Giants pass through first fiery hoop, edge Reds


Giants pass through first fiery hoop, edge Reds


CINCINNATI This wasnt Kirby Puckett or Jim Leyritz. Thiswasnt Jack Buck and his lawnmower voice, kicking up gravel with "And wellsee ya tomorrow night!"

The Giants didnt survive with a swift stroke to thebleachers or a bold scamper from second base or even an emphatic strikeout thatwill be replayed for generations.

They survived while going 3-for-36 and striking out 16 times Tuesday night.They survived despite needing to squeeze five innings from their bullpen. Theysurvived with two runs that arrived by aid of a sacrifice bunt, a sacrificefly, a passed ball and a short-hop error off the chest of an eight-time GoldGlove Award winner.

When you escape a burning house, you dont care if yourewearing one shoe.

The Giants will live to see tomorrow after a 2-1, 10-inningvictory over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

This is a group of guys that love each other and loveplaying together, said right fielder Hunter Pence, who delivered a screaming,passionate speech in the clubhouse a few minutes before the first pitch.

We want to play more baseball together. Thats what itsall about.

This was not a courtesy win. The Giants are down 2-1, theyare on the road, they are hitting .121 over three games, and sure, no team hasever come back to win an NL division series after dropping the first two.

But they are very much alive in this series, and the Redsshould be very nervous.

Reds manager Dusty Baker was not ready to announce a Game 4starter to oppose Barry Zito on Wednesday, mostly because he has no earthlyidea whom theyll choose. It could be Mat Latos on short rest after he threw 59pitches Saturday. Or they could add Mike Leake to the roster, but that wouldmean sacrificing Johnny Cuetos eligibility for the NLCS should the Redsadvance. (Cueto, who threw just eight pitches in Game 1, has a strainedoblique.)

Well try to come up with a solution tonight, said Baker,who finds himself once again facing a postseason pitching dilemma. I mean, Iwish I had an answer. But I dont.

There is this, too: Latos reportedly is battling flusymptoms, although he called it mere congestion.

I dont know what theyre going to do on the other side, Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy said. But this was a game we had to throw everything atthem. You never know what can happen, but I do know we had to win today. We hadno choice.

This game, it was do or die for us.

The Giants lineup didnt do much of anything. But RyanVogelsong and four relievers would not let them die.

Both teams combined for seven hits. Reds right-hander HomerBailey allowed just one while striking out 10 in seven overwhelming innings(and on just 88 pitches).

Even Vogelsong had to marvel at the way Bailey tore throughone batter after another while taking a no-hitter to the fifth inning whilestriking out six consecutive at one point. Then Vogelsong came back to theclubhouse after his five innings, watched Bailey on television and came awayeven more stunned at how well he was locating his fastballs.

Vogelsong, after a 30-pitch first inning, found a way tomatch a guy throwing a no-hitter. That is seldom easy to do. The bullpen tookit from there. And after 28 innings in this series, the Giants scratched outtheir first lead on two singles, a passed ball and Joaquin Arias grounder thatbounced away from Scott Rolen.

Theres no time for panic, center fielder Angel Pagansaid. If you panic, I dont think you win a game like this. You have to go outthere and believe youre going to get it done.

Even a team hitting .121 can register a pulse.

That fight we had out there? That is the fight we have tobring tomorrow, Pagan said. Whoever it is, weve got to be ready for him.

We came here to win three games in a row. We didnt come towin one game."

Giants continue embarrassing stretch against rebuilding Padres

Giants continue embarrassing stretch against rebuilding Padres

SAN FRANCISCO — Three years ago, the Giants and Padres were the two teams in it until the very end for Pablo Sandoval’s services. He ended up in Boston, and when he became available again over the past week, the Padres politely backed away. 

They prefer youth and Rule 5 Draft picks. They came into this season knowing they might lose 100 games, and they didn’t mind. If anything, they welcomed the increased shot at the top pick in the 2018 draft. They’re here to tank, but the Giants (who expect to welcome Sandoval back on a minor league deal as soon as Friday) just won’t let them. 

Thursday’s 5-2 loss to San Diego was like so many others over the past calendar year. The Giants didn’t hit, they didn’t come through in the clutch, they did not support their starting pitcher, and they did not guarantee a handshake line. 

The Giants have lost 15 of 20 to the Padres since last year’s All-Star break, including three straight last July to kickstart a tailspin that has lasted over a year now. They have dropped four of five meetings in this second half, which was supposed to prove that a Padre-like rebuild is not needed up here in the Bay Area. They are five games behind the Padres in the race to finish a distant fourth in the National League, and in a season full of disappointment, that stands as one of the more embarrassing facts. 

Not even Madison Bumgarner’s return to AT&T Park could turn the tide. The lefty looked good most of the night, but two homers left him with a rougher-than-hoped line. Bumgarner gave up four earned on two homers. He has allowed multiple homers in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Both starts have come against the Padres. 

“I’ve got to stop giving up homers,” Bumgarner said of his start. “That’s not going to work.”

Bumgarner said he felt fine physically, and his curveball — the pitch that has backfired on him most often since his return — feels right mechanically. He was facing his last batter in the seventh as George Kontos warmed up with a runner on. Corey Spangenberg hit a two-run shot to the deepest part of the yard to make it 4-2. 

Buster Posey flied out with the bases loaded in the eighth. The Giants brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth but couldn’t score, which has been the norm against the Padres. The Giants are averaging just 3.2 runs per game during this 20-game stretch of futility against a team they once dominated. 

“We need to win ballgames right now,” Bumgarner said. “We’ve got to start doing that. There’s no magic solution. We’ve got to start playing better, all of us.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as homers hurt Bumgarner vs Padres

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as homers hurt Bumgarner vs Padres


SAN FRANCISCO — A day after he did his press conference from a “Game of Thrones” throne, manager Bruce Bochy said he was happy the Giants won their series finale against the Indians and kept that plan in play. In that respect, he’s lucky his team wasn’t facing the Padres on Wednesday. 

The Giants were on Thursday, however, and they continued their baffling stretch of ineptitude against what is supposed to be the worst team in the National League West. The 5-2 loss to San Diego was the 15th in the last 20 meetings between the two teams, one of which has a $200 million payroll and the other of which is actively tanking. 

The Giants had a shot at a comeback in the eighth, but Buster Posey flied out to right with two outs and the bases loaded. Here are five things to know, if you are the curious type: 

—- Madison Bumgarner has faced the Padres twice since returning. In 13 1/3 innings, he has allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs. He is getting hurt by a familiar problem for the 2017 Giants: The Padres have four homers off Bumgarner in those two starts. Hunter Renfroe and Cory Spangenberg took him deep Thursday, with Spangenberg hitting one out to the deepest part of the yard on Bumgarner’s final pitch. 

—- This is the first time in Bumgarner’s career that he has allowed multiple homers in back-to-back starts. 

—- Kyle Crick showed good stuff — sitting 96-97 — while stranding a runner on second in the eighth. He followed that with a scoreless ninth. The Giants should make it a priority to throw him into some deeper water over the next two months. 

—- There’s an epidemic these days of outfielders making foolish throws to the plate. We see it just about every night, and it cost the Padres in the sixth. Gorkys Hernandez was on second and he took off right away on Denard Span’s single to right. Renfroe had no play at the plate but he threw it anyway and Span took second. He scored when Eduardo Nuñez singled to left. 

—- The Giants announced their second consecutive sellout. That’s a streak. Maybe?