Giants

EXTRAS: Sandoval does not fear contact, etc.

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EXTRAS: Sandoval does not fear contact, etc.

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SAN FRANCISCO Pablo Sandoval took exception to John McDonald's non-slide into third base in the eighth inning of Wednesday's loss to Arizona, offering words and a threatening physical approach after his hard tag sent McDonald sprawling -- and out -- to the ground.The benches quickly cleared, although nothing more than words were exchanged, and if it sounds familiar, it's because this isn't the first time Sandoval has raised the emotional investment in a game started by Madison Bumgarner.Just as he said when he bowled over Houston Astros catcher Chris Snyder to score in a 5-1 Giants win back on July 13, "It's part of the game," Sandoval said Tuesday. But the July collision at home plate is part of the game. A benches-clearing scrum after a forceout at third base is not."Pablo felt like he elbowed him in the chest," Bochy clarified. "Tempers flare." Bochy seemed to hit it on the head with that second comment. Sandoval, who was retired on a 1-6-3 putout off the pitcher's glove in the Giants' seventh-inning rally, saw a chance to make his presence felt by the D'backs in another way, and he took it.Sandoval finished the game 0-for-4 after going 7-for-15 with four RBIs in his previous four games, but his strong emotions didn't carry over into the clubhouse, where he met the media unflustered."Moments like this happen," Sandoval said. "You don't think about it. It's part of the game"Although Sandoval claims he was under control at the time, it took his childhood friend from Venezuela Gerardo Parra, who was the most vocal in his attempt to quell Sandoval's emotions, to ease the big third baseman. The bear-hug from third base umpire Greg Gibson didn't hurt either."I was calm," Sandoval said. "I'm not that kind of guy. I don't like fights."Like them or not, it's clear the 240-pound Sandoval won't shy away from contact, and it's clear his team has his back."I was in the clubhouse," Bumgarner said. "Or I would have been out there. I don't know what his intentions were, but yeah."And by the way he said it, you knew he would have been the first one on the field barking.--Madison Bumgarner allowed four earned runs over six and one-third innings and lowered the ERA of the starting rotation since Aug. 28 from 7.88 to 7.51."As a group," Bochy said. "We're not throwing as well."And while he felt Bumgarner's outing was The Giants have been fortunate that their lapse in pitching has coincided with a torrent of offense. But it will be difficult, as Tuesday's starter Trevor Cahill showed, to maintain an offensive output that is nearly two whole runs higher than their 4.39 average runs per game.The Giants starting pitchers, who owned the fifth-best staff ERA in the majors at 3.60 just a week ago, feed off each other. What the Giants need more than anything is a deep and dominant outing -- a vintage outing -- from Tim Lincecum against the Dodgers on Friday.--While the players downplayed the importance of the upcoming three-game home series with Los Angeles, they know it's pivotal. Twenty six games remain for the Giants, and six of those games are against the Dodgers. If the Giants let the Dodgers hang around, it could all come down to the final series of the year -- a three-game set between the Giants and Dodgers in Chavez Ravine.The Dodgers, who lost 4-3 to the Padres and Carlos Quentin's sacrifice fly, remain four and one-half games behind the Giants in the NL West. RELATED: MLB standings"It's a big series," Bochy acknowledged. "Every game is important. It's going to be intense out there. That's why you play the game. That's what you look forward to."
--The Giants didn't do the things a baseball team needs to do to win Tuesday; they were hurt offensively by double plays, and defensively by two-out hits. Five of the Diamondbacks' six runs were knocked in with two outs."Two out hits killed us," Bochy acknowledged.It started with Miguel Montero's two-out single in the first inning that plated the first run of the game. It continued in the fourth when John McDonald's single scored Chris Johnson for the second run of the game. And it didn't stop in the seventh, when Paul Goldschmidt, Montero and Chris Johnson strung three hits together to score another three, all with two outs.On the other side of the ball, the Giants grounded into double plays to end their only run-scoring rally in the seventh, and a potential rally in the eighth.It was a late-inning trend in the losing series to Arizona. In Tuesday's extra-innings loss, the Giants grounded into another two double plays, including Hector Sanchez's 4-6-3, that abruptly ended the eighth inning while the bases were loaded.--The Giants called on their bullpen 21 times over the three-game series with the Diamondbacks. Their day off Thursday will be well-used."Hopefully we get a little bit deeper in the game with our starters," Bochy said. "Get back to getting these quality starts and make it easier on the bullpen.
"We did use a lot of them. There's some tired guys down there.
"I guess you have to look at the silver lining. Some of them are getting some experience out there, getting in a groove. It's not that you want to see 'em out there as much as we've been using them, but they'll benefit from this down the stretch."
As long as the starting rotation recaptures some semblance of its dominant form and keeps the bullpen from burning out, Bochy's silver lining could be dead on.

'Piss poor' seventh inning haunts Giants at Dodger Stadium

'Piss poor' seventh inning haunts Giants at Dodger Stadium

LOS ANGELES — The Giants put together a long rally in the top of the seventh inning Friday, scoring three runs to take a 4-2 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Matt Moore walked the leadoff hitter on four pitches. 

“You don’t deserve anything really that good after something like that,” Moore said. “That’s piss poor.”

Nothing good came after the walk, as Moore expected. That man, Austin Barnes, would come around to score. Three more Dodgers would, too. It added up to a 6-4 win for the Dodgers. For the best team in the National League, this was a familiar feeling. For the most disappointing team in baseball, the same was true. 

The Giants have played so well against the Dodgers this season, but in one inning at Chavez Ravine, they fell apart. They looked exactly like the team that has bottomed out over the last calendar year, and none of the pitchers who threw in the inning were spared. 

Moore had a good night in general, and his second half is showing signs of promise. But he was left angry with the result, and much of that anger was directed at himself. An hour after it happened, Moore was still stewing over the four pitches to Barnes and the double he gave up to Joc Pederson.

“You’ve got to make him earn his way on there,” Moore said of Barnes. “I’ve got to be better than that in the seventh.”

Moore’s night ended when Yasiel Puig entered the on-deck circle. Puig hasn’t hit lefties this year, but Bruce Bochy didn’t like the look of some pitches Moore had thrown in the inning, and he was pulled after 96 pitches. George Kontos entered and got Puig, a righty-destroyer, to hit an RBI grounder to short. Then he hung a 3-2 slider to Chris Taylor that was knocked into left for a game-tying double. 

“He’s been very good at times,” Bochy said of Kontos. “But the breaking ball that he’s left up, that’s the one that’s hurting him.”

Josh Osich was called upon and put a curveball on a tee. Corey Seager blasted it and that was that. The Giants sent Steven Okert down to the minors last weekend, leaving Osich as their lefty in the ‘pen. Bochy reiterated that he needs more from the young pair. Neither has taken hold of a long-term job since Will Smith went down to Tommy John surgery. 

“It’s their time,” Bochy said. “We need one of them to step up.”

Perhaps another reliever has. Kyle Crick struck out two in an impressive eighth, lowering his ERA to 1.88. It was an inning with less at stake, and that’s been the norm for Crick. He has pitched 12 times in the big leagues and 11 of the games have been losses. The lone win was a 9-2 blowout. 

The Giants have said they want to get Crick into higher-pressure spots. The inning before his on Friday night might have accelerated that plan. 

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants stumble in seventh vs Dodgers

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants stumble in seventh vs Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES — The Giants have just about nothing to brag about this season, but coming into this weekend, they could at least hold onto the fact that they have played the Dodgers tougher than anyone else in the National League. Or, at least they *had.*

Matt Moore and the bullpen gave up a two-run lead in the seventh and wasted good work from the lineup in the top of the inning. The end came quickly. The Giants, who entered with a 6-4 record against the Dodgers, lost 6-4. 

They are 32 1/2 games behind the Dodgers. That is not a misprint. Anyway, here are five things to know from Chavez Ravine ... 

--- Bruce Bochy made an interesting decision in the seventh with two in scoring position and Matt Moore nearing 100 pitches. George Kontos entered to face Yasiel Puig, who has a .898 OPS against righties and .494 OPS against lefties. Did it work? Not really. Puig grounded out to short, but a run scored. Chris Taylor then doubled to tie the game. Josh Osich entered and gave up a two-run homer. 

--- Early on, it was a shortstop show. Lefty hitters Corey Seager and Brandon Crawford traded solo shots off southpaw starters. Crawford has seen a noticeable uptick at the plate since the All-Star break. 

--- Jae-Gyun Hwang celebrated his 30th birthday with an RBI single and mad dash home for a run in the three-run seventh. He saved another run with a diving play at third. 

--- Gorkys Hernandez drove an RBI double into center in the seventh to give the Giants a 4-2 lead. He is batting .326 over his past 32 games. 

--- Kyle Crick has pitched in only one game the Giants have won (yes, we realize they don't win often, but still). He blew through the Dodgers in the bottom of the eighth. It's probably about time Crick gets a shot to protect a lead.