Giants notes: Gearrin placed on DL, Bochy confident in return

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Giants notes: Gearrin placed on DL, Bochy confident in return

SAN FRANCISCO -- After his bullpen blew a lead Tuesday night, Giants manager Bruce Bochy promised to get with coaches Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner to discuss bullpen changes. The staff did meet, and a new reliever was added, but not because of anyone's struggles. 

Cory Gearrin was put on the disabled list Wednesday with a strained right shoulder and Albert Suarez was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento. Bochy said the training staff is confident that Gearrin will need just the two weeks. The sore shoulder is something he has dealt with in the past.

"It was going to be a few days (off) so we placed him on the DL to get this cleared up," Bochy said. "He's had a good first half and been used quite a bit. I don't think he was saying anything, but it was affecting his slider. It was obvious."

Gearrin was a revelation early on but his ERA has crept up to 3.89 thanks to a rough stretch. He gave up a go-ahead three-run homer to Nolan Arenado on a hanging slider Tuesday. 

Bochy hopes the break is good for Gearrin. The manager has said many times in the past that he wishes he could give all relievers a two-week rest during the season, but it's just not possible. Bochy's current group certainly can use the All-Star break. Four relievers rank in the top 18 in the National League in appearances. 

"We know we've been using these guys a lot," Bochy said. "We've had our struggles. We've had to pick up some guys, so that upped the usage."

--- Matt Cain will throw about 65 pitches for Triple-A Sacramento on Friday and Bochy said he'll make one more rehab appearance. With two days off on the first trip out of the break, it's possible that the Giants could skip the No. 5 spot and let Cain get additional work down in the minors. Bochy indicated that he might do that at least once. 

--- Matt Duffy ran on a treadmill and then took BP on the field, and he could start a rehab assignment during the break. But he won't be ready for the second-half opener next Friday night in San Diego. 

--- Bochy said Hunter Pence is "coming along and right on pace." It sounds like he could start a rehab assignment sometime next week. 

--- Gregor Blanco (knee) is feeling better and is available to pinch-hit tonight. Denard Span took early BP and said a trigger injection in his neck did wonders. He should start Friday. 

--- Jake Smith was claimed by the Padres, so the Giants lost a good arm during all this shuffling. Smith had a breakout 2015 but has struggled this season because of injuries. He was designated for assignment last week to clear a 40-man spot for Grant Green.

--- In case you missed it, I talked to Joe Panik about his concussion and the decision to continue playing. 

Headed for 100 losses, Giants quietly give up on "Don't Stop Believin'" tradition

Headed for 100 losses, Giants quietly give up on "Don't Stop Believin'" tradition

SAN FRANCISCO — At some point over the last month, the Giants quietly stopped playing “Don’t Stop Believin’” in the late innings of games they trail. 

It’s unclear exactly when it started, or who made the decision. A number of team employees, surveyed over the past week, had noticed. But nobody knew the exact details. Perhaps the longtime staple of AT&T Park was shelved on July 9, when FanGraphs dropped the playoff odds to 0.00 percent for the first time in a lost season. Maybe it was during a bad loss before that or a bad loss after that. You can take your pick. This season has been filled with so many of them it’s hard to keep track. 

Friday’s stood out, in part because this was the kind of night where Journey briefly made sense. The Giants gave Jeff Samardzija a 4-0 lead in the first inning against a Padres team that spent the early innings kicking and throwing the ball all over the field and making mistakes on the bases. It was 5-1 after three innings. By the sixth, the Padres had tied it. By the seventh, they had the lead. By the eighth, it was a three-run lead. 

Before the bottom of the eighth, the in-stadium crew played Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” for a crowd of a few thousand. Last weekend, Huey Lewis was the fill-in for Journey. On Wednesday, a game the Giants actually came back to win, the scoreboard played a singalong game to “Happy Together” by The Turtles. 

On this night, the Giants actually would come back. Conor Gillaspie hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth, tying the game and sending it into extras. The Giants had trailed by three with one out remaining, but the momentum provided by Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Gillaspie was just a blip. The Padres scored three in the 11th off George Kontos, who has pitched five times over the last eight days and was supposed to get a night to rest. 

Kontos was the last to give up runs in a 12-9 loss, but hardly the only one. Samardzija took blame after failing to get through five with a big early cushion. That put pressure on the tired bullpen, and the relievers blew it over and over again. The Padres scored runs in six consecutive innings at one point and had 20 hits. 

“We couldn’t stop them,” Bruce Bochy said, shaking his head. 

Nothing can apparently stop this skid. The Giants are 37-61 and six games behind the Padres. They are much closer to the No. 1 draft pick than they are to fourth place in their division. 

“Don’t Stop Believin’” survived the 2013 season. It survived 2015 and the second half of last year. Nothing can survive this season.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants lose marathon in extras to Padres

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants lose marathon in extras to Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — A few hundred, maybe a few thousand, stayed to watch the Giants late Friday night. The Giants did not make it worth the effort. 

Conor Gillaspie’s two-out homer in the ninth sent the game to extras, but the Giants lost 12-9 in a game that lasted nearly five hours. The Giants had trailed by three with two outs and nobody on in the ninth. They tied it. Instead of carrying that momentum over, they suffered yet another demoralizing loss. 

They have dropped both games of this series and they trail the Padres -- who had 20 hits -- by six games in the race for fourth place. Those are facts. Here are five more, mostly from earlier, when a young man harbored dreams of leaving a ballpark before 1 a.m. … 

—- Hector Sanchez took Jeff Samardzija deep to lead off the fourth, and at this point it’s flat-out hilarious. Sanchez has seven homers this season and three have come against his former team. He hit two homers at AT&T Park in 296 plate appearances as a Giant, and the fourth-inning blast gave him three in 11 plate appearances as a Padre. He also doubled in a run and singled. It’s an all-time revenge tour. Just go along for the ride. 

—- There were a ton of scouts on hand to watch two starting pitchers who could move in the next 10 days, and they left disappointed. Trevor Cahill gave up six earned on seven hits and four walks and lasted just 3 2/3 innings. Jeff Samardzija gave up eight hits and five earned in 4 1/3 innings. 

—- I dunno man, it’s really hard getting to five of these every night. Sam Dyson was good again. 

—- Gillaspie's pinch-hit homer was the sixth of his career. He's a hero around these parts, but perhaps Bobby Evans should see if a team out there was watching Friday and remembers his October run. Gillaspie could help a contender. 

—- When MLB inevitably introduces a pitch clock and pitchers start complaining, this will be the game I tell them to sit down and try to watch start to finish.