EXTRA BAGGS: Zito upset he didn't shake Posey more, etc.

868807.jpg

EXTRA BAGGS: Zito upset he didn't shake Posey more, etc.

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON Barry Zito didnt express any ire toward Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy for giving him a quick hook while the Giants led 4-3 in thethird inning Wednesday night.

But with surprising candor, Zito did acknowledge that hewasnt always on the same page with catcher Buster Posey.

After admitting that he lacked focus and consistency, Zitosaid he was hurt not so much bad pitches but bad selections. Its just amatter of throwing the pitch I want to throw.

Asked the natural follow-up question, if it was anadjustment for him to work with Posey, who didnt catch his first 18 starts ofthe season, Zito said he needed to shake more and throw his pitch.

Posey, he has a great idea for hitters, but you cant alwaysguess 100 percent of the time, said Zito, who gave up three runs on sevenhits. Im upset that I threw a couple changeups there. Thats my job to shake.Its nothing Posey is doing wrong.

Zito especially wanted back the changeups he threw in thesecond inning, when Chris Snyder doubled on one and No. 8 hitter Brandon Barnes,with two outs and a base open, hit another changeup for an RBI single.

Sometimes youre just fixed up to go, Zito said. You seea sign and go, but its on me to throw my pitch.

Snyder was safe at the plate when Posey couldnt reach backfar enough to apply the swipe tag that coaches have instructed him to execute.(Although Angel Pagans throw was off line, so Posey had no choice but to driftaway from the plate to receive it.)

Bochy had Hector Sanchez work with Zito for the first 18starts of the year as he sought to keep continuity with his batterymates whilealso getting regular rest for Posey. Bochy knew he needed to pace hiscleanup-hitting catcher, who was coming off a major ankle injury sustained in acollision at the plate last season. The Giants have reaped the benefits ofthat, as Posey has been perhaps the NLs best hitter since the All-Star break.

Posey is getting pushed harder now as the Giants enter thepennant stretch and that means catching more often on Zitos day to pitch. Hehas caught four of Zitos last five starts, and six out of 26 overall.

Asked about re-establishing a relationship with Zito, Poseysaid it wasnt a concern and labeled it as just a topic that the media likes totalk about.

Clearly, Zito didnt mind volunteering it as a topicWednesday night. And although the sample isnt the largest, its interesting tonote that Zito has a 5.93 ERA with Posey and a 4.03 ERA the rest of the time.

Yet Zito also took ownership, saying he needed to do abetter job.

I know these are must-win ballgames and I didnt have ittonight, Zito said. It was a situation where my timing was off. So I wasupset with myself. Itll be there and it wont be there. Thats on me to justbe the same guy every time. Not results-wise but focus-wise, take one pitch ata time like I talk about.

At least Bochy said Zito wasnt battling any physicalissues.

He was up. He wasnt sharp, Bochy said. Ive had him fora few years and I just thought he wasnt at the top of his game. You hatetaking starters out, especially with the lead. Hes fine. He was just off.

--
Its going to become tougher for Bochy to keep Joaquin Ariasout of the lineup, the way hes scalding the ball over the past several weeks.

"He's been a different player this past month," Bochy said.

One possibility that hasnt been mentioned yet: Play Marco Scutaro in leftfield and put Arias at second base.

First, Bochy wants to make sure Arias wrist is OK after hegot hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. He stayed in the game, but it wasntjust a love tap he received.

He might be pretty sore, Bochy said. Well check on himtomorrow.

--
It might be easy to sit down Brandon Crawford for Ariasagainst right-handers, but he just keeps bringing defensive value every night.Crawford entered on a double-switch in the eighth (with Arias moving to third)and immediately got tested on two bad-hop smashes. He handled them both with amagicians hands.

Hes so gifted there at shortstop, Bochy said. Still, fora young player to sit there and watch a game, then come in and make a play,its pretty impressive.

Compare Crawford to Houston third baseman Scott Moore, who entered on adouble-switch in the sixth and promptly made a throwing error that precededArias two-run triple.

--
Reports are that Andres Torres has cleared waivers, and as acouple readers pointed out, hes hitting .295 against left-handed pitching. ButIm not sure Mets GM Sandy Alderson would be so friendly as to hand him back tothe Giants. And besides, from what I understand, club officials arent in arush to bring Torres back.

--
Pablo Sandoval hit a pop fly that struck the roof here atMinute Maid Park, which I havent seen in this venue before. Sandoval laughedwhen I mentioned it after the game, also recalling the long foul fly heliterally hit out of Cincinnatis Great American Ball Park. As far as anyoneknew at the time, he was the first player to accomplish that feat.

(Kind of like the legendary Mike Laga, who once hit a foulball out of old Busch Stadium and became an everlasting answer to a tremendoustrivia question.)

I told Sandoval about a game I covered one time on theAngels beat in 2000 at the Metrodome, when Mo Vaughn hit a booster rocket thatwouldve been close to a 500-foot home run, but it struck the roof and droppedin left field a single, according to the ground rules.

The Angels lost 1-0.

Sandoval couldnt believe it.

Wow, he said. At least mine was just a foul ball.

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

SAN FRANCISCO — In the bottom of the eighth inning Monday, with the Giants finally running away with one, Johnny Cueto started blowing into a giant wad of bubble gum. He held two hands out, ready to catch remnants of an explosion as Brandon Crawford and Kelby Tomlinson looked on and smiled. 

A few minutes later, players started migrating to the dugout rail as they have done in each of the three starts Ryder Jones has made. They are ready to cheer on a rookie’s first big league hit, even if the wait has been an excruciating one for the third baseman. 

Bruce Bochy likes to say that your personality is better when you’re winning, and his players certainly showed that Monday in snapshots here and there. They woke up to a report that there were fractured in the clubhouse, caused in large part by the new closer. They denied it, they met as a group, and then, finally, they won. 

Jeff Samardzija pitched as he has for two months, the top of the lineup came through over and over again, and Brandon Crawford paced a golden night with the gloves. A 9-2 win over the Rockies was just the second since June 11 and it snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Rockies. Any win is meaningful at this point, but this one seemed to mean just a little bit more given the drama of the day. 

“Despite what people might think, we still have a pretty good group here and we get along just fine,” Crawford said. “We’re all rooting for each other.”

It’s one thing to support teammates off the field, and there’s been no indication that the Giants aren’t doing that. It’s quite another to be hand-in-hand between the lines, and for much of this season, Samardzija has been on an island. 

The right-hander has been Bochy’s best pitcher since Madison Bumgarner went down in the hills outside Denver. But he entered Monday with a 2-9 record and 4.74 ERA inflated by faulty defense. He hasn’t grumbled, but he has grown accustomed to the worst, and when Nolan Arenado bounced a ball deep to the hole in shortstop with two on and two outs in the third, Samardzija figured the game was probably tied. 

“I’m thinking maybe they charge it in the outfield and maybe make a play at home,” Samardzija said. “But with a guy like that at shortstop, things change so fast.”

Crawford scooped the ball on the edge of the grass. He would have liked nothing more than to make an otherworldly throw to first to nail his World Baseball Classic teammate, but he knew the best chance was at third. A couple of days ago, Crawford and Jones discussed how the rookie should cover third on such a play. Jones played it perfectly, retreating in time to catch Crawford’s inning-ending throw. 

“The best thing (about Crawford) is he doesn’t even talk about it,” Samardzija said.

No, Crawford put the spotlight on Jones.

“That’s a pretty heads-up play,” he said. “We talked about it and he was there. It was a funny coincidence.”

The play held the lead, and the Giants kept pushing. The top four hitters in the lineup finished with 10 hits, six RBI and six runs. Brandon Belt had an RBI triple in the five-spot. Crawford drove in a run behind him. Gorkys Hernandez and Kelby Tomlinson added insurance from the bottom. Bochy watched it all from the top step and saw a group collectively relax.

“Just quit fighting it so much,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent in this offense. There’s no reason they can’t put consistent runs on the board. Tonight I just thought the at-bats were so much better and the focus was. Once it started rolling, guys felt better about themselves, and it just got contagious.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies

posey-postgame.jpg
AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — On a day that started with controversy, Giants players called a meeting following batting practice. Perhaps they were talking about when and where to stretch. Perhaps a reminder was given to keep clubhouse complaints in the actual clubhouse. 

Or, perhaps, the players just decided that enough was enough. 

In a rare display, the Giants put a clean and complete game together. They beat the Rockies 9-2 at AT&T Park, getting just their second win since June 11 and snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Rockies. 

Jeff Samardzija continued his hot streak, the lineup was opportunistic and flashed some power, and the defense sparkled at times. Here are five things to know from the throwback night … 

—- Samardzija walked off to a standing ovation after throwing 112 pitches. He was charged with two earned in 6 1/3 innings. Ignore the record and ERA for a second — his FIP is 3.37 and his xFIP is 2.95. He really is having a very good and underrated season. 

—- Here’s another one for your Samardzija file: Over the past two months, he has 82 strikeouts and three walks. 

—- It was a good day in the race for another Brandon Crawford Gold Glove. Adeiny Hechavarria, one of the few in the National League who even approaches Crawford, was traded to the Rays. Crawford added to the reel by gunning a runner down on third and making a nifty spin-and-throw in the fourth to rob Ian Desmond of a hit. 

—- There are nights where Denard Span looks like a game-changer, and this was one of them. He had a single, walk and triple in his first three plate appearances, scoring twice as the Giants built a 5-0 lead. He was spry in center, too 

—- Nolan Arenado was 0 for 4. Apparently that’s legal now. (It was actually his ninth 0 for 4 or worse against the Giants, in 81 games.)

—- Bonus sixth fact since the Giants won a game: Sam Dyson, acquired basically for free, is the new setup man. That didn’t take long, and it probably won’t be changing anytime soon. Dyson gave up a single but struck out the other three batters he faced.