Giants

Giants start off road series in St. Louis with huge comeback win

Giants start off road series in St. Louis with huge comeback win

BOX SCORE

ST. LOUIS -- Not much has gone right on the road for the San Francisco Giants this season. They are now on a positive streak.

Eduardo Nunez doubled in two runs in the ninth inning and San Francisco rallied to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 on Friday night. The win improves the Giants to 7-15 away from San Francisco, including two straight. They have won six of seven overall.

"It's been a while, and now we have a couple of them," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You look how it came together - some good two-strike hitting by (Brandon) Crawford, and then Nuney with the big hit."

The Giants scored four times in the ninth in their previous road game to pull out a 6-5 win at the New York Mets on May 10.

The Cardinals dropped their third straight and fourth of six. It's their fourth three-game skid of the season.

Bryan Morris (2-0) pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out two, to pick up the victory. Mark Melancon earned his seventh save.

The Giants scored twice off Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh (0-2) in the ninth to take the lead. It was Oh's second blown save of the year.

"First of all, there was nothing that went well," Oh said through an interpreter. "First thing letting the leadoff go on the base and then second was a miss-pitch against Nunez. The first pitch was pretty weak."

Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford singled ahead of Nunez, who hit his 10th double of the season to left center.

It was a back and forth game with the Giants overcoming a 2-0 deficit with a three-run seventh. Dexter Fowler replied with a three-run home run in the bottom of the inning but the Giants scored once in the eighth and won it in the ninth.

"It could have been a disheartening loss, but the boys kept battling," Bochy said. "A great way to start the trip."

San Francisco has a three-game set in St. Louis before playing four at the Chicago Cubs.

Giants starter Matt Moore entered with a 10.50 ERA in four road games, but went six innings and gave up two runs and five hits. He walked three and struck out five.

"We've lost a lot of games on the road and not because they've been 1-0 or 2-0," Moore said. "It's one of those things that doesn't have to be said."

Michael Wacha got his first start in 11 days. He allowed four hits over six innings, struck out five and walked three.

EARLY EXIT: St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was ejected during the seventh inning. He yelled at home plate umpire Nic Lentz as he removed reliever Matt Bowman and as he left he was tossed. It was Matheny's second ejection of the season.

CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: Missouri Gov. Eric Grietens and University of Illinois football coach Lovie Smith were both in attendance.

HOLY MATRIMONY: Giants RHP Cory Gearrin got married at San Francisco city hall Thursday afternoon to Maddi Reynolds. Gearrin arrived early Friday morning to join his team.

ROSTER MOVE: The Cardinals recalled IF Jhonny Peralta (upper respiratory condition) from the 10-day DL and optioned rookie Magneuris Sierra to Double-A Springfield. Peralta singled as a pinch hitter in the seventh.

TRAINERS ROOM

Giants: IF Conor Gillaspie (back spasms) began a rehab assignment Friday with Triple-A Sacramento.

Cardinals: OF Stephen Piscotty (hamstring strain) was removed from a rehab assignment game Thursday after two innings as a precaution after he tweaked his knee. He was projected to rejoin St. Louis this weekend.

UP NEXT

Giants: Jeff Samardzija (1-5, 5.26) is looking for his second consecutive victory after dropping his first five decisions, including his first four starts.

Cardinals: Carlos Martinez (3-3, 3.88) has won his last three starts after beginning the season 0-3.

Matt Moore blanks Rockies, continues late-season surge

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AP

Matt Moore blanks Rockies, continues late-season surge

SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Moore knew there was something different about his final home start at AT&T Park this season, and not just the fact that he received a loud ovation as he walked off the mound in the seventh. Moore noted later that the outing was the first shutout he has been a part of this year. In fact, it was the first time in 30 starts that he walked off the mound without having allowed a run. 

“I guess it’s better late than never,” he said. 

The Giants are hoping it’s actually a preview of things to come. They counted on Moore to be a big part of their 2017 push, but instead, he likely will finish with the worst ERA of any full-time starter in the National League. Still, general manager Bobby Evans has informed Moore that his 2018 option will be picked up, something that Moore appreciated given the time of year. 

“I always pictured myself here,” he said. 

Whether coincidence or some kind of “weight off the shoulders” situation, Moore’s first start since the public revealing of the decision was his most encouraging of the year. Facing a good lineup, and a team that needed a win desperately, he pitched six shutout innings. The Giants beat the Rockies 4-0. 

Moore was already showing signs of life, with a 3.76 ERA over his seven previous appearances. Bruce Bochy viewed this as another step forward. 

“It’s been getting better and better with each start,” he said. “What he did really well today was on the arm side. He had good balance to both sides of the plate.”

Moore peppered the outside corner with fastballs, and he credited catcher Nick Hundley with stealing a few strikes. The plan allowed Moore to put hitters away in big spots, one of three points of emphasis he brought into the second half. The other two: limiting lefties and getting ahead of hitters.

That’s Moore’s roadmap back to being the player the Giants acquired. For the team as a whole, the roadmap back to relevance is similar to Wednesday’s plan. This is not a home-run hitting lineup, but the Giants are 47-21 when scoring four runs, and Wednesday was a reminder of the different paths to that magical number. 

Brandon Crawford had a solo homer, but the first two runs came on sacrifice flies and the fourth on a walk-wild pitch-single combination. Bochy said he liked “the brand of ball” his team played.

“They executed so well today,” he said. “It’s just good baseball, and that’s what I felt good about.”

Doing due diligence, Giants send Evans, Shelley to scout Shohei Otani in Japan

Doing due diligence, Giants send Evans, Shelley to scout Shohei Otani in Japan

SAN FRANCISCO — A couple of weeks ago, a Giants official expressed amazement about how little was known about the desires of Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani.

“Teams know just about as much as you guys (in the media),” he said. 

The Giants are hoping that changes this week. General manager Bobby Evans and assistant GM Jeremy Shelley have traveled to Japan to take a look at the 23-year-old, who reportedly will come over to play in Major League Baseball next season. 

“There’s going to be a lot of attention on him and it’s part of the scouting process every club goes through,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s doing our due diligence, as you say.”

Otani is a rare prospect, a potential ace on the mound and lineup-altering bat in the outfield. He has 47 homers in just over 1,000 professional at-bats, and this season he’s batting .341. As a hard-throwing pitcher with a wipeout breaking ball, Otani has a 2.57 career ERA for the Nippon Ham Fighters. He had a 1.86 ERA last season with 174 strikeouts in 140 innings. 

Because he’s said to be coming over at such a young age, Otani will sacrifice the chance to sign a massive contract. The CBA limits him to collecting money from a team’s international bonus pool, and the Giants are limited to $300,000. Still, some other big-market teams are in the same boat, and despite their lack of pool money and poor season, the Giants surely believe they have plenty to offer. 

It’s not known what Otani is looking for, but perhaps he wants to play in a big city to make up some of his lost earnings? Perhaps he wants to play on the West Coast, closer to his home country, or in a region with a big Japanese population? Perhaps he’s just a big Buster Posey fan? The Giants intend to find out, and to be in the bidding. 

It’s possible that Otani has seen the way Bochy uses Madison Bumgarner as a pinch-hitter, but Bochy said he can’t imagine using a true two-way player. 

“I don’t think it would work,” he said. “You’re talking more of something that might work in the American League. That’s a lot of throwing and wear-and-tear.”