Giants say goodbye to L.A.

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Giants say goodbye to L.A.

GIANTS (84-71) vs.
L.A. DODGERS (77-77)Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area
(AP) -- The San Francisco Giants haven't thrown in the towel on a making a return trip to the postseason. The defending World Series champions have the right pitcher scheduled to try and stay in the mix for at least one more day.Looking to win a career-best sixth consecutive start, Madison Bumgarner will take the mound for the Giants on Thursday night when they meet the Los Angeles Dodgers for the final time this season.After a one-run loss in Tuesday's series opener, San Francisco (84-71) got three hits and three RBIs from Justin Christian in Wednesday's 8-5 win.However, Arizona also won, reducing its magic number to win the NL West to two. With the Diamondbacks idle Thursday, the Giants would be eliminated from the division race if they lose to Arizona on Friday night at Chase Field.San Francisco is third in the wild-card race, two games behind St. Louis and 3 12 in back of Atlanta."We're in the mode right now where we got to win every game," Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong said. "The mood is try and win every night and see what happens."Bumgarner (12-12, 3.21 ERA) has put the Giants in a real good mood recently.He's surrendered just four earned runs over 34 2-3 innings during his five-start winning streak, which included a victory over the Dodgers on Sept. 11 in San Francisco. The left-hander gave up an unearned run over seven innings in Friday's 9-1 rout of Colorado."This kid is just getting better and better," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's been on a good roll ... He's got to feel good about how it's gone for him, especially with the rough start that he had."Bumgarner was 0-6 in his first eight starts before beating the Dodgers on May 19 in Los Angeles.While Los Angeles (77-77) dropped to 8-9 against San Francisco with Wednesday's loss, Matt Kemp recorded his fifth straight multihit game with a homer and three RBIs.With 35 homers, Kemp is tied with Atlanta's Dan Uggla for second in the NL, one behind St. Louis' Albert Pujols. Kemp is third in the NL with a .322 average, leads the league in RBIs (116) and runs (106), and has a slight chance to reach 200 hits for the first time.Kemp, who needs 16 hits over the final eight games, is hitting .322 (19 for 59) with three homers and nine RBIs in 17 games against the Giants.He's 3 for 11 with three strikeouts when facing Bumgarner.After setting a career high for wins his last time out, Hiroki Kuroda (12-16, 3.19) will try once more to avoid becoming the first Dodger to lose 17 games since Fernando Valenzuela in 1984.Kuroda gave up an earned run and five hits in six innings of Friday's 7-2 win over Pittsburgh.He had allowed eight runs over 10 2-3 innings in losses at Washington and San Francisco earlier this month.After defeating the Giants at Chavez Ravine in his 2011 debut, Kuroda improved to 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA in four career home starts against San Francisco.Pablo Sandoval is 6 for 14 with three doubles, a homer and three RBIs lifetime against Kuroda. The third baseman is hitting .378 (17 for 45) with three homers and seven RBIs in 15 games versus the Dodgers in 2011.

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

CHICAGO — Had a half-dozen other things gone differently Wednesday night, the Giants might have spent the hour after the game shrugging off a blowout loss or celebrating one of the best at-bats of the year. 

Three innings after the game was nearly lost for good, Mac Williamson saw 12 pitches from Wade Davis, who entered with a perfect ERA in 19 appearances, fouling eight of them off before slamming a two-run homer to right. The play came with some comedic value, as Williamson nearly passed Eduardo Nuñez on the bases. It also came with some historic value, as it snapped a streak of 19 consecutive solo shots that was two shy of the MLB record. 

The homer was not, however, the talking point after the game. A few minutes after Williamson went deep, Joe Panik was tossing his bat into the grass in frustration over a called third strike that ended the game and clinched a 5-4 win for the Cubs. Ten minutes after that, Bruce Bochy watched the highlight and tossed his phone onto his desk. 

“It’s a shame to end on that call, it really is,” Bochy said. “We had him on fumes and that’s not a strike. But they got the call and that’s it.”

The Giants were left with their third loss in four games, a run that has halted their momentum. They again are 11 games back in the National League West, with so many nights like this one: A comeback seemed real, but the mistakes were too much to overcome. 

Williamson, in talking about his homer, pivoted and pointed to a blunder of his own. In a tied game in the fifth, Miguel Montero hit a single to right with Addison Russell on first. The speedy shortstop watched Williamson as the ball rolled into the outfield, and when Williamson didn’t charge as hard as he otherwise might, Russell took off for third. The throw was perfect, but late. Russell scored on a fly ball. 

“The home run is really cool but it would have been a lot cooler if I hadn’t have made the mistake earlier in the game and given them the extra run,” Williamson said, explaining that he has tried to focus on being smooth to the ball and not rushing on fast outfields. In the past, rushing has led to bobbles and extra bases. 

Another costly sequence came in the eighth. After the Giants left the bases loaded in the top of the inning, Steven Okert gave up a triple to Jason Heyward, who scored on a sacrifice fly. Okert, so good when he was first called up, has been less effective of late. 

“We’ve got to get our lefties going,” Bochy said. “We gave them a run there and that put it at three and that’s just enough to cover it for them.”

Truth be told, the Giants were probably lucky to even have worries at that point. The wind blew a three-run Heyward homer inches foul in the sixth, and while the Giants grumbled about the final call of the game, an earlier call on Heyward for running inside the base path took a Cubs run off the board and killed a rally. It was correct by the letter of the law, but one you rarely see. The Giants escaped, but they wouldn’t come all the way back, despite Williamson’s late push. 

The young outfielder has been looking to make an impact since coming back up on the last homestand. He knew how tough Davis has been. 

“He’s been the best in the game this year and the numbers speak for themselves,” Williamson said. “He has phenomenal stuff. You get in the box and figure you’ve got nothing to lose, battle as tough as you can.”

Williamson fouled off good strikes and tantalizing balls. When he lofted a 2-2 pitch toward right, he took off out of the box. The ball carried just over the wall, and Williamson didn’t look up until he rounded third. That’s when Phil Nevin started yelling at him to slow down. Nuñez, who had a tight hamstring, turned and told Williamson to slow down.

“I kinda blacked out for a second there,” Williamson said. 

“I was like, ‘Bro, it’s a homer — just jog,’” Nunez said.

The moment temporarily sent a rush through the dugout. Minutes later, the Giants were left livid over a game that probably shouldn’t have been so close, but nonetheless was right there for them to steal. 

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — The Giants will need a win on getaway day to clinch their first winning road trip.

Wednesday's comeback attempt fell just short, as the Giants scored two in the ninth but lost to the Cubs 5-4. Since taking the first two games in St. Louis, they have dropped three of four, falling 11 games back of the Rockies in the division.

Here are five things to know from the coldest Giants game of the year … 

— Mac Williamson fouled off eight pitches before going the opposite way against Wade Davis, who entered with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances. The two-run homer ended a run of 19 consecutive solo shots by the Giants, two short of their own MLB record. It was the first homer off Davis in two years. 

— The sixth inning was one of the stranger escapes we’ve seen from a pitcher this season. With two on and one out, Jason Heyward blasted a Matt Moore pitch right down the line and it looked like it would give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. The wind blew the ball a couple of feet foul. Heyward then topped one down the line and Moore’s throw bounced away from first, allowing a run to score. But the umpires called — correctly — Heyward out for running inside the line. It’s a call you rarely see. Moore then struck out Addison Russell to keep what could have easily been a 6-2 or 4-2 game at 3-2. 

— Before the first game of this series, a Giant asked in the dugout, “I wonder what some of the Cubs’ numbers would look like at our place?” Anthony Rizzo is a .159 hitter with no homers in 18 career games at AT&T Park, but he had no issues on a night when conditions were worse than they are most nights in San Francisco. Rizzo homered off Moore in his first two at-bats. 

— Rizzo will occasionally put a bunt down to beat the shift — he had an accidental bunt in his third at-bat — which the Giants have long wanted Brandon Belt to do. Belt pushed one away from the shift in the sixth, and even though it was too close to pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the throw was off and Belt reached second. One of those a week would open up a few more holes. 

— This lineup has made a habit of making mediocre and downright bad pitchers look good, and the actual good ones are taking advantage, too. A night after Jon Lester recorded his first complete game of the year, Hendricks threw seven innings for the first time.