Kruk & Kuip: Giants had their opportunities, but couldn't execute
SAN FRANCISCO -- Gregor Blanco is making the loss of Angel Pagan palatable. The center fielder who plays all three outfield positions entered Sunday batting .366 in June -- sixth highest in the National League -- and he added another two hits in the losing effort against the Marlins.
Pagan, who played Blanco's role when he filled in for an injured Carlos Beltran in New York, is happy to see the the "white shark" stepping up.
"He can contribute in any way, it's really good to see," Pagan said. "That's how good teams go through bad weather, guys like Gregor getting it done and stepping up."
"You lose your leadoff hitter and you hope someone can step up and soften that loss," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Gregor has done that. He's driving the ball, too."
The Giants will continue to count on Blanco to set the table, but the rest of the team needs to produce behind him. The Giants were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Sunday and 4-for-32 in the series.
Pablo Sandoval is expected to return for the Dodgers series on Monday, but the Giants could be a lot healthier. Just on the offense, Brandon Crawford is playing with sprained fingers, Marco Scutaro is still dealing with his "mallet finger," Andres Torres is playing with a banged-up knee, Tony Abreu is still hobbled by his left knee strain, and Angel Pagan could be looking at hamstring surgery.
Still, there's one thing the team won't do.
"There's no excuses," Hunter Pence said. "We just gotta keep playing, play better. If it was easy, if you just ran away with it, that'd be great, but that's not the way it is right now. And these things make you stronger, they make you better."
"You can try to make excuses but we didn’t get the job done," Matt Cain said. "We didn’t get guys in like we needed to and we didn’t throw like we needed to."
The Giants play 21 games in 22 days before the All-Star break, with 14 of those games on the road. They trail the first-place Diamondbacks in the NL West standings by three games. While the manager acknowledged the importance of the upcoming stretch, his players are staying true to the approach.
"Gotta get the victories, no matter where we play -- at home or on the road," Hector Sanchez said.
For right fielder Hunter Pence, nothing changes.
"This is the biggest game of the year," Pence said. "That's my approach every game."
Bochy was asked if he felt like he needed help via trade in a number of areas. While the manger refrained from requesting reinforcements in the form of a big bat or starting pitcher, he acknowledged the team could use some relief.
"You look in the bullpen," Bochy said, "that's where we need some help."
It also falls in line with GM Brian Sabean's method of operation, as the Giants have picked up a number of key arms around the deadline in recent years.
Following the Giants' loss Sunday, Bruce Bochy said he, GM Brian Sabean and head athletic trainer David Groeschner have not made a decision on Chad Gaudin.
Gaudin, 30, was unable to throw bullpen sessions Saturday or Sunday after he took a line drive to his pitching forearm on Thursday.
If Gaudin cannot go against the Dodgers on Tuesday, the Giants will turn to 24-year-old left-hander Mike Kickham.
Marlins rookie Marcell Ozuna enjoyed his trip to the Bay Area. The proud consumer of In-N-Out lit the Giants up, going 6-for-14 (.428) with a home run, two doubles and six RBI over four games.
"We made some awful pitches to him,” Bochy said. “He’s a young, gifted player. He came into this series struggling, but certainly got on track.
"He killed us."
Pinch hitter Hector Sanchez blooped in a single in the Giants' 11-inning win over Miami to sink the Marlins on Saturday afternoon.
"That's a special thing for any player to get that hit," Sanchez said.
How did the catcher with an itch to punish fish celebrate punctuating the team's league-leading eighth walkoff of the season?
"I went fishing," the catcher said Sunday, describing his trip to a nearby lake with Marco Scutaro and Andres Torres. "My first time."
After the Marlins got the better of the four-game series with three wins at AT&T Park, it's not surprising the trio didn't get a bite.