it makes sense (to go easy) with a day game after a night game. Ijust want to make sure he knows why, because he does a great job for us andwith this staff, going back to when we brought him up in 2010. Hes a specialtalent. Hell be back there.

Did Bochy think that Lincecum and Posey were having anyissues working together?

I dont, but I do think its fair to say that theres timesa pitchercatcher relationship can get off being on the same page, Bochy toldme. For no particular reason, you can get in a rut. Its something that getsresolved with time.

With Buster, though, you wont have any more confidence ina guy being able to handle the staff. Just look at the ERAs of pitchers whenhes out there. This is more of a Lets break it up kind of a thing.

Bochy shared those thoughts with me before Hector Sanchezcaught seven shutout innings from Lincecum, who emphatically broke his 10-startwinless streak. It was the second consecutive time Sanchez worked with thetwo-time Cy Young Award winner.

RECAP: Giants shut out, sweep Dodgers

All of a sudden, Lincecum has a streak of 12 consecutivescoreless innings.

So Bochy will have a tough decision to make when Lincecummakes his next start Tuesday at Washington. The Giants will be coming off atravel day. There wont be any reason to rest Posey.

This looms as a very interesting and sensitive issue, ifsomething less than a full-blown controversy. Even with Matt Cains perfectgame and Melky Cabreras All-Star first half and Pablo Sandovals constantenergy, no two Giants have a national profile to match that of Lincecum andPosey.

Now Lincecum is finally having success -- and its withSanchez behind the dish. In some markets, on some teams, with some pricklier ormore prideful personalities, this could be a very big deal.

Instead, here is what Posey said after Lincecums brilliantouting in their 3-0 victory over the Dodgers:

Give Sanchez a lot of credit. I think he got beat up todayand he hung in there and did a great job.

I asked Posey: Was it important for Bochy to take him asideand explain the plan?

Oh, I think its nice to just have that heads up so I knowIm playing first base, just from a mindset standpoint, he said. And theysure have worked well together the last couple times, havent they?

But Posey said he didnt get the message that Lincecum wouldbe working with Sanchez from now on.

Not at all, Posey said. As of now, I look forward tocatching him the next time. But well see.

What is Bochy saying? Will Sanchez, who already has becomeBarry Zitos regular batterymate, catch Lincecum the next time

Could be, Bochy said. I could put Buster at first base. But I dont want toget caught in whos going to catch who now. Sure, its been two good games.Thats why I did it the last game, to break it up.

Weve got one of the best in the game in Buster. Hes ourcatcher and hell be doing the lions share of the catching.

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Lincecums take? It didnt seem to matter who was catching him.His battles were more internal.

Ive just been trying to eliminate any kind of doubt I had,even leading up to whether it would be Sanchez catching or not, he said. Iwas just trying to eliminate negatives and get back to throwing strikes andjust compete out there.

No doubt, Lincecum was energized by that foul pop thatSanchez caught with an incredible, body-thudding grab in the fourth inning.Sanchez got the wind knocked out of him and was dizzy for a bit, but was fineand finished the game. He got whacked on the side of the helmet by a foul ballon Monday, too.

BAGGARLY: Lincecum says 'Enough is enough'
He did an outstanding job back there, Lincecum said. Iknow I threw a lot of balls in the dirt to beat the crap out of him, but hestill stuck with it and stuck with me.

There isnt any talk of moving Posey out from behind theplate for good. But theyve got a talented, 22-year-old switch-hitter anddefender in Sanchez. So its only natural that Poseys position will remain atopic for discussion.

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Brandon Crawford was in a 1-for-14 slump that knocked hisOPS down to .584, with some hard outs and line drives mixed in there. Hedecided something needed to change.

So he and Emmanuel Burriss huddled together to choose somenew walk-up music. He wanted something poppy and upbeat. Crawford was thinkingabout Call Me Maybe, but friends dont let friends make decisions like that.

Its never a bad idea to listen to your wife, though. Sowhen Jalynne Crawford suggested Stronger by Kelly Clarkson, thats what wentinto the rotation.

Wouldn't you know it? Her husband got three hits, including a triple. He even hadthe good mojo of getting an infield hit after a ground ball had originally beencalled an error. The official scorer reviewed the play and changed the call.

So Crawford is stuck with Kelly Clarkson now.

Worked so far, he said. Gotta keep it going.

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As the Sacramento Bee pointed out, the only Dodger to reachthird base in the entire three-game series was pitcher Chad Billingsley.

Amazing.

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Here's a list of the other six times in Giants franchise history that they threw three consecutive shutouts:

July 5-8, 1988: Terry Mulholland and Rick Reuschel beat the Cubs, then Mike LaCoss shut out the Cardinals at Candlestick Park.

May 11-13, 1960: Sam Jones and Jack Sanford shut out the Phillies, then Mike McCormick outdueled the Dodgers' Don Drysdale.

April 24-25, 1954: Marv Grissom beat Robin Roberts, then Sal Maglie and Johnny Antonetti did the rest in a doubleheader sweep.

July 27-29, 1948: Raise your hands if you've heard of Giants pitchers Larry Jansen, Clint Hartung or Dave Koslo. They yielded nothing to a Reds team in a series that included opposing pitchers Johnny Vander Meer (yes, that one), Herm Wehmeier and Ken Roffensberger. That is one Teutonic rotation right there.

April 19 to May 2, 1919: This was the least likely string of three shutouts in franchise history because it came at Philadelphia's old Baker Bowl, which makes Coors Field look like Petco. The scores were 6-0, 15-0 and 6-0.

The Giants have never thrown four consecutive shutouts. Not since 1919, at least. No pressure, Madison Bumgarner.

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Not only did the Dodgers fail to score a run in a three-gameseries against their archrivals for the first time in history, let slip solepossession of first place for the first time since April 10 and lose AndreEthier to an oblique ailment in the first inning, but

Their equipment truck broke down on 101 while en route toSFO.

Really.

Morse, Arroyo stun Dodgers, lift Giants to thrilling comeback win

Morse, Arroyo stun Dodgers, lift Giants to thrilling comeback win

SAN FRANCISCO — This spring, Hunter Pence briefly tried to cut back on his coffee intake. The experiment did not last long for a player who is pure caffeine on and off the field, but even Pence is occasionally in need of more than a large cold brew. 

Pence tried to stay upbeat throughout a sluggish start to the season, but around him was a clubhouse in need of energy. Christian Arroyo walked through the door on Monday. Two days later, Michael Morse arrived.

“That’s quite an energy jolt,” Pence said of Arroyo. “Morse, it’s been an energy jolt as well.”

The two recent River Cats sent a pair of jolts through a stadium that was sold out for the 499th consecutive time. Arroyo hit a two-run homer in the seventh, his first in the big leagues. Morse went deep in the eighth for his first big league hit in two years and first homer as a Giant since the 2014 NLCS. 

Pence is close friends with Morse and and admirer of Arroyo, the 21-year-old who has taken a locker a few feet away. He made sure neither jolt went to waste, hitting a walk-off sacrifice fly in the 10th to give the Giants a thrilling 4-3 win they hope they can build on.

“That was a shot in the arm,” Morse said.

The big slugger was just that earlier Wednesday. Morse agreed to terms on a minor league deal at Pence’s wedding last winter and he was on track for opening day before a hamstring injury. He was so excited by Wednesday’s call back to San Francisco that he beat Bruce Bochy to the park. The manager tried to lower expectations before the game, telling reporters that Morse would not be a regular starter, especially in left, where the Giants have watched a black hole open. 

Morse was here for the late innings, for the moment when Bochy looks at him and says simply, “Get ready, Mo.” For most of Wednesday’s game, it looked like that big moment wouldn’t come. Alex Wood took a no-hitter into the sixth but he was pulled in the seventh by a Dodgers staff trying to protect his arm. Sergio Romo entered and soon faced a kid who was 19 the first time he walked into Romo’s clubhouse. 

“He’s been doing the same thing in the big leagues with good results for a long time,” Arroyo said. 

Arroyo got the slider that’s always coming, low and away, and he drilled it deep to left-center. He hit only three homers last year but Giants management felt the 36 doubles at Richmond showed a developing power bat. The strength has come quickly, and the ball carried into the first row of seats. 

“I looked up and saw the ump waving and I was like, ‘I’ve got to slow down,’” Arroyo said, smiling. “I tried to slow down and take it all in.”

As Arroyo crossed the plate and looked to the sky, his family shared hugs — without spilling a nacho — in a section overlooking the home dugout. The ballpark roared. A 3-0 deficit had been nearly erased. 

“Now it’s a one-run game,” Bochy said. “Anything can happen.”

Even by that standard, Morse’s blast was improbable. This is a player who didn’t have a hit last season before being sent home by the Pittsburgh Pirates. A player who, at 35, was having a poor spring before he announced to a reporter one day that he was going to hit a homer -- and then promptly did. On a rehab assignment over the past week, Morse had a .250 average and no homers, but he insisted to general manager Bobby Evans that his swing was ready. 

Evans believed, and Morse rewarded him with a moment that had everyone in the park throwing it back to 2014. Just as in the deciding game of the NLCS against the Cardinals, Morse was sent up as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. Sidewinding Pat Neshek was replaced by fire-balling Pedro Baez, but the approach was the same. 

“Swing hard,” Morse said. “Just in case you hit it.”

Baez kept pumping fastballs and Morse turned on one at 97 mph. He raised his arm the same way he did three years ago, an inning before Travis Ishikawa’s heroics. 

“I’m not going to lie,” Bochy said. “I was thinking about that game against St. Louis.”

All the Giants were. 

“You kind of just sit there and shake your head a little bit because it was very similar to his last homer here,” Posey said. “Even his excitement out of the box was similar.”

Morse said he didn’t intend to strike the same pose. 

“I was like, ‘I hope I didn’t strike out and I’m just running around the bases,’” he said, laughing. “It was cool, man. Not only for me, but for the team.”

For four innings, the surging bullpen made sure the homers would not be a fun footnote to another loss. Gorkys Hernandez kicked off the winning rally in the 10th with a single. He was pushed along by a stolen base, walk and bunt. Pence stepped in with no outs and engaged in one of the strangest battles of a career full of them. 

Ross Stripling, a starter with a deep repertoire, kept pumping 94 mph fastballs up near Pence’s eyes. Pence swung through one, fouled off five, and took three more for balls. Only one of the pitches he saw was in the strike zone. In the dugout, Posey shook his head in amusement. 

“It was kind of hard not to laugh,” Posey said. “He’s probably the only guy who can do that.”

Some Giants couldn’t hold the laughter in, even in a tense spot.

“He had that ‘Thou shall not walk’ going in that at-bat,” Bochy said. “He probably expanded as much as I’ve ever seen. If he would have walked it would have gone down as one of the more amazing walks with all the balls he swung at.”

On a night full of so much energy, a walk would have been an anticlimactic ending. Pence, who had been expecting a curveball the whole at-bat, lofted a 10th fastball deep enough to left to score Arroyo and send the Giants streaming out of the dugout. 

Arroyo, the youngest of them all, went sprinting across the infield. Morse followed, and soon he had Pence wrapped in a hug. Hours earlier, he had promised that at the very least, he would bring energy to the clubhouse. He delivered more than anyone could have imagined.

“To do that is one of those special moments that can change a season,” Pence said. “It was electric ... Morsey being Morsey.”

Instant Replay: Arroyo, Morse go deep, Giants walk off on Dodgers

Instant Replay: Arroyo, Morse go deep, Giants walk off on Dodgers

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Michael Morse hoped to bring a little levity to a battered clubhouse Wednesday. On his first day as a Giant since the 2014 World Series, he ended up bringing the most thrilling win of the season. 

Morse’s pinch-hit homer in the eighth shook AT&T Park and tied the game. His good friend Hunter Pence won it with a sacrifice fly in the 10th, giving the Giants a 4-3 win over the Dodgers. 

The 10th-inning rally started with Gorkys Hernandez’s single off Ross Stripling. Hernandez stole second and Conor Gillaspie drew a walk, and both runners were safe when Adrian Gonzalez went to third on Nick Hundley’s bunt. Pence flied out to deep left on the 10th pitch of his at-bat. The Giants had been 0-13 when trailing after seven. Morse  helped change all that.

Morse’s homer came an inning after Christian Arroyo’s first career homer. The newcomers saved a night that started with nothing but failure. 

The Giants entered with four games this month where they failed to put a runner on the first time through the order. Lefty Alex Wood stayed with the theme. Brandon Belt finally touched first with a one-out walk in the fourth but it wasn’t until the sixth that a Giant — Drew Stubbs — picked up a hit.

By that time, the Dodgers led 3-0. Johnny Cueto worked around some early trouble but Corey Seager got to him in the sixth. The young shortstop led off with a mammoth blast on a 3-2 pitch that landed a couple dozen rows up in left-center. The homer was tracked at 462 feet per Statcast, tied for the longest in the Majors this season.

The Dodgers went up 2-0 when Chase Utley blooped a single to left with the bases loaded. Utley was 1-for-31 at the time. Andrew Toles beat out a grounder to bring home a third run. 

The Giants looked dead in the water, but Wood — the Dodgers’ swingman — was pulled after 77 pitches and old friend Sergio Romo immediately opened the door. Buster Posey hit a one-out single and Arroyo lined a slider just over the fence in left-center.

Morse’s first at-bat as a Giant in three years sent an even bigger charge through the park. He got a 97 mph fastball from Pedro Baez with two strikes and blasted it to left. Morse held his arm up right away and screamed as he rounded first.

Starting pitching report: Cueto was charged with three runs on seven hits and two walks. He’ll finish April with a 5.10 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. After holding opposing hitters to a .238 average last year, he’s getting hit at a .271 clip this season. 

Bullpen report: Steven Okert did a great job of settling the place down, throwing a scoreless inning before Arroyo’s homer and retiring two more immediately after. 

At the plate: The 21-year-old Arroyo calmly clapped his hands once as he rounded first. He was pushed out of the dugout for a curtain call as the park roared. Most impressive of all, his mom, Kimberly, didn’t drop a single nacho as she celebrated in the stands.

In the field: Stubbs made a diving catch to open the seventh and Gorkys Hernandez followed with a nifty sliding catch at the wall.

Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,572 human beings. Thursday will be the 500th consecutive (announced) sellout.

Up next: Matt Moore (1-3, 5.87 ERA) will try to turn his month around. The Dodgers will trot out young lefty Julio Urias, who spent three weeks in the minors to control his innings count.